Hardware Retailing

FEB 2018

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 | February 2018 54 The cleaning category can be a great source of add-on sales. And with big-box chains and grocery stores grabbing a large share of the cleaning market, it's important to carve out your own place. To gain a better understanding of the trends influencing the category, Hardware Retailing reached out to Melissa Maker, an entrepreneur, author and cleaning expert who films how-to videos on her YouTube channel, Clean My Space. Maker's original distaste for cleaning has since transformed into a passion that has transcended most areas of her career. For more from Maker, read this Q&A at TheRedT.com/clean-expert. Here she shares five tips you can use to attract customers to your cleaning aisle, educate them on cleaning techniques and offer expert advice, while also empowering them in the ability to take on this lifelong household duty in the process. 1. Become the expert. When Maker graduated from business school, she decided to start a company that filled a need in Toronto. Although she pictured a different path, the necessity of cleaning turned into a great idea— a cleaning service. "I learned everything I could about cleaning even though it didn't make me happy," she says. "But then my opinion started to change. The knowledge I've picked up along the way helps me show people the quickest, easiest way to clean in order to have more time to do the things they love." 2. Decode the aisle. Maker says a challenge many consumers face when heading to the cleaning aisle is knowing which products to buy for different areas of the home. That's where the retailer can step in and help, she says. "When consumers go to the cleaning aisle in a store, they often look like deer in headlights," Maker says. "Cleaning is a life skill, and if you're able to share the products, tools and techniques they'll need, they'll return again in the future." 3. Stock their mop bucket. To draw attention to the category and help get customers started, an endcap featuring must-have cleaning products is a great idea. The must-have products Maker recommends include microfiber cloths, a scrub brush, a vacuum, a spray bottle, a squeegee and a mop and bucket. For an extra level of DIY, she recommends carrying baking soda, dish soap and extra-strength vinegar so customers can try their hand at making their own cleaning solutions. For more on building strong endcaps, check out Page 82. 4. Show them how to clean. Consumers don't always take the time to read instructions. Showing them how to use products can make a big difference. "People need coaching on how products work and from that, they'll be more likely to try new products," she says. "In-store demos are a great option. However, to become a resource for a wider audience, retailers can share videos with their followers on social media from experts like myself. Or they can create their own videos to share online and direct customers back to their store." 5. Create a curated shopping experience. Maker suggests retailers and their employees test out products at home so they can give firsthand accounts to customers of how a product works. To make the cleaning aisle a place for customers to explore and discover new products, she suggests placing callout signs by products that are new, unique or an employee favorite. "By listing something that gives basic information about a product and why it works, the consumer will give it a chance rather than just choosing the items they know from TV," she says. 5 Ways to Wow Customers in Cleaning Photo courtesy of Shayne Grey

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