Hardware Retailing

MAY 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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May 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 101 101 May 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING Food for Thought Farm, Pet and Ranch Customers Speak Up Y ou know your customers. You know the necessities for your farmers, your ranchers and your pet owners. Feed, bedding and other supplies are all available and stocked for customers' use. That leaves the question—what else are these customers looking for? What really makes the difference for a customer in the farm, pet and ranch industry when deciding which retailer to frequent? To find out, it's best to go to the source. For Darrell Kingsland, owner of BDK Feed & Supply in Blanchester, Ohio, knowing what products to carry is just part of bringing in customers. Being able to speak intelligently with an urban farmer or pet owner about the products they need, as well as offering tips and ideas for projects or problems, can turn a first-time visitor into a loyal customer. Kingsland credits this kind of focus on relationship building with his store's ability to win over farm, pet and ranch shoppers. "Our focus is on having the skill to help customers," Kingsland says. "Because we work so closely with them, we have sources they can turn to for help with whatever they need. From a vegetable farmer looking to protect against some kind of bug to a pet owner that has a problem, we have the products they're looking for and experts they can turn to. We can get them the answer; we don't have to tell them to go down the road." Whether your business caters to a farming community like BDK or you're just adding a selection of products within the farm, pet and ranch category to your business, it's important to understand what customers want. Hardware Retailing spoke to four different customers from across the country with distinct needs in the category. On the following pages, you'll hear from a 4-H participant, a small-scale farmer, a pet owner and an urban farmer. Each customer shares what they're looking for when shopping at stores that sell farm, pet and ranch products. In addition, Kingsland offers insights on how to best reach each type of customer. By Chad Husted, chusted@nrha.org

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