With the success of home improvement shows, DIY blogs and design magazines, it’s no surprise that the industry has experienced a burst of growth this year. Part of this can be traced to the efforts of big box home improvement chain Home Depot rethinking its methods of marketing to women.
While half of all Home Depot customers are women, the brand admits that it wasn’t trying very hard to reach them before now. There have been past efforts to reach female consumers, including Do-It-Herself workshops since 2003 and the Expo Design Centers, which were closed in 2009.
The problem was that the company was having a hard time shaking the image of being a place where “big, burly men go to purchase their tools and supplies,” according to Nelson Barber, professor of Economics who has studied shopping habits by gender. To change this perception, Home Depot began a partnership with DIY/home improvement mogul Martha Stewart and it’s been pretty successful.
Each product from the Martha Stewart line was to be marked with an icon to determine how to coordinate pieces from different collections. Methods like this make shopping less of a daunting experience because it feels easier to go in the store and find things that belong together.
Additionally, the names of items had more of a feminine slant, with paint in colors such as “cornbread” and “tilled soil.” Stores have been redesigned with less steel and more wood tones as well as offering comfort zones for customers to review paint samples or plan for remodeling.
Home Depot is working to change the minds of folks like Lauren Butler, who was quoted in the New York Times as saying about home improvement stores that they make you feel “like a girl” and that you “don’t know what you’re doing” and “need to get your husband.”
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