How to Use Assembly-Required to Your Advantage

Products requiring significant assembly or DIY installation can work to your advantage. They can deliver superior ratings and higher revenue if you focus on messaging, customers, and quality.

Woman putting together an assembly required cabinet with upgraded instructions on the BILT app

Promote the positives of DIY assembly

Products requiring at-home assembly or installation offer significant benefits to consumers.

Emphasize value:  With most products that require at-home assembly, customers are getting better quality for the price compared to rigid goods that incur significantly higher shipping & handling charges. Shoppers are savvy enough to know assembly-required products can offer the best value for their money, and they are willing to accept doing the work of assembly or installation in exchange for that value.

"I just finished putting this desk together. I was able to do it by myself from start to finish. The Bilt app was very helpful. Everything lined up perfectly. I’m impressed with the quality of the wood and finished product. Looks as good if not better than any desk I’ve seen in furniture stores, and for far less. It’s a great value and I totally recommend it."

—by icanonly, review of the Threshold Conway Cast Iron Desk on the BILT app, 5 stars

Tout contactless delivery:  Many consumers, particularly those at higher risk for illness, are reluctant to invite white glove service technicians or professional installers into their homes because of the ongoing pandemic. They appreciate the ability to assemble or install a product themselves with contactless delivery. Communicate expectations to your customers and they will welcome the benefit of having a product delivered to their home.

Highlight ease of transport:  With the plummeting demand for white-glove service, the ability for large products to be easily transported is more important than ever. For online orders, make sure you set customer expectations for how large boxes will be delivered.

As long as the packaging is adequate, large flat-packed products are easier to move and are more likely to arrive undamaged compared to bulky, rigid products.

Underscore customizability:  Want to paint that playhouse before assembling? Turn bookshelves into a bench seat? Assembly-required products encourage creativity that can spark additional sales.

Use the assembly process to showcase product quality

Because the assembly process reveals all, it can enhance customers’ perception of your brand. If you already have top-of-the-line quality, customers may be impressed with the engineering as they go through the assembly or installation process.

“Your assembly instructions right on point, and your engineering five star. As a mechanical engineer you guys were right on point, and the materials that you use good quality and rust free.”

—by Dwight Moore, review of the Weber Spirit II E/S-210 on the BILT app, 5 stars

"Great engineering, everything went together without the trouble. Love to look at it everyday and marvel about how well made this product is. Job well done!"

—by Scott, review of the Backyard Discovery Brookdale 12 x 10 Gazebo with Electric, 5 stars

Don’t stress about perfection: If quality is not your primary advantage, make certain it aligns with customer expectations.

Sometimes customers will mention minor issues in reviews but still provide a good rating. Like driving a new car off the lot, even if they know a product will get nicked tomorrow, they want it to be perfect right out of the box. If the damage doesn’t affect overall performance, such as splintered wood, having a premium assembly experience may be impressive enough to overcome flaws that would normally affect the product rating.  At BILT, we have seen this premium set up experience cover a multitude of manufacturing issues.

“It took my husband and I about 10 hours over 3 days to assemble. We used the BILT app, which worked great. Our kids are 11, 10, and 3. The set is primarily for our 3 year old, although the older kids are enjoying it as well. The wood is relatively light weight. We only had a few issues with wood chipping or splitting, nothing very problematic. I am happy with the product for the price we paid. I expect it to last for the years we need it to.”

—by Jeanne, review of the Backyard Discovery Somerset Cedar Swing Set on, 5 stars

Ensure packaging & instructions bolster the customer’s perception of your product

 You never get a second chance to make a first impression. After investing time researching and purchasing a product, anticipation builds until it arrives. The unboxing and assembly happen close to the apex of the customer journey. Thoughtful packaging and set up instructions make a significant difference in ratings and reviews, so use them to your advantage.

Use packaging as a differentiator: Some brands, (Apple, Razor, Nest) have perfected the unboxing experience with a wow factor, but at the very least, packaging should do an excellent job of protecting the product. In addition to preventing damage during shipping, customers associate packaging with product quality.

