Hardware Retailing

MAR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/945288

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Page 16 of 114

W hen it comes to movies, books, podcasts and other forms of entertainment, I have always been a fan of horror. Beyond liking the occasional spine chiller, one of the aspects I really appreciate about the genre is that most good quality horror makes us reflect and ask, what is it that truly makes us afraid? So, I want to ask you this question when it comes to your business: What is it that scares the heck out of you? For more and more independent retailers these days, the man behind the hockey mask looks a lot like Jeff Bezos and the monster under the bed is offering free two-hour delivery. This mounting fear of online competition could be seen in research the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) conducted toward the end of 2017. We asked independent home improvement retailers about the biggest challenges facing their businesses in the coming years, and for the first time since we began conducting the study, online competition ranked among the highest concerns. It doesn't help allay any of these fears when you see headlines nearly every day about how Amazon continues to evolve its model to meet consumer demands and you hear phrases like "retail apocalypse" casually thrown around. And while there are a lot of things going on right now for independent retailers that are somewhat unsettling, I have to ask you the question: What is it that is truly scaring you? Are you frightened that consumers will suddenly flip a switch and begin buying all their lightbulbs, hammers and nails online? Are you scared that Amazon will offer coast-to-coast two-hour delivery? Or are you really, deep down, scared that you simply haven't done enough with your business to create a value proposition for your customers that can overcome these threats? I understand that retail has evolved immensely over the past two decades, and we will likely see even more change coming over the next two. I also understand that it CAN be scary to see change coming at you so fast that you are forced to react to it with great expediency. But you cannot allow this fear to paralyze you! Fortunately, the home improvement industry has largely been spared from the full onslaught of online commerce over the past several years. But THIS WILL CHANGE! Right now, you have the opportunity to learn from what has happened in other retail markets, and you have the opportunity to better understand what is motivating today's consumer when it comes to shopping and buying online. You can use this information to better tailor your offering to meet these changing needs. For some insights into these trends, take a look at this month's article about how you can compete online on Page 44. Make no mistake in what I'm saying. I am not suggesting that there is nothing to fear here. What I AM saying is that you MUST start preparing your business for what's lurking outside the door, and you cannot allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear or slowed by casual indifference to the threat. After all, there is no shame in being scared, but there is definitely a price to be paid for failure to act. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org A Scary Proposition Taking Care of Business " You have the opportunity to better understand what is motivating today's consumer when it comes to shopping and buying online. " HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2018 10

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