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 51 figure will grow throughout 2018. About 70 percent believe their investment in e-commerce has been worth the sales they've gotten from it. At Jabo's Ace Hardware, online orders through the company's wholesaler e-commerce portal are increasing each year, Jablonowski says. Jabo's recently made its site mobile friendly to best present information to customers. "We knew it was important to have a website out there that works on a variety of platforms," Jablonowski says. His focus, though, is on getting as much foot traffic to his three stores as possible. Darnell, who is director of marketing and communications for Howard Brothers, built his company's website himself. Howard Brothers is still researching how to best compete online. "We still haven't figured out an e-commerce solution to the level that I think we should have," Darnell says. While his store does link to his wholesaler's e-commerce portal, their online inventory might not accurately reflect what's currently available at a Howard Brothers location, he says. A Drive Toward Digital Whether their e-commerce stores are robust or not, many retailers are learning that creating a multiplatform retail presence boosts business. They are leaning on social media strategies, engaging content and in-store events to differentiate their operations from the big boxes. For Darnell and Howard Brothers, that means increasingly driving the company's marketing budget toward digital advertising. Radio spots are the company's biggest advertising expenditure, but Howard Brothers will be slowly paring down its money spent on radio ads to beef up online marketing initiatives, like running targeted Google AdWords campaigns, Darnell says. Developing a Unique Online Identity More than 60 percent of the retailers NRHA surveyed do not currently have a budget for online marketing and development, but 85 percent of respondents maintain a social media presence to stay top of mind with customers. Retailers say sharing photos and information and spreading Retailers' 5 Most Popular Uses for Social Media To spread the word about events, sales or promotions To share how-to articles or videos To share photos and information To communicate directly with customers To run Facebook ads Source: North American Retail Hardware Association

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