How Wickes used behavioural science to change the way customers shop

The home improvement retailer used machine learning to identify the missions and motivations of shoppers, tapping into behavioural science to appeal to consumers’ emotions.

Source: Wickes

The lockdown DIY boom of 2020 helped Wickes double its customer base. Armed with a wealth of data, the retailer wanted consumers to shop with Wickes for their whole project and tradespeople to make it their default supplier.

Behavioural science revealed 75% of the brain makes decisions based purely on emotion and intuition, encouraging the team to switch its product-focused comms for motivational messages demonstrating how Wickes could help them achieve their goals.

The retailer teamed up with Team ITG and Emerald Thinking on the Mission Motivation Engine, a machine learning model incorporating online and in-store transactional, search, browsing, engagement and third-party data, with insight into how consumers click on social, display and website content.

The model analysed consumers’ implicit motivations and DIY aptitude to send them hyper-relevant experiences, tailored to their shopping state. The engine identified 10 DIY/showroom missions, seven trade professional missions, seven motivational trade segments, 11 TradePro programmes and 10 DIY/showroom programmes.

Communications were triggered when a purchase was ‘spotted’ by the model and timed to match the length of the project. Wickes delivered email, app push, social and landing page content to support consumers through their DIY project, offering tips and advice rather than sales-focused messaging.

For tradespeople, the retailer developed a personalised comms strategy designed to support their week at work, known as ‘The Week Ahead’.

Winner of the Marketing Week Award for Retail and Ecommerce, Wickes drove £7m in incremental revenue during the first six months following the implementation of the Mission Motivation Engine.