Home » Operations » Hot Tips For Top Sales
Hot Tips

Hot Tips For Top Sales

Outdoor Enhancements: Learn three more best practices to improve your outdoor living department CATEGORY at hardwareretailing.com/outdoor-living-tips.

When customers shop for outdoor living products, typically they are shopping based on desires rather than needs, which requires a different approach to selling and merchandising. Understanding their wants and creating a personalized experience will lead to boosted sales, happier customers and a successful outdoor living department.

Sharona and Cecil Eiserer tapped into customers’ desires and built a successful outdoor living category. The couple purchased Warren Lumber Yard in Carrollton, Missouri, in June 2016 and began operating as Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply. In 2021, the couple constructed another building across the street from their Carrollton location, adding an additional 2,700 square feet for outdoor power equipment and outdoor living products. Sharona shares her best practices for the outdoor living category and how they convert aspirations into sales.

Curate Your Product Selection
With no big-box or hardware stores within 30 miles of Carrollton, Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply fills a need for 4,000 residents, serving a customer base of 60% DIYers and 40% contractors.

The Eiserers have been long-time Carrollton residents and are familiar with the long drive that is sometimes required to find a business that sells what they’re looking for.

“Our goal was to provide members of our community with the opportunity to buy products they can’t find at other stores in the area, like brand-name outdoor living merchandise,” Sharona says.

They stock outdoor living products they personally use and can genuinely recommend to customers.

“Drawing upon our firsthand experiences and in-depth knowledge allows us to sell products more effectively,” Sharona says.

The operation sells gardening supplies, patio heaters, fire pits, kayaks, cabanas, scooters and more in the additional building across the street.

wood shed lumber
Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply has an extensive outdoor living department and specializes in grills and accessories.

The store specializes in grills and accessories, and the Eiserers recently added Amish-made furniture to its offerings.

The Eiserers take input from family, employees and customers when it comes to their outdoor living product mix.

“Our children attend wholesaler markets with us and give recommendations on products and insight into their friends’ purchasing tendencies. We learned about the Amish-made furniture from an employee whose brother makes them,” Sharona says. “We also take customer recommendations very seriously.”

Keeping up with trends and stocking products accordingly also leads to a comprehensive product mix. Sharona says griddles and pellet grills are both in high demand. Seasonings sales at Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply have also taken off with the addition of a novelty line, she says.

“Offering fun seasonings can be a great way to create add-on sales in grilling,” Sharona says. “Our new line of seasonings gained popularity at first because they have funny names, making them great white elephant Christmas gifts. Soon our customers fell in love with their flavors, and they became a consistent seller for us. We have trouble keeping the seasonings in stock.”

To further encourage sales, Sharona says they specifically built the checkout counter in the department to showcase the seasonings and encourage impulse purchases.

Drive Traffic With Social Media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool when used regularly and with a purpose. Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply has a dedicated employee who assists Sharona with social media content to make sure they are taking advantage of the free promotional tool. Read here how the operation’s social media tactics contribute to boosted sales and customer traffic.

Sales or promotions
Customers won’t know about deals if you don’t tell them, and social media is a free way to spread the word. Promoting deals, in addition to other content, will drive traffic.

Shoutouts to customers and employees
Putting a spotlight on customers shows appreciation and builds relationships. Showcasing employees creates community and conveys affirmation, garnering trust.

How-to articles and tips
Sharing a how-to article, such as how to create the ultimate grill area, establishes your business as trustworthy and highlights its outdoor living expertise.

Elevate Your Merchandising: Discover six ways to spruce up your outdoor living displays to show people how they can live it up in the outdoors at hardwareretailing.com/outdoor-living-displays.

Get the Word Out
Outdoor living is about the experience, so an impactful marketing strategy is word-of-mouth. The business’s general manager Eric Hidy participates in grilling competitions—some of which the store sponsors—where he promotes the store’s products. Sharona says the business also holds customer appreciation events where they team up with vendors and hold cookouts at the store.

The operation uses billboards and the local newspaper for traditional advertising. They also dedicate a page in their circular toward grilling and the outdoor living products.

“We send six paper circulars annually to everyone within 30 miles of all of our locations and to any rewards members,” Sharona says. “Sometimes we include coupons, and we use them to track engagement. It has proven to be successful for us over the years and we have seen overall sales growth.”

Sharona also appears as a guest on a local radio station twice a week to talk about store offerings for about 10 minutes.

“I talk about grills a lot,” she says. “Customers expect us to sell hardware and lumber products, so I make the extra effort to spread the word about grills and other outdoor living products.”

Share Sizzlin’ Sales Tips
Creating an experience for a customer looking to purchase a grill often yields positive results. Sharona says a strategy that has been successful for her team is to talk to customers about how they will use the grill and make suggestions based on their personal experience. These conversations make the interaction more of an experience and less of a transaction.

“Our employees use their personal experience with grills and information gained from customers to paint a vivid picture of the customer enjoying the product to close deals,” Sharona says. “We grill a lot, and we love to share our favorite recipes with customers. It goes a long way and can make the difference in a sale.”

Knowledge is another tool that goes hand in hand with crafting an immersive encounter. Sharona attended the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s Retail Management Certification Program in 2022, and her project involved creating a standardized training process. She is now focusing on implementation and accountability so employees can provide even better experiences to customers.

“It’s good to have the mentality that you can always do better,” Sharona says. “Getting creative, learning from others, trying new things and giving new initiatives a chance to work are key.”

To optimize sales, Sharona has worked with her team to merchandise her outdoor living area with intention.

“We place different generations of grills in line next to each other,” Sharona says. “This strategy helps with upselling as customers can effortlessly compare products, and employees can easily walk them through potential upgrades and coinciding price points.”

Sharona says some customers come into the store looking for the latest grills and accessories because they have seen what their friends and family are using and want to match or upgrade. Many of the store’s grill sales come from friends and family who attended a barbecue and had a positive experience with a product, she says.

“Embracing the opportunities these situations present encourages sales and add-on opportunities,” Sharona says.

If a customer isn’t interested in add-on products initially, Sharona says she’ll suggest additional products as future gifts.

“If I know it’s a gift, I always provide a list of complementary products and explain how well they work for upcoming holiday gifts,” Sharona says. “Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are particularly good holidays for selling grilling and accessory products.”

In addition to thoughtful merchandising, going the extra mile in service is crucial, especially when it involves a product category that may be considered nonessential. One way Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply provides something extra is by offering free grill assembly.

“When customers purchase a grill, the last thing they want to do is spend time putting it together,” Sharona says. “We assemble grills for our customers so they can enjoy their product right away and don’t have to wait. Instant gratification is a powerful thing, and we love providing this extra service to customers. They appreciate it and keep coming back.”

About Carly Froderman

Check Also

Data Drive Decisions

Industry Insights, Data Drive Decisions for Retailer

In an effort to help retailers become better and more profitable, the North American Hardware …