Hardware Retailing

APR 2017

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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• Store Location Bellevue, Pennsylvania. This charming borough of Pittsburgh has a small-town feel with a young, urban demographic. Many of the shoppers come to the store on foot or via public transportation. • Challenge This building already had an existing hardware store when the Posts purchased it. An older building in an urban area, it has two levels, and the staircase leading to the lower level is what customers walking in the door see first. The stairway eliminates the possibility of a power aisle and, therefore, the store doesn't have space for traditional endcaps or pallet displays. Downstairs, the ceiling is low and a bulkhead in the architecture makes it difficult to fit a standard vendor planogram. There are also blind areas out of the normal flow of traffic that customers often miss. • Strategy Samantha Post manages marketing and human resources for the entire company, but also spends most of her time at the Bellevue location. As she and staff tackle the limitations posed by the store's layout, she says it is helpful to watch customers as they shop the store. What are their normal traffic patterns? What areas of the store receive the most traffic? What areas are ignored? She and her staff have devised a strategy that focuses on creating opportunities for impulse items and finding ways to divert shoppers away from their normal shopping habits. Encourage impulsive behavior. Perhaps the largest store layout challenge at Bellevue is the staircase directly in front of the door. As a solution, Post fills the front portion of the store and the area around the stairway with impulse items, such as spirit wear for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Locating several niche and unique items in one, highly visible location solves another problem too. Given the layout of the salesfloor, traditional endcaps and pallet displays are not practical. Instead, Post uses the front of the store for products that otherwise might be placed on those types of merchandisers. Another effective location for an impulse display is near the key machine. As shoppers stand waiting for a key to be made, they browse through a dump bin full of discount items. "Just about everyone takes a minute to rummage through it," she says. "Everything is priced at $1.49, so it's an easy way to raise transaction size." Employees are talking merchandisers. Having impulse items available is only half of Post's plan for selling them. She encourages employees to prompt the sale. For example, as plumbing is one of her store's most popular departments, one of the most common add-on items is pipe tape. "We always have that at the front cash register counter. It's like going to the post office, when they always ask you if you need to buy stamps. If someone's HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2017 48 Interrupt the Customer Use the area around the cash register as a prime location for impulse and project add-on items.

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