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DIY: Breakthrough in eCommerce using retail intelligence

In the last three years, the DIY and Garden sector has taken a big hit. The major DIY chains of Praktiker and Max Bahr have gone into insolvency and sales in the branch stagnated. Since last year, however, the DIY sector has slowly began to blossom again: In 2015, the total sales of DIY stores with a retail space of over 1,000 square meters have risen by 2.4 percent to 17.9 billion Euros. The breakthrough in eCommerce, however, has arrived much more significantly. Online sales at DIY shops have grown by an enormous 13 percent in 2015. We describe below the status quo in the DIY sector and show you how to achieve your breakthrough in eCommerce using retail intelligence.

DIY retailers banking on multi-channel strategies

Also for the DIY sector, the future of eCommerce lies in the hands of the multi-channel retailer. Customers today want to shop whenever and wherever they choose. The ‘top dogs’ in the DIY sector have reacted to emerging customer demands and are also offering their goods for sale online. But there are exceptions, even among the big players: Toom. for example, informs online about their product range, but offers no online shop. Apparently, its parent company Rewe is focused entirely in this segment on its pure-player Gartenliebe.de.

Other DIY chains are already linking their online and offline worlds successfully. The option to order and reserve online before collecting at a selected DIY store (Click & Collect /Click & Reserve) is offered, for example, by Bauhaus and Hornbach. Additionally, Hornbach is staunchly opting for price transparency and provides free WLAN in virtually all of its stores. In some Hagebau markets, on the other hand, customers can draw on the range at the online shop using an iPad.

Challenges for DIY retail on the Internet

Besides the successful implementation of multi-channel services, logistics still remain a major challenge. Many product categories are of limited suitability to online retail. The shipment of bulky components or sizeable gardening implements is both awkward and associated with expensive haulage costs. Retailers in this case need to develop clever logistical solutions.

Illustration: Why DIY customers (still) purchase from stationary builders’ markets (Source: Self presentation in the style of ECC Köln, 2015)

Illustration: Why DIY customers (still) purchase from stationary builders’ markets (Source: Self presentation in the style of ECC Köln, 2015)

Apart from that, individual consulting within the DIY store carries a very high significance. Online, however, high-value content and clever advisory tools can help counterbalance this.

Pure players catching up

Online pure players in the DIY sphere are still thin on the ground, but the pressure from other competitors is on the increase. In particular, Amazon is bringing multi-channel retailers ever deeper into difficulties and has recently invested heavily in the area of DIY. Amazon is convincing here, especially with its enormous range, whereas hardly any DIY retailer makes its entire product spectrum available online. The most successful pure player, however, is the joint venture of baumarktdirekt.de from Otto and Hagebau. This online shop generated sales of 239 million Euro over the business year 15/16.

Praktiker celebrates an online comeback

Praktiker is back again – but not as a DIY store just yet, instead as a platform for price comparison in the DIY sector. Christoph Kilz and Dirk Oschmann have secured the rights to the former DIY brand. At the end of 2016, the business partners will probably expand their price comparison area with an online marketplace and thus help restore glory to the once popular DIY chain in eCommerce form.

Grow successfully in eCommerce using retail intelligence

Even when an altered consumer behaviour and online pure players are currently revolutionising the DIY market: The future amongst online builders’ markets is still relatively open. For retailers and manufacturers, it is thus now time to quickly secure their positions in this market. Past experiences in other retail sectors have already shown us: Once the eCommerce train first sets into motion, it then quickly picks up in momentum. The principle is to react in a timely manner and to utilise the opportunities of online retail.

To differentiate yourself successfully from the competition, correct information about those competitors above all is of great assistance to you: Which products are other DIY retailers offering? What pricing strategy are my competitors following? How successfully are campaigns going and how are product lines developing?
To achieve a precise overview of the DIY market and your own position in the competition, you need the ability to quickly and easily compare those products from various providers. An extremely difficult task in the face of inconsistent product information and missing EAN numbers. The differing variants of a particular product also present an additional challenge.

It is precisely here that Retail Intelligence solutions like blackbee are positioned. Our intelligent, self-learning software for competitor and price observation recognises products in eCommerce from the most varied of retailers at an exceptional level of accuracy. On the basis of highly valid and precise data, you then receive an overview of your competitive landscape on the Internet, recognise where you can increase sales and margins, and discover how prices, articles and product lines change.


Your competitive advantage in the DIY market – the blackbee Retail Intelligence Suite for retailers and manufacturers. Contact us now – we look forward to your message!