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 122 not what we think we should sell, and that is constantly changing. I am grateful that my co-op lets me be my own store, really a true independent. I can stock the things my community members are looking for. Busy families value quick shopping, simple parking, helpful staff, getting in and out (at times with three little kids) really quickly. We have a play area in the Plain store where little shoppers can hang out while their parents shop. The kids enjoy it and it makes their parents' shopping experience better. I think there will be a real focus on "simple" shopping because time is so valuable. HR: How do discover what your customers want to see in your store? Do you use a loyalty program? AM: Marketing to our current customers is probably one of the most difficult parts of my job. I work hard to decide where to spend my dollars to target the people who are frequenting our store. We do regular circulars, put out spring and fall catalogs with a shopping spree, and utilize local newspapers. Local customers also hear me on the radio quite often. I have been voicing my own commercials since we opened, and I still do. We use Facebook, but we haven't paid for advertising yet. Our two most effective advertising methods are the coupon books our co-op puts out and our radio ads. The coupon book tends to be easier to measure because the customers bring the coupons into the store with them. We get a lot of positive feedback about the radio ads, too. I think many customers feel like they've grown up listening to me. They come into the store and say, "I heard you on the radio!" We have a loyalty program through our co-op, but because it's fairly new, we haven't gathered a lot of customer data. We are getting a really high return rate on our monthly rewards, and I think that will grow as we move through spring and summer. HR: Where do you see your business in the next five years to 10 years? AM: Our model is very agriculture-focused. Many of our local farmers are facing a very difficult decision, either to get much bigger or get out of farming. For those who decide to sell, there has been a shift to hobby farms. I think that trend will continue as people see value in getting back to their roots or try to grow roots they never had. There is a desire to raise your kids simply with apple trees in the yard, chickens out back and a huge garden. I think Ederer's can play an important role in bringing that vintage, nostalgic vision to our communities for many years to come. I look forward to helping my customers raise animals on the same property I helped their parents raise animals on. HR: Can you talk about the value and importance you place in furthering your education and networking with other independent retailers? AM: I really enjoy spending time with my hardware peers, but I don't do it very often. I wear a lot of hats at work, and it's difficult for me to get out of the store. I read often, and I try to keep up with new products and retail trends via newsletters, magazines and online. This magazine, Hardware Retailing, is a great resource. I also find interesting reads through the merchandising information that they send out. I have the opportunity to meet people and network at Do it Best markets and seminars. Like my customers, my time is very valuable, and most weeks I don't have nearly enough of it. I am involved in my local chamber and business groups, and I enjoy talking shop with my fellow local business owners. It may already exist, but I would to utilize an online forum that discusses our industry weekly. What's working, what's not, what vendors are shipping product late or not at all. The technology is there to do it, so it's just about making it happen. One of the appeals Ederer's Do it Best offers its customers in rural Wisconsin is the staff's knowledge of farm life and the wide variety of unique products.

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