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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HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2018 54 More than half of NRHA's survey respondents feel that within five years they will have a website allowing them to compete directly online with big- box retailers. What that may mean varies by business. Jabo's Ace Hardware is ready to follow and meet customers wherever and however they're shopping, Jablonowski says. And Howard Brothers' future online strategy will continue to rely heavily on generating unique content that establishes the business's commitment to the communities it serves. "The better we can look online from a reputation standpoint, the better," Darnell says. "When someone is comparing us against a local competitor, we'll always have the edge. They'll go to whoever they feel most comfortable with, and our goal is to make us their top choice." A Physical Advantage Jablonowski believes brick-and-mortar stores will always have a competitive advantage over e-retailers. Survey participants echo that sentiment nearly across the board, saying their businesses will remain relevant because customers, especially in the home improvement industry, still want in-store experiences. Plus, if customers have a problem, such as a broken toilet, Amazon won't coach them through fixing the issue, survey respondents say. The folks at the locally owned home improvement store demonstrate products, explain the differences between similar items and make sure the customers know what to do when they get home to tackle a project. "Being able to hold a product is important," Jablonowski says. "Nothing replaces the ability to see and touch a product in person." Hardware Retailing staffers Kate Klein and Todd Taber contributed to this article. " Being able to hold a product is important. Nothing replaces the ability to see and touch a product in person. " —Bill Jablonowski, Jabo's Ace Hardware Are the elements consumers expect of your website different from what they want or expect from big-box store websites? Source: North American Retail Hardware Association From the Retailers' Perspective 0% % of Respondents 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% I don't know No Yes 59.6% 21.2% 19.2% Do you have different expectations for big-box home improvement store websites compared to local hardware store sites? Source: The Farnsworth Group From the Consumers' Perspective 0% % of Respondents 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Yes No 56% 44%

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