Hardware Retailing

MAY 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 | May 2018 120 everybody tends to know everybody else. You can get a pretty accurate reference just going to the local fish fry. I really want my employees to enjoy coming to work. I often shop in stores and find myself face to face with an individual who just isn't comfortable working retail. I can train my staff to understand and sell the hardware we stock, but I have to hire the right personality. Young people today prefer to communicate with written words, through text messages and on Snapchat. Verbal communication skills are harder to come by, and I think that's something that is very useful in a retail environment. HR: What are some key opportunities independent retailers have in the short term? AM: Our area is mostly farmland, and we're now serving the next generation, the children who have taken over. They need a lot more direction than the previous generation when it comes to fixing things, and serving them is different from serving their parents or grandparents. They come in with their phones and show us pictures of what they want to do. They need our help picking out the items they need. This generation does considerably more research about the project, including brands and pictures of products and final projects. Many new homeowners are very "green" when it comes to home maintenance. They are willing to learn, and our relationship with our customers allows us to spend time with them and walk them through the project. We know 90 percent of our customers by their first names. Personal relationships matter, and our customers need to trust us. In order to get to that point, we're constantly engaging and asking questions. My staff asks customers how the painting project turned out or if the new puppy likes the dog food we sold them. That all builds rapport with customers. It's a gift when they come through your door. Use their time well when they're in the store. I think the shop small movement the last few years has also been a great opportunity to really define our stores as local "mom and pops." An increasing number of customers are choosing to spend locally as they see the overall benefit to the community. It's our job to drive that message year round, not just the Saturday after Thanksgiving. HR: What do you think the industry will look in five to 10 years? AM: I think you will see more small-town stores close or shift into general store models that sell everything from beer to nails. As retailers, we need to sell what our customers want to buy, Angela Merritt joined the family business to manage Ederer's Do it Best, which her parents opened as a supplement to their dairy supplies business. She is now the general manager of three locations. " Personal relationships matter, and our customers need to trust us. In order to get to that point, we're constantly engaging and asking questions. That all builds rapport with customers. "

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