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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May 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 213 Attracting Customers, Rewarding Loyalty Like many places with extreme changes in weather, the seasons in central New York make a big impact on which products will fly off the shelves, especially when it comes to sporting goods and outerwear. In the winter, ice fishing is the sport of choice and fall is when the hunting crowd gears up for a new season. Summer brings hardware product demands along with a larger customer baseā€”the population doubles in the summer with an influx of tourists who visit Sylvan Beach, Jake says. "Our business is very busy in the summer with tourists, but because we have hardware and sporting goods that cross all the seasons, the departments balance each other out," he says. To continue to improve the business, finding new products and niches is a priority. Recently the store added a greenhouse, selling annual plants in the fall, and live Christmas trees and wreaths in the winter. To keep customers coming back, both stores share a loyalty program that started organically and has become a database with thousands of members, Jake says. "In the beginning, we collected everything for our loyalty program by hand," Jake says. "However, by the time we had 6,000 members in our program's database, which was plugged in manually on spreadsheets, the monthly rewards took a large chunk of time to go through. We looked into many different systems and found one that works for us. Through that program, we introduced an app to customers as well." With assistance from the rewards company they began working with, the app was designed to allow loyalty program holders to sign into their accounts to review transactions and manage their loyalty points. At both stores, Jake says the rewards program has helped increase sales, and it allows them to target specific customers and demographics. They send out coupons and rewards to customers for their loyalty, which in turn leads to store visits and more money spent at the store. At Bucks & Bolts Hardware & Outfitters, most of the store's customers are extremely loyal. With the help of a company that specializes in handling retail rewards programs, the business launched an app for users to track loyalty points and get special in-store deals.

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