Is there anything more Aussie than buying a snag on your way into Bunnings to stock up on some DIY supplies? How about buying tools and hardware online? Consumers bought $421.9 million worth of hammers, screwdrivers, power tools, paint and even timber online in 2020-21, and as hardware stores continue to improve their eCommerce offerings, this number is expected to reach $533.7 million by 2025-26, according to IBISWorld.
Online-only retailers stand to benefit the most from this business growth, with the latest hardware store industry statistics showing that the market is mostly made up of smaller, individual players. The four largest businesses only account for 10% of total eCommerce revenue, compared to the offline space, where big chains like Bunnings and Mitre 10 dominate sales.
Of course, the sector isn’t without its challenges: building supplies are big and bulky and therefore difficult to ship, and home improvement purchases are closely linked to discretionary income and consumer sentiment. But by focusing on selling specialist tools and hardware, tapping into innovative technology, such as paint matching tools and augmented reality apps, and providing a great online customer experience, online retailers can navigate around them.
Here are three key areas to focus on to achieve business scale.
While big chains like Bunnings succeed by stocking a wide range of products, from power tools and other hardware to torches and batteries for the average homeowner, online retailers often can’t afford to do the same unless they’re engaging in dropshipping. Instead, smaller, online businesses tend to focus on selling specialist tools and hardware, whether that’s for woodworking or wallpapering.
By targeting a niche category, you can build up a reputation as the go-to destination in that space and build a community of loyal customers.
Should you do dropshipping? Here’s how to decide if dropshipping is right for you and set yourself up for success from the beginning.
Online retailers are increasingly using advanced technology to give shoppers a reason to buy from them beyond convenience. For instance, online paint retailer Tint has created a colour-capture technology called Pico that lets users walk up to any colour they see IRL and scan it to receive that exact colour of paint on their doorstep. Talk about a big improvement over staring at a wall of paint swatches in-store.
Augmented reality apps are another example of how technology can help online retailers compete. By helping customers see if they’re ordering the right size timber, or what different wood stains will look like on their floorboards, these apps can alleviate some of the hesitation around buying online. There’s also a sustainability factor, since they might reduce returns.
There’s no doubt that shifting consumer patterns are driving huge change in eCommerce, but it’s the technology that’s underpinning the foundation of modern online retail. Here are five ways technology is shaking up eCommerce.
Without the ability to provide a weekend sausage sizzle, online retailers in the hardware space need to work extra hard to make their customer experience memorable. Beyond the basics like a fast and reliable website and great customer service and support, fast shipping is key.
As a multi-carrier shipping platform, Shippit makes it easy for you to find the right courier to meet your needs, whether that’s a same-day delivery in a metro area, or a big and bulky or fragile delivery to a suburb. And if your business is booming, you can also tap into worldwide express shipping options.
Take a look at 7 easy tips to nail your customer experience so you can be the hero your customers deserve.