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Wholesaler Central: The Right Products With the Right Promotions Drive Growth

BY JAKE KALNITZ
Chief Merchandising Officer, True Value

As our CEO Chris Kempa said earlier this year at our Spring Reunion, the macroeconomic reality of this year has and will continue to present challenges for independent hardware retailers throughout 2024. But because we understand the market and the reasons why these are happening, stores can find and create opportunities to fight back by driving traffic to your store and delighting your customers with a unique and needs-meeting assortment at retail.

Start With Driving Traffic

First, use your resources (even more) wisely. When the market tightens, ensure every second and dollar count. You can’t just spray-and-pray with your marketing budget. You have to be smart about it.

Choose solutions that outsmart everyone else in your trade area, using those precious dollars to really understand and target your audience. For us, that means leveraging technology to create hyper-local media campaigns, so no matter where you are, your resources are reaching your community.

Second, break through competitive noise and set yourself apart based on the strengths of your business in your specific market. This is the fun part. For example, True Value’s new brand campaign highlights the local expertise and best-in-class product assortments our retailers serve their market with. By celebrating the “Hardware Heroes” of each store who enable their local shoppers to become the heroes of their kingdoms—from homes to job sites—we’re bringing a fun and catchy way to highlight the core values of independent retailers. This is different from what many DIYers see in ads, and it helps drive foot traffic into the doors of True Value stores.

We’ve also partnered with vendors to offer attractive, exclusive, differentiated promotions to drive interest in visiting the store and purchasing product.

Delight Customers at Retail

Have you ever walked into a hardware store and felt like a kid in a candy shop, just excited by possibility? That’s the vibe we’re going for. Our research tells us that DIYers want three things: expertise, convenience and a guarantee they’re getting the “right stuff.” And when we say “right stuff,” we mean the cream of the crop, the MVPs of the hardware world to help them get their job done right the first time.

The “right” part is also critical for you as a business owner. We’re not only talking about limited, precious retail space. We’re talking about making sure your inventory—cash—is working as efficiently as possible. You can’t afford aisles and aisles of endless consumer choices—and your consumers don’t want to have to navigate through that either.

The “right” reinforces that you, their local hardware store, knows how to get the job done. For example, for our recent power tools accessories program revamp, we found the best products in drill bits, specialty products, saw blades and more, and we built an entirely new planogram to help our retailers connect with their customers.

There’s no redundancy. We took key consumer trends—the customer demand for more sets and kits—and partnered with vendors to make it happen. This is what having the “right” products looks like. Your customers can count on you to have what it takes to get the job done, from quality to price point to ease of choice.

This is where marketing and merchandising come together. Get your customer in the door, offer the products and solutions to drive purchases and make your cash work for you.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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