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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March 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 47 Meeting Customer Expectations While many retailers are excelling online by providing unique, specific content on their websites, delivering on customers' e-commerce expectations can be difficult for several reasons. Many retailers say the lack of employee time to commit to website maintenance and limited budgets to develop and implement e-commerce options on their websites are two driving factors slowing their entry into e-commerce. Chief among retailers' concerns is having the right people and enough time to make e-commerce a reality for their businesses. About 55 percent of survey respondents say they don't have the manpower required to effectively maintain an e-commerce presence. And 53 percent of survey respondents say they don't have enough time to devote to bringing e-commerce capabilities to their customers. "Customers who walk in our store expect they're going to get a better level of service in a family-owned place," Bettencourt says. "It's really challenging for us to bring that same service level to the web without having all the resources these other big businesses have." NRHA research indicates that many industry retailers have websites but aren't satisfied with them. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being "most satisfied," nearly half of respondents rate their satisfaction at a five or lower. Fortunately, they are listening to their customers and are willing to be creative, particularly with social media. Many retailers are using a combination of social media platforms and websites to present online the personality, uniqueness and superior level of service that shoppers want from independent stores. Challenges Preventing Retailers From Offering E-Commerce These respondents currently do not offer e-commerce. They could select more than one answer. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% % of Respondents I don't have the manpower I don't have time to set it up I don't know how to set it up It's too expensive Other* My customers aren't interested in buying online *Survey respondents who answered "Other" say they are in the process of developing an e-commerce business, don't see the value in it or are not sure they can compete online. 54.8% 52.9% 45.2% 35.6% 17.3% 12.5% Source: North American Retail Hardware Association

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