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.

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Page 52 of 114

HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2018 46 'Do It Differently' Nearly 60 percent of the independents who participated in NRHA's new research feel they cannot currently compete online against big retailers. About 57 percent, though, think they will be able to compete with what other home improvement industry websites offer within five years. Many retailers are finding ways to use their websites, even without e-commerce, to serve their customers. However, they don't expect to get as large as Amazon and the big boxes online or become the new standard for what e-commerce should look like. "You can't let it discourage you," says Jessica Bettencourt, president of Klem's in Spencer, Massachusetts. "The functionality of website like Amazon's is very difficult or impossible for a small retailer to meet. However, there's an opportunity to learn how you can do it differently or maybe even better." Independent retail operations, such as Klem's, are finding that their online operations can complement what they're already good at in stores, such as expert DIY advice and personalized customer service. Bettencourt has been focusing on store renovations, and she thinks Klem's website is the next area due for a major remodel. The company's current website offers customers the ability to check Klem's inventory in real time and find out what events and promotions are happening in the store, but has plenty of room for improvement, Bettencourt says. "I think there are a ton of things that we could do better," she says. "Obviously, we can't be Amazon. But where do we want to go and how do we get there? The primary focus of my e-store is really my current customers, for the most part. Selling products across the country isn't realistic, but I think I can do a better job of servicing my communities online." The Most Important Elements of a Retail Website From the Retailers' Perspective Source: North American Retail Hardware Association From the Consumers' Perspective Product pricing information 1 Ability to see what products are available and in stock 2 Easy to find product information 3 Easy searchability 4 Reviews and recommendations 5 Basic information about the business 1 Service offerings 2 Product or department offerings 3 Contact information 4 The ability to buy products online and have them shipped to the store 5 Source: The Farnsworth Group

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