They all share a winning blueprint: an innovative digital strategy reinforced with powerful e-commerce technology.
It’s not by chance that these are the top-performing do-it-yourself, home improvement and gardening retailers in Germany. With the highest turnover, market share and customer satisfaction, these DIY retailers get the job done – offline and online.
In their own way, each tackled the strategic challenges that come with building an e-commerce business in the DIY industry and developed handy solutions along the way:
- embracing ROPO with digital project inspiration
- connecting online shoppers to stationary markets
- providing interactive product advice that’s fully digital
- ensuring visitors find their desired items, fast
We take a closer look into these exceptional online strategies and the success that continues to grow these traditional brick-and-mortar shops into multi-channel DIY giants.
There isn’t a list of leading do-it-yourself retailers in Europe that doesn’t include OBI. This DIY giant is the #1 market leader in Germany and #3 in Europe.
|OBI at a Glance|
|€8.2 billion in sales|
|668 DIY store locations|
|Present in 10 countries|
|13.45 million online monthly visits|
The now fifty-year old company launched their online shop in 2010. Knowing that customers often begin their purchase journey at home on digital devices, OBI focused its digital strategy on connecting their online and offline worlds.
You see, when it comes to home improvement, consumer behavior is different. Rather than searching for a specific product, customers think by project, for example renovating the bathroom or building a terrace.
DIY-ers first turn to online sources that provide them with ideas, inspiration and help. It’s not until later that they seek out detailed product information.
This behavior is known as Research Online Purchase Offline, or ROPO, and it highlights the importance of omnichannel businesses making online and brick-and-mortar work together.
“We were looking for a high-performance, multi-client solution that could handle our branch structure and the enormous amount of data that OBI generates.”André Kotoll, Head of E-Services at OBI
OBI creates a real competitive advantage by embracing ROPO and meeting its customers at each stage of their buying journey.
Since customers are already searching online for project inspiration, OBI decided to provide it themselves. Their online shop, OBI.de, offers visitors useful, enticing content such as how-to guides, tutorial videos, advice and more.
Plus, it makes finding the content super easy – it’s even displayed within the search suggestions.
Instead of viewing the online channel as competition for its stationary branches, OBI focuses on creating synergy.
By linking all its stores, online visitors have access to accurate information for their local store: services, item availability, purchase options such as pre-order, pick-up in store, home delivery and more.
Having clear, up-to-date details for their nearest store motivates customers to make store visits.
🔨 OBI’s FACT-Finder toolkit:
Toom is one of the leading providers of DIY and garden centers in Germany. Characterized by its high level of expertise and solutions, as well as its density of branches, Toom plays an important role as a local and reliable home improvement store.
|Toom at a Glance|
|€2.7 billion in annual sales|
|330 DIY store locations|
|Largest branch store network in Germany|
|14.46 million online monthly visits|
The first Toom opened in 1978, and after 40 years of success in physical stores, they chose to take their expertise digital.
Toom.de launched in 2019; and after only one year of being live, their online shop has earned tremendous achievements – proving that being new doesn’t mean being inexperienced.
In 2020, Toom’s online shop was awarded:
- Best Online Shop in the Do-It-Yourself (with branch) category
- Retailer of the Year in the Home Improvement category
- Webshop in the Home Improvement category
The awards are based on nationwide consumer surveys and reflect a widespread customer satisfaction. Home improvement shoppers can count on Toom to be at their side from idea to implementation, both on and offline.
Toom ensures a smooth connection of physical and digital by offering comprehensive information on stationary services, such as rental equipment, creative workshops, and purchase options.
For example, their ‘Click & Reserve’ option allows customers to reserve products online and then pick-up at their local store, free of charge and available in just one hour, or their ‘Click & Deliver’ option offers convenient delivery right to the customers’ door.
“In the store and in our online shop, we strive to give our customers a special shopping experience with a wide range of services. The fact that we were awarded ‘Best Online Shop’ right from the beginning makes us all insanely proud.”Stefanie Holl, Head of Cross Channel at Toom
🚧 Toom’s FACT-Finder toolkit:
When it comes to the idealized image of a DIY store from the customers’ point of voew, Globus Baumarkt is consistently in the lead.
On account of their outstanding customer service, Globus Baumarkt is awarded the #1 most customer-friendly hardware store, for a consecutive tenth time by the trade magazine diy, as well as the #1 in attention from staff, friendliness of employees and expert advice by Customer Monitor Germany .
|Globus Baumarkt at a Glance|
|€1.9 billion in annual sales|
|96 DIY store locations|
|Germany and Luxemburg|
|3.24 million online monthly visits|
Globus Baumarkt’s awards prove that the company is doing the utmost to meet the wishes of its in-store customers. To deliver the same level of exceptional service their online shoppers, this DIY giant focused on incorporating innovative e-commerce solutions including intelligent search, guided selling and targeted product placement – all of which went live during Cyber Week.
