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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March 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 79 "Walk-in customers may actually be over-informed because of what they've found on the internet. They may need help sorting out what can sometimes be conflicting information about how to do something," he says. Munger finds that helping customers gain first-hand knowledge helps, even if it means handing them a brush and opening up a can of paint so they can see how the paint applies. 4. Service is More Important Than Ever With competition all around, Munger says it's more important than ever to provide outstanding customer service. He wants every customer to get personal attention through every step of the process. "When you walk in our store, the same person will wait on you the entire time. All of our employees can mix paint, and everyone can work the cash register," he says. "This allows employees more of an opportunity to establish a relationship with the customers." 5. Don't Try to Chase Everyone Sometimes, achieving success in selling paint means targeting a specific audience, and then finding the best way to meet their needs. Munger sells paint to anyone, but he doesn't believe he needs to pursue the business of all customers in his market. "The bulk of our sales go to contractors, but we've intentionally not chased the new home market," he says. "That market typically offers low margins and requires little in the way of customer service." He lets that business go to his competitors, as he would rather sell higher-quality products and maintain the store's reputation for providing expert product knowledge. Above: A wide selection of wallpaper has helped Munger Paint & Wallcovering diversify its customer base. Left: Marvin Munger (left) opened his store in the late '70s, and now operates the business with his son, Curt.