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Published on 22/02/2023

Home and Garden: 6 challenges amid the rise of e-commerce

The health crisis has changed the way we live and consume. With the periods of lockdown, curfews and store closures, 2020 has changed the way consumers spend their money, live and pass their free time. In this respect, the Home & Garden category has taken on a whole new dimension: people stay at home, redecorate their house, change the furniture, look after their garden, all by shopping remotely. The e-commerce sector then began rapidly expanding to meet the growing demand for online shopping(1).

Two key factors:

- the health crisis and the adoption of remote working have led to a boost(2) in home project needs

- energy prices have increased.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive market? Below, you’ll find solutions to 6 challenges in a rapidly-changing market.

Home and Garden: 6 challenges amid the rise of e-commerce Home and Garden: 6 challenges amid the rise of e-commerce

Challenge 1: Convert the first visit into a purchase

Furniture and decorative objects have increased in price (inflation, rising cost of raw materials). This means that consumers take longer to make the buying decision and are more reluctant about actually starting work to furnish their living room or garden.

For you as an online merchant, this can have an impact on your conversion rate. There are two potential solutions available:

• Display a pop-up discount(3) on the first visit with an offer (discount or promotion) to initiate the first purchase on your website;

• Set up payment in instalments

• Payment in instalments is an effective way to prevent customers from abandoning their shopping basket by offering a payment solution.

BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) is becoming increasingly popular because it offers your customers several advantages:

• Spreading the cost of a purchase over several months;

• Buying immediately to take advantage of promotions while paying for their purchases at a later stage

Only the BNPL option(4) can boost your conversion rate(5)

Convert the first visit into a purchase

Challenge 2: Re-engage visitors in a highly competitive industry

Competition in the Home & Garden sector is fierce. An undecided customer can easily go to another website(6) and order from a competitor.

To encourage your customers to come back to your website, implement a retention strategy: • Offer a discount on their order if they sign up for your newsletter (for example: €20 off). This marketing activity is ideal for expanding your customer database and you can then regularly follow-up with targeted email campaigns(7); • Send a notification or reminder email(8) if the customer has left an unplaced order in their basket, possibly offering an additional discount to be used within a limited timeframe.

All of this will help you to collect more data and enhance the customer experience. Once converted into buyers, you can further engage your customers and send personalised promotional emails(7) that will encourage them to buy again.

Re-engage visitors in a highly competitive industry

Challenge 3: Personalise the content of your website according to your prospects’ and customers’ stage in the purchasing process

To differentiate your website(6) in a highly competitive environment, it is important to personalise the visit depending on whether the target is a prospect or customer.

In this case, the landing page(9) must be different regardless of whether the consumer is visiting for the first time or not. For first visits, you can highlight your bestsellers(10) and current promotions. For customers who have previously bought from your website, you can highlight brands that they like or that are similar to their last purchases.

In both cases, you should promote the payment in instalments option on the product page to increase the chances of conversion as early as possible in the customer's buying journey.

Personalise the content of your website according to your prospects’ and customers’ stage in the purchasing process

Challenge 4: Make products easier to find in order to boost sales, even with an extensive catalogue

Do you have an extensive online sales catalogue? Are you having trouble making it as easy as possible for customers to discover new products? Decorative items and furniture are often bought in groups.

However, there are solutions to these problems:

• Create explicit and dynamic product bundles that make it easier for the buyer to discover complementary items, or products from the same range. For example, a “Complete the look”(11) sub-section on the presentation page for a Home product such as pillowcases to complete a bedding set;

• Apply the principles of cross-selling(12) by promoting products that complete the shopping basket: for example, spare lawnmower blades when buying a lawnmower for the garden.

Make products easier to find in order to boost sales, even with an extensive catalogue

Challenge 5: Optimise the customer experience according to the season and geographic region

Segmentation is key to targeting the right product to the right customer. However, sometimes seasonality and geographic region can be overlooked as essential factors in the timing of purchases and the decision to buy. As noted in challenge 3, collecting data on your customers is critical to the buying experience you offer. If you are aware of your customer’s geographic location, you can offer more precisely tailored products.
For example, a Portuguese customer is more likely to start shopping in the Garden department earlier in the year than a Belgian customer.

In contrast, you should prioritise furnishing and home decoration campaigns for more northern regions from the beginning of autumn.

It is important to use your CRM(13) system to offer customised promotions on your online sales website, with a focus on “popular items in your region”, for example.
The data recorded via your website is crucial to optimise your customers’ experience, so that you can offer an increasingly personalised journey, as specified in challenge 3.

Optimise the customer experience according to the season and geographic region

Challenge 6: Optimise the checkout experience

Many customers end up abandoning their shopping baskets during the checkout process(14). Offering a simple, transparent and fast buying experience is therefore essential. Avoid additional fees. The average basket value in the Home & Garden sector is often higher than in other market segments. It is vital not to lose the customer because of hidden charges.

Consider offering a guest checkout service if the customer does not want to create their own customer account. Display the different steps involved in the process to show the customer that they can complete their purchase quickly.

The buying experience, and in particular the checkout process(14), is a key element in encouraging customers to place an order and increasing your conversion rate. FLOA already helps many customers to improve their buying experience by applying its UX expertise. In 2022, the FLOA customer experience was awarded the “GOOGLE UX Finance Benchmark” which recognises the best User Experiences.

Finally, as stated in Challenge 1, for high-value shopping baskets, you should make it easier for your customers to lake a purchase by offering financing options.

Whether in-store or via your e-commerce website, there are many benefits to offering your customers payment in instalments:

• Increase turnover and profitability by removing certain barriers to purchase;

• Build customer loyalty and attract new customers by offering a value-added service;

• You are paid immediately and in full, with any non-payments covered by us.

Still don’t offer payment in instalments on your website? Discover our FLOA Pay offers.

In summary

The rapid change in consumer behaviour over the last two years has affected the Home & Garden sector in particular, with a marked increase in online shopping. Key players in the sector must meet new consumer expectations to help them stand out in a competitive environment that continues to evolve. With FLOA, you can optimise the user experience (UX), build customer loyalty, increase the conversion rate for first visits and, ultimately, boost your average basket amount. Visibility, page personalisation, cross-selling(12), segmentation, and more. Our tips and solutions will help you maximise your sales.

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