What should home retailers do to engage shoppers & boost sales in the new normal? 

‘Stay at home’, part of the now infamous slogan from Boris Johnson in lockdown. And part of the reason homeware brands saw a huge boost in revenue too.

With Brits spending more time at home than ever, we’re literally faced with all the jobs around the house we’ve been putting off. Add saving money and time on travel and that build-your-own bookshelf or replacement sofa is a bit more in reach.

The numbers speak for themselves, Wayfair saw a 20% YOY growth in the first quarter of 2020 (1), while The Stripes Company saw a 70% sales increase online since March (2).

But while online sales continue to rise, a recent YouGov survey (3) revealed unsurprisingly in-store shopping confidence is down. So, what can homeware retailers do to engage shoppers post-lockdown and make them feel safer?

Our recommendations how home retailers engage shoppers post-lockdown:

Adapt your store

  • Homeware stores are about trying out furniture before you buy. Provide disposable sheets so customers can sit on beds and sofas. Theme them around your store’s aesthetic so they don’t feel clinical and take away from the experience
  • You can also keep the tactile experience in-store by giving takeaway material samples, removing the need to touch furniture
  • Give people something they can’t get online by exclusively launching products in-store. Or, if you’re struggling to reduce footfall, direct people online by launching new products on your website
  • Pay attention to the little details. For example if you sell toiletries you may want to showcase some of your great smelling products at the sanitiser station.


Ease their worries

  • Build confidence by clearly communicating safety at each part of your customer’s journey. Whether that’s in-store browsing, delivery, or home installations that take a little longer. This may be more poignant via an app with geo-tagged notifications
  • Make signage softer and more engaging by branding it in your colours, graphical style and tone of voice. You could even make it a part of the displays in picture frames or as wall art.


Note societal shifts

  • Play on what will gratify your audience now by basing your displays, blogs and trends around the current climate. For example, this week Twitter has said all employees can work from home ‘forever’ if they wish (4)– a trend we’re seeing across multiple sectors. In fact over half of British workers were still working from home in June (5).
  • Why not base displays around this to engage shoppers post-lockdown? Think standing desks, comfy office chairs and trendy stationery.


Invest in tech

  • Contactless payments have increased slightly in-line with societal need, but that still leaves higher ticket items like sofas and beds with chip and pin. Invest in tech that lets people pay by phone for expensive furniture, like Tesco’s app, keeping them safer
  • Klarna is also a growing trend. It lets you pay in stages for your purchases similar to a credit card. Tons of retailers including H&M, Doc Marten, Micheal Kors and ASOS are already signed-up. But, it would be particularly useful for high ticket items in homeware stores (6).
  • Bolster your one way system by giving people a way to let you know which items they want without walking you to them. This could be via QR code scanning proving hugely popular in China and Japan. You can use them to pay for items too, reducing contact (7).
  • Organise virtual consultancies where your team discuss colours, designs and trends for homes. They could even walk customers through the store virtually, recommending items they think they’d love. Or create mood boards using your products and send them digitally
  • Create your own version of a virtual room planner, equipped with your unique items, to help customers see if it will fit their space without measuring in-store (8).

As a behavioural science-led agency, we’ve created a whole host of free webinars about engaging shoppers post-lockdown. Sign-up on our site or read our series of blogs about consumer habits, how they’ve changed during lockdown and the impact on brands.

New job in lockdown

By Ellen Jackson

Creative Copywriter