"This swing set is solidly constructed and very high quality. It was also well packed in the crate. The directions are so simple to follow, especially using the BILT app. The app makes installation fool-proof."

—by XYZ, review of the Lifetime Products Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set on the BILT app, 5 stars

"The grill is very well made and assembly was one of the easiest I've ever encountered. The shipping carton was well thought out and the grill had no shipping damage. I will now put it to the test by grilling some steaks and vegetables."​

—by D200, review of the Member's Mark 5 Burner Gas Grill on the BILT app, 5 stars

Protect, don’t imprison the product:  When it comes to secure packaging there is a point of diminishing returns. Wrap rage is real. Excessive adhesive or plastic wrapping (remember CDs and DVDs?) or the theft-deterring blister containers most electronics (from GoPros to Oral B electric toothbrushes) come in make it next-to-impossible to get to the product. Packaging should not induce anger or injury.

Think of set-up as the first date:  The initial interaction with a product should not cause any regrets. When a product arrives in pieces, the goal is to get the consumer using the product as quickly and safely as possible. Many products are returned for no reason other than the consumer becomes overwhelmed with the prospect of a daunting assembly. Set-up instructions are the easiest thing to get right and typically require the least investment.

"I don’t impress easily. But I’m really really impressed. Great packaging! Great design and engineering and for its complexity was insanely easy to assemble. Well done whoever designed this piece. No screws. Easy easy. Looks great too."

—by Scottfar, review of the Home Accents Holiday 9.5 FT Animated LED Pirate Ship on the BILT app, 5 stars

Employ a secret weapon:  As revolutionary as Google Maps was to driving directions, the BILT app is a game changer for assembly and installation. BILT’s free-to-use 3D interactive Intelligent Instructions® are voice & text-guided and accessible on almost any touchscreen mobile device.

BILT begins with a product overview that includes tools required, parts included, then gently directs the procedure step by step with animated 3D images. Users can tap on a part for more information, zoom in to see intricate parts more clearly, and rotate the entire image 360 degrees for the best possible perspective.

Superior to paper instructions or YouTube videos, BILT gives users the ability to easily forward, replay, or skip ahead to any step and work on the project at their own pace.

Tip: (If you include paper instructions, be sure to avoid these common mistakes with instructions.)

BILT users occasionally even go so far as to say 3D interactive instructions make the set-up experience fun.

“I must admit that I have never been a guy who enjoys assembling ANYTHING. There is nothing more frustrating than opening a box, seeing a bunch of parts, and then trying to decipher a set of written instructions. Quite honestly, if I. can't figure most of the assembly out without the manual, I "outsource" the project so as to save myself some frustration. That story held true until I ran across BILT. I LOVE THIS APP! The combination of visual 3D product interaction capabilities that allow me to actually manipulate the product (including turning any angle, zooming in and out, etc.), and verbal instructions make assembly MUCH EASIER and FUN. In addition, the ability to immediately register the product and store warranty information and you have one of the coolest and practical inventions that I have seen in quite some time. I would recommend BILT to everyone...including those who are not as "challenged" with assembly as I am.”​

—by brian.reaves in the App Store, 5 stars

"Not only is the cottage sweet, it is also sturdy & everything fit together beautifully! Using the App with step by step verbal and visual instructions made the process of putting it together much easier for me than the manual would have been. I took one look at the written instructions and instantly felt overwhelmed, so I was beyond happy to have another option. I actually had fun! My 1.5 year old granddaughter absolutely loves it!"

—by Patrice Waite, review of the KidKraft Greystone Cottage on the BILT app, 5 stars

"I'm totally impressed with the 3D CAD assembly grill from BILT. It makes assembly a lot more fun and this is certainly entertaining and it's very useful later when you need to order spare parts or just understand what’s going on."

—by Triangle4SaleOrRent on the App Store, 5 stars

Experience better reviews: Customers are most likely to talk about their product within 8-24 hours of opening the box so use this to your advantage. Upgrading your assembly or installation experience with BILT has proven to boost star ratings.  Make your product a great experience so your customers embrace the value of at-home assembly and DIY installation. They’ll reward you with positive reviews.

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