SERIES: How to run a successful building and hardware business
Being a hardware store owner is, well, hard. You have to compete with big-box retailers and other e-commerce independents. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. With these small incremental steps it is very possible to grow your building or hardware business.
Give your customers a reason to return
There is that old adage that getting a new customer is five times more expensive than keeping an existing one. So your current customer base is by far your greatest asset. Most of them are living online so make sure your social media accounts are up to date, boasting about the hive of activity in store, reminding them to buy light bulbs and encouraging them to do that home renovation they’ve been toying with. Your business also operates offline and simple marketing activity like flyers and posters can provide on-going neighbourhood presence. Keep a mailing list of your customers and send them monthly updates on specials and new product. Always ensure that your marketing has a call-to-action aspect where you prompt your customer to act (on a special for example) and come into store.
Get found the web
While customers come in store to make their purchases, the first thing they are doing is researching online. If you’re out there on the web but also close by physically, you are first in line for their business. The most important thing you need to do is have a web presence. This should be informative and professional. Ensure your website is strategically filled with useful content and key words so that you come up in organic searches on Google.
The next best option is to create an e-commerce platform where customers can buy from the comfort of their home or workplace. This is an expensive decision to make and while there are experts who can help with this type of financing, you may not be ready to take the plunge yet. Either way, social media marketing is a non-negotiable and this is an essential presence that needs to be developed and maintained daily.
Draw customers in with window displays
Just because you are a hardware store, doesn’t mean you can think out the box and create exciting window displays. Using existing bulk product like boxes, taps, light bulbs and a fresh lick of bright paint, you can catch your customer’s eye and entice walk-ins. This type of activity is exactly the type of thing that can grow your building and hardware business.
Invest in your staff
A key thing that independent building and hardware businesses have over the big-box competitors, is knowledge. You understand your business inside out and your staff should have that level of knowledge too. The other side to this is to invest in your people. Your staff is on the frontline of all activity. If they are happy and heard, your customer feel it too.
Talk to your customers
The other major advantage that independent building and hardware businesses have over e-commerce retailers is that they meet the customer face-to-face on a daily basis. Small personal touches like remembering their names or making personal recommendations goes a long way in helping your customer to feel special.
Offer additional services to grow your building and hardware business
Offer simple and cost-effective DIY services like cutting and repairs or even subcontract an electrician or plumber under your brand. They will enjoy the referral business and this also helps build your reputation within the community. Ultimately this will encourage people to use your product and supplies for all the odd jobs they have around the house.
Building your building business
It is not easy to grow your building and hardware business. But the key lies in taking what you know and maximising the strengths of your business. It only takes small and consistent incremental steps to spark growth in your building and hardware business. We too are in the business of building… your business that is. To fund any of these growth-enhancing projects above, get in touch and see how a merchant cash advance can serve your ambitious growth.