Home improvement customers can commonly be segmented into two categories: DIY and contractors which must be considered separately. The issues become more complicated when one considers that the two buyers may not receive completely different experiences given that new visitors to a site may fall into either category. Contractors tend to make their purchases from a few places as well as recommend particular websites to their customers, thus, contractors may be driving a significant portion of a website’s revenue in the home improvement sector. Contractors tend to know what they are looking for and be much less emotionally invested in purchasing decisions, they may also be spending from an allowance given by a customer and thus have less price sensitivity.
The DIY customer may have a longer time horizon and may be more sensitive to issues such as perceived trust level of the site and business, quality of products, planning and designing tools, customer service and after purchase support. For sites that sell specific items such as tiles or kitchen cabinets, DIY customers are less likely to make a repeat purchase given that the initial purchase represents a significant investment in their current home which, once updated, will not require the same level of remodeling to the same space.
Implications for A/B testing
Engaging the customer on the website and converting them into a transaction or a lead are the two typical objectives. Leads are more common for larger sales, the website permits the prospective customer/web visitor to get an understanding for the level of reliability and quality of an online company.
For relatively large, infrequent purchases, most online consumers are still cross shopping with big box retailers and can easily be swayed to make a purchase, even at a higher price, from a brick and mortar store that offers a generous return policy. Emphasizing a unique level of quality, service and price in a manner that uniquely demonstrates the value that the website and company bring to a building project is critical. Consumers are often willing to pay more for higher perceived value particularly for infrequent, less commodity like purchases. It is seldom the issue that materials for a large project are purchased because of small price advantages when the project is bundled together; conversely, if the individual is shopping for a specific SKU then price may be a primary determinant of the final purchasing decision.
In addition, there may be opportunities to generate leads on the site which can then be passed along to a sales team or customer support line that finds a way to close prospects over the phone.