“Despite the increased traffic to our online shop during Cyber Week, the go-live went smoothly. It’s easy to see that FACT-Finder and the web as a whole are a well-rehearsed team.”David Büschler, Online Marketing Manager at Globus Baumarkt
One third of the 3.2 million online visitors to globus-baumarkt.de prefer to use the search function. Unfortunately, their previous search provider was simply not as error-tolerant as advertised – often leading visitors to zero results and lost sales.
Their e-commerce team chose to make the switch to a more reliable search engine, a decision that is reflected on their sales figures.
Since Globus Baumarkt’s go-live with FACT-Finder, their search-generated conversion rates have increased by 20%.
Another cool feature Globus offers its online customers are guided selling campaigns, which are the equivalent of their in-store sales associates: interactive, helpful, intuitive but fully digital.
Through a question-and-answer format (just like a real person does), this digital service provides guidance and support that help DIY-ers find their ideal product.
The result from guided selling has been a 50% decrease in bounce rate on the corresponding results page. An added benefit of these advisory campaigns is it helps Globus showcase its industry expertise and interact with customers like they would in-store.
🔩 Globus Baumarkt’s FACT-Finder toolkit:
This DIY and garden retailer was named after Europe’s most important trading route in the Middle Ages: the Hellweg.
Since their founding in 1971, Hellweg has been charting their own path, growing with a successful DIY store and garden branch concept. Today, Hellweg’s store network is characterized by high density and regional market leadership, with a special focus on the Rhine-Ruhr and Berlin areas.
|Hellweg at a Glance|
|758 million in annual sales|
|97 DIY store locations|
|Germany and Austria|
|754 thousand online monthly visits|
In a service study by the German Institute for Service Quality (DISQ), hardware stores nationwide were put to the test to check the expertise and friendliness of employees, range of products, branch environment and overall service.
Due to its excellent customer service and knowledgeable employees, Hellweg was chosen as the winner of the DIY Stores 2020 service study test. It was one of only two companies to receive the highest quality rating.
Hellweg not only impresses in stationary retail. They bring the same quality of expert advice and service to their online business, which launched in 2010.
A separate survey by DISQ tested which online shops customers rated as the best on the basis of more than 50 sub-criteria.
Consumers chose hellweg.de as one of Germany’s Best Online Shops 2020 in the Build & DIY category, praising them for customer satisfaction, range of products and #1 in service.
“We are overjoyed with this success. The test results confirm our high standard of being a pioneer in service and customer advice. This is clearly where our focus lies.”Catherina Tamler, Spokesperson at Hellweg
🧰 Hellweg’s FACT-Finder toolkit:
Just the like the name implies, this Swiss DIY chain does things big.
Jumbo doesn’t define itself simply as a tool shop but rather a hobby shop in a supermarket format, offering customers building materials, hardware store, painting, carpentry, gardening and more, all under one roof.
This pioneer brought the originally German and American concept of the home improvement store to Switzerland over 35 years ago. Today, Jumbo is the only DIY-dedicated shop in the country.
|Jumbo at a Glance|
|CHF 500 million in annual sales|
|40 DIY store locations|
|1.45 million online monthly visits|
When this hardware store went live with it’s online shop in 2018, it initially used a search engine based on open source which made it difficult for customers to find their desired products.
Jumbo’s team recognized the importance of having an intuitive site search that understands what customers want. That’s when they made the decision to go with FACT-Finder.
We had implemented a standard open source search, but the quality of the search results was far from our expectations.”Mario Coiro, Head of Customer Insights and Customer Experience at Jumbo
Search conversion rate is one KPI that Jumbo has paid close attention to since integrating FACT-Finder.
In the first year of using FACT-Finder technology, Jumbo’s search conversion rate rose by 40%. And in the second year again by 40%.
Today, Jumbo’s online shop (Jumbo.ch) offers +65 thousand items, is available in 3 languages and although it hasn’t been in e-commerce for long, it has already established itself as a role model in the industry.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Jumbo’s online traffic increased immensely, a stress-test for the comparatively young online shop, but one they performed excellently on, growing their online orders by five times the average.
Jumbo continues to live up to it’s name, currently pursuing innovative omnichannel concepts. Their pilot project ‘Shop-in-Store’, for example, equips smaller branches (400-800 sq. m.) with terminals or tablets that display the full digital range. Branch employees and local customers can then find products that are not kept in stock for space reasons and chose to have it delivered either to the store or directly to the customer’s home.
This means that even the smaller stores can benefit from the wide range of products available while accommodating consumers’ changing shopping behavior – making less of a distinction between online and offline shopping.