7 Challenges in Home and Garden Ecommerce (and How to Solve Them)

With most of the world confined to their homes for the majority of 2020, the desire to reinvent our home aesthetic is greater than ever – making home and garden ecommerce one of the most in-demand verticals in 2020.

While retailers in this space have a huge opportunity for growth, these opportunities present a fair share of challenges to overcome: from rising above a sea of competing brands to offering highly personalized content across your entire website.

In this article, we’ll explore 7 of the most important challenges in the home and garden industry and solutions to overcome them.

Challenge 1: Converting Home and Garden Visitors Into First-time Buyers

Why is this a challenge? Home and garden products can be huge investments, often consisting of higher-ticket items. Because of this, shoppers tend to take more time to consider these purchases, which extends the length of time it takes you to convert them into buyers.

How to solve this challenge

To combat this challenge and speed up the buying process for high-ticket items, deploy a pop-up that contains a discount that a visitor can put towards their future purchase. Not only do shoppers react positively to discounts (who doesn’t, really?) but they also set the stage for longtime brand loyalty.

Michael Murphy offers their shoppers €10 off their first purchase over €150:

Challenge 2: Re-engaging with Visitors in a Competitive Home and Garden Industry

Why is this a challenge? Competition is high within the home and garden industry, and an indecisive or un-engaged shopper can potentially lead to them purchasing from a competing retailer.

How to solve this challenge

Pop-ups aren’t limited to converting first-time visitors – they’re also an effective way to re-engage shoppers who are about to leave your site without making a purchase.

In addition to offering a coupon code or incentive within your pop-up, you can also use that real estate to collect email addresses and then re-target those shoppers via email. Not only does this help decrease traffic loss, but it helps you extend the shopper’s experience beyond your website.

Tuandco and Conforama both offer their shoppers €5 coupon if they sign up for the brand’s newsletter:

Promoting a sale in your pop-up? Increase the level of urgency (aka ‘FOMO’) with a personalized timer leading up to the sale or before the sale ends and encourages the shopper to take action. This is one of the many FOMO marketing examples every brand needs in their sales strategy.

Challenge 3: Understanding (and Acting On) Visitor and Buyer Affinities

Why is this a challenge? It’s common knowledge that each of your customers has specific brand preferences and browsing/buying behavior – and their experiences on your site should reflect that. In home and garden ecommerce, shoppers are often browsing with a clearer idea of what they’re looking for, so offering irrelevant products just increases the risk of them leaving your site to shop elsewhere.

How to solve this challenge

Nosto’s Segmentation and Insights helps home and garden retailers determine which product types, price affinities, brands and categories convert your customers most. In addition, you can A/B test these different strategies to see what’s working (and what’s not working) for your brand.

One of the few A/B tests Robert Dyas deploys helps determine how personalization via homepage banners impacts shopper engagement compared to their standard homepage experience.

Standard experience:

Homepage banner showing deals for shoppers in the ‘kitchen electrical’ segment:

Learn more: Discover additional ecommerce customer segmentation examples to increase conversion.

Challenge 4: Personalizing Content for Shoppers in Multiple Stages of the Shopping Journey

Why is this a challenge? As we’ve already mentioned, competition in the home and garden industry is steep. Oftentimes, shoppers land on a homewear site (or any ecommerce site) and will be deterred by a lack of personalization – and the solution to this challenge goes beyond simply offering personalized recommendations.

How to solve this challenge

Deploy personalized content campaigns that promote particular brands to customers with an affinity for higher priced items.

Cox & Cox displays a unique homepage banner to first-time visitors, returning visitors and prospective shoppers:

You can also sync Nosto-powered segments with your ESP to provide a flawless 1:1 experience via your email marketing strategy.

Nosto’s integration with dotdigital allows retailers to sync these segments across platforms:

Continue reading: Explore the three key ecommerce strategies to offer more personalized content.

Challenge 5: Facilitating Product Discovery and Boosting AOV Despite a Large Catalog

Why is this a challenge? With large catalogs containing a wide variety of products, many home and garden ecommerce retailers struggle to maximise product discover for customers. That, coupled with the fact that home improvement and decor products often tend to be parts of larger purchases, makes it difficult to increase product discovery and encourage shoppers to purchase at higher quantities.

How to solve this challenge

Create explicit and dynamic product bundles to help the shopper discover items that are typically purchased alongside whatever they’re currently viewing. These are often known as ‘complete the look’ recommendations, like in the Atkin & Thyme example below:

Cox & Cox offers similar bundled products with the addition of a second ‘add to basket’ button beside those recommendations:

Gempler’s offers recommendations showcased as ‘replacement parts’ that the shopper might eventually need based on the product they’re viewing:

Challenge 6: Delivering Relevant Experiences Based on Seasonality and Location

Why is this a challenge? Ecommerce customer segmentation is a key part of delivering the right content to the right customers – but some retailers fail to take seasonal and geographic differences into account when personalizing the shopping journey.

For example, your homewear customers in sunny California will be more inclined to shop gardening products in December than your shoppers in New York would be. For this reason, it’s important to segment shoppers based on where they’re physically located and the time of year in order to stay relevant.

How to solve this challenge

Use segmentation to offer recommendations based on a shopper’s geo location: from best sellers in their area to trending products dependent on weather and season. Not only does this cater to your shopper’s needs, but it’s a huge benefit to helping increase conversion rate.

For example, Brighter Blooms showcases product recommendations that are popular in each customer’s area:

Challenge 7: Communicating Shipping Conditions During COVID-19 and Sales Heavy Seasons

Why is this a challenge? Many home and garden retailers work with multiple suppliers who have their own supply chain and distribution processes. In the context of COVID-19, this may impact how (and even if) shoppers receive their orders. The same applies to seasons like Black Friday and the holiday season when sales tend to soar.

Also, for large purchases or heavy items (like sofas, glass dining tables, beds, etc.), many shipping companies are currently not delivering products into a customer’s home – so it’s up to the customer to arrange an alternative method to transfer the product from the delivery point to inside their home.

How to solve this challenge

Transparency is key: make your shipping conditions as clear as possible across your website. This can be achieved through a combination of pop-ups and personalized content on multiple site pages that helps keep the message top of mind.

Communicate ongoing updates around COVID-19 impacts on shipping conditions. Tuandco does this by incorporating a message on their homepage (in yellow) informing shoppers that they’re still shipping during COVID-19:

Conforama deploys a pop-up on their site (pictured to the left of the homepage) informing shoppers of their brick-and-mortar store closures and the availability of in-store pickup and home shipping:

Need more tips to maximize sales-heavy seasons? Check out our top Black Friday marketing strategies to increase sales and conversion.

Implement These And Other Solutions to Succeed in Home and Garden Ecommerce

These are just a few of the many ways home and garden retailers can transform the ecommerce experience for their shoppers. For more inspiration on tactics you can implement immediately, reach out to your Customer Success Manager.

Not a Nosto customer? Dive into other trends and data insights impacting the home and garden industry

We commissioned a survey of 2,000 consumers to understand buying preferences and how shoppers are adapting to buying home and garden products online. Download the report to uncover more opportunties in home and garden ecommerce.

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