DIYers are likely to take on 7-12 different types of home improvement projects, as opposed to the 1-3 home improvement projects those hiring a professional would take on (1).

As the housing market makes a comeback, home improvement projects will increase, which presents opportunities for home improvement retailers to connect and engage the DIY consumer and their 7-12 projects.

So where should you be focusing your attention? Experts in the field say retailers should focus on digital efforts that will establish you as a source for expert advice and assistance.

DIY Projects Begin Online - Think Mobile First

While in-store purchasing of home improvement items continues to be the primary purchase path, DIYers are conducting research online before hitting the brick and mortar locations. According to our DIY Consumer Survey Report

  • 90% of DIYers research online before going to a store to make a purchase.
  • 59% of DIYers look up additional product information on their phones while in a store.

As we increasingly become addicted to our mobile devices, brands should continue to think mobile first, and incorporate mobile into their shopping experience ecosystems.

Millennial DIYers

Younger DIYers (think older half of Millennials) are inclined to use apps and other mobile experiences while in your store to enhance their in-store shopping experience.

Following suite after Target's Cartwheel app, building materials brands should consider leveraging apps that facilitate both mobile and in-store purchases. For example, apps could help customers access mobile coupons that can be redeemed in stores.

Alternatively, your app may provide customers with a shopping list that makes sure they have everything they need for their project, alerts them to items that are out of stock and prompts them to purchase out-of-stock items online and have them shipped to their house.

Generation X DIYers

Gen-X DIYers are less likely to integrate moibile shopping into their brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Gen-X DIYers value the in-store shopping experience because they can browse, touch and feel products to compare them, but they prefer to do so after they research online, as opposed to comparing product prices on their smartphones during their in-store visits.

Be a Cheerleader: Inspire and Encourage DIYers into Projects

Many consumers have not taken on a DIY home improvement project because they simply lack the skills and knowledge to do so. 13% of respondents in a Mintel survey said they would like to do more DIY projects at home, but don't have the skills.

Well that's an easy fix! (Pun intended.) Many big box home improvement retailers are stepping up as go-to resources for tutorials, tips, ideas and inspirations, and their primary avenue is digital.

Walmart launched a digital campaign in May 2012 centered around Projects Made Simple. The campaign slogan reads "Projects Made Simple is Walmart's complete solution to make do-it-yourself projects around your home - simple".

Projects Made Simple is a microsite organized by project types with how-to videos, such as how to paint an accent wall, caulk a window or refresh metal lawn furniture. Users can watch videos that demonstrate all the key steps to completing a project, as well as download a project sheet with tips and instructions.

Home Depot, in partnership with Martha Stewart, recently launched a video series which consists of 3 unique videos each week. The videos are hosted on both Martha Stewart's and Home Depot's websites, and they feature Martha answering some of her most frequently asked questions about home improvement and entertaining. Martha Stewart experts also provide detailed instructions for DIY projects like transforming shutters into wall organizers.

The video series offers inspiration, helpful tips and instructions that give DIYers an avenue for creativity and know-how while showing consumers they can tackle creative and interesting DIY projects themselves.

Use Social Media to Target Female DIYers

Women are just as likely to take on a DIY projects as men (44% vs. 48% respectively), and they are more likely to engage with brands on social media outlets.

71% of women use social networking sites compared to 62% of men. In fact, each month, 40 million more women visit Twitter than men, and women account for 62% of the sharing on Facebook.

Let's not forget Pinterest, which is chalk full of tutorials and DIY idea pins, which have a 42% higher click-through rate than any other type of pin.

Engage with the female DIYer by emphasizing home decor and home design DIY projects on your social media outlets.

Pinterest is a prime candidate for building materials brands to launch boards of creative DIY ideas with tips and tricks for common home decor projects, like repainting furniture or installing window treatments.

In fact, Home Depot launched a Do-It-Herself (DIH) Workshop campaign in 2013, inspired by Pinterest, aimed at the “DIY curious female consumer." Home Depot used some prominent Home Decor bloggers to promote their DIH workshops via their personal blogs, Facebook and other social channels.

Home Depot also hosted a Twitter party to spread awareness about the DIH workshops, where they shared design tips and pushed traffic towards their DIH website. The Twitter party had over 200 participants, 92% of which were female.

Through social media, DIH reached over 33 million people. Their Twitter party hashtag, #DIHworkshops, received over 24 million impressions and trended in the #1 US spot for 36 minutes.

In Q1 alone, their campaign reached over 40 million people. They've continued their DIH efforts throughout 2013 as an effort to further connect with the female DIYer.

So why is digital so important for Building Materials Brands?

Digital resources have become a primary influencer for the DIY consumer, so building materials brands should be focusing their efforts on mobile tools, social media engagement and digital resources that position them as a destination for expert advice.