Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.
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HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2017 78 C urt Munger knows that just being a retailer with a specialty paint store doesn't mean he will get a flood of customers. He has to earn each customer's business, every day. How he earns that business is different today than it was a few decades ago when his father, Marvin, opened Munger Paint & Wallcovering in Warr Acres, Oklahoma. In order to remain the retailer of choice, Curt and his father had to respond to the changing competitive landscape and do what they do best—provide good customer service. Here are a few of the ways they provide that service. 1. Talk Value, Not Price Munger Paint is within an easy drive from two big- box home improvement stores and three specialty paint stores. Some of those retailers engage in price wars, but Curt Munger says advertising can be misleading, so it's important for him to educate his customers. "It's important to explain the differences in paint," he says. "I need to explain why the most expensive can of paint at my store is higher than the most expensive can at the big-box. It all has to do with quality." He'll explain the different features of a premium paint, such as how much resin is in the paint versus water content. Customers need to know they may not be comparing similar products. 2. Offer Customers More While Munger admits he's scaled back his wallpaper sales since they peaked in the 1980s, he still keeps this niche because it remains a need among a segment of his customers. And, there are few other retailers that sell it. Keeping this important niche allows him to offer his customers more than the average paint store, which is why he's added a few hardware items to the store. He carries items most paint stores don't carry but which most painters need, such as light bulbs, hand tools and a few cleaning supplies. 3. Educate the Consumer... and the Pro When Munger first entered the business, the professional painter was a fairly low-maintenance customer. Pros purchased a high volume of product and knew exactly what they needed to finish the job. That has been changing, he says. He's seen more painters who are going pro, or hiring themselves out for work, when they only have a small amount of experience. "We spend almost as much time explaining to pros how to do something as we do our retail customers," he says. Conversely, the typical walk-in consumer may already know a lot about the project they're currently tackling. Five Ways Munger Paint & Wallcovering Keeps Customers Coming Back How to Earn the Paint Sale By Jesse Carleton, firstname.lastname@example.org