Hardware Retailing

JUL 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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July 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 67 Tip 3—Merchandise for greater visibility. "One of the best things I did to help power tool sales was to relocate the department across from the fasteners," Dumont says. The fasteners department is one of the busiest aisles of the store, so putting the power tool aisle nearby gave it some much-needed visibility. "That's a high-visibility area, and just moving the department has increased our accessories and tool sales dramatically," he says. Also when merchandising, remember that customers want to see products out of the box. Keep batteries on those samples fully charged. You don't want customers to be disappointed when they reach for a tool to see how it works. Tip 4—Fill up on accessories. The accessory displays must be full. "I put as much on every peg as will fit," says Andrews. "Nothing will frustrate the customer more than not having what they need, and as much as they need." Contractor and commercial accounts can be some of your best customers in the tools category. If you want to attract their business, make sure you have more than just two or three pieces on the peg—fill it up. Tip 5—Be first with new products. Andrews has a simple rule for what new products he stocks in power tools. "If it's new, I want it," he says. He also wants to be able to use it. As soon as that new product arrives, Andrews will take it home and try it out so he can give his customers a firsthand report on that product's various features and his experience with it. He gives his employees the same opportunity so they can give the best sales advice. Having new products is critical to keep customers' interest and to maintain your reputation as a leader in the category. Even if it takes time to sell that new product, you've not wasted your inventory dollars. A new and unique item will generate conversation, and customers will trust that if you have that item, you're offering them the latest products in the rest of the category, too. Tip 6—Stand behind what you sell. Karch at Nue's Hardware and Tools considers himself more of a consultant than a salesman. He wants to personally recommend the best tool for the job and talk intelligently about why one tool is better than another, rather than just sell based on brand or price. That's where Nue's repair shop comes in handy. Karch and his staff are accustomed to taking tools apart. They can tell when a tool is well-constructed, and when it's not. "Since we're involved in tool repairs, we can tell how well tools are built internally," he says. "When we get a new tool design, oftentimes the first thing we do is pull that tool apart so we can get a good idea about the durability and serviceability of that tool." Because he knows the construction of the tool—and how it works since he has used it himself—Karch has confidence when he counsels a customer about a purchase. If Nue's sells a tool that fails a customer on the job site, they risk losing that trust. The customer is more likely to hold Nue's responsible for that failure than blame the manufacturer. When that tool holds up to the rigors of the job site, Nue's gains a loyal customer. "We want to give our customers good counsel, and we've built up a lot of trust with them," Karch says. "We take responsibility for what we sell. When we sell that tool, we stand behind it. That's a promise we make with them when they come in the door." Andrews wants to be the first retailer in his market with new products as a way to strengthen his position as a power tool destination.

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