Hardware Retailing

DEC 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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December 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 55 workplace standards and providing training, outreach, education and assistance. "The majority of safety equipment we sell is regulated by OSHA, which the manufacturers producing the safety equipment are required by law to stay up-to-date on," Mattingly says. "For example, items like respirator cartridges have an expiration date, so I make sure the products we give our customers aren't out of date. I can look this information up online, but I also rely on the manufacturer to provide us with that information." To find success selling safety equipment to their B2B accounts, Martin says it's just as important to sell the items to walk-in customers. "We have an aisle in the store that has all of the items you would need in a variety of industries to stay safