The mission statements of the largest U.S. retail chains in the DIY Home Improvement segment are both surprising and surprisingly effective. In fact, it is the lofty, holistic, and people-oriented focus of Home Improvement retailers that has allowed them to survive as category-killing big-box retailers as that retailing concept is disappearing from the U.S. landscape.
Home Improvement on a Mission
The DIY Home Improvement Retailing niche seems to have come to an unspoken agreement that the business of home improvement retailing has less to do with hammers and nails and more to do with the people who use them. It is somewhat surprising considering the technical and utilitarian nature of the type of home improvement products and services that these retailers supply.
But it's not so surprising when you consider that nearly 50% of retail home improvement shoppers are now women, according to a recent Google survey about DIY shoppers. That Google survey revealed more things about the average retail DIY shopper that may also be surprising:
- 47% are doing home improvement projects not because they're necessary, but because they're enjoyable
- 38% are Gen Xers and Millennials
- 71% use the Internet to research products and get how-to information
- 58% own a smartphone
- 88% visit retail websites at least once as part of their DIY home improvement purchase experience
- 65% say they are more likely to make their home improvement purchases from the retailer that also provides them with DIY instructional videos online
Here are the mission statements of the largest DIY home improvement retailers in the U.S.
The Home Depot brand is really eight corporate values which define a specific approach to building relationships with customers, shareholders, and communities, and the manner in which its employees are encouraged and empowered to do so.
The "something different" that is recognized as a Home Depot branded customer experience has its roots in the "Entrepreneurial Spirit" corporate value. With that corporate value, Home Depot employees are specifically assigned the responsibility to be creative, innovative, and proactive in the job duties and their customer service efforts.
The brilliance of the Lowe's Mission Statement is in one simple phrase - "customer-valued solutions." It proves that the Lowe's leadership team respects the needs of its customers, and understands the need to guide its employees at all levels to do the same.
Why Home Improvement Retailers Survived When Other Big Box Retailers Did Not
Niche retailing has been difficult to sustain in a digital world where consumers are empowered to find and purchase any product at any time. But these two biggest home improvement retailers - Home Depot and Lowe's - have been able to survive the "death of the big box store" retailing trend in recent years and not just because of the size and scope of their retail operations. There has been plenty of evidence that there is no such thing as "too big to fail" for category killing big box retailers.
It's helpful to compare the mission statements of Home Depot and Lowe's to the mission statements of the bankrupt big-box retailers to identify the difference in philosophies behind retailers that thrive and retailers that don't survive.
Bankrupt big-box retailers seemingly had mission statements that failed to drive leaders to the agility and innovation necessary to stay competitive in a fast-evolving retail climate. Either that or these retailers had leaders who were unable to make the mission statement words framed in on the boardroom walls a reality.
Missions That Led to Big Box Bankruptcy
What follows are the mission statements of major category-killing big box retailers that have recently declared bankruptcy and gone out of business completely. These are the types of mission statements that have proven be unsuccessful, or to be unsuccessfully executed by retail leadership teams.
- Blockbuster: The Blockbuster mission statement lagged behind customer needs and lacked a clear vision of the future.
- Borders: While lofty in its vision, the Borders mission statement lacked a clear direction for the Borders employees as they were making practical decisions on a daily basis.
- Circuit City: The mission of Circuit City focused employees on its corporate values, but those values lacked any reference to innovation or customer experience, two aspects of its business were at the root of its demise.
Home Improvement Retailing Competitors Are On a Mission Too
In order to continue to survive and thrive, Home Depot and Lowe's are going to have to stay ahead of their competitors in all categories. There are no limits to the numbers and types of retailers which can encroach on the home improvement big box retailers by offering products and services related to home improvement. Just as consumers are empowered by technology to make purchases from any retailer in the world, retailers are also empowered by technology to create supply chains for any type of products in the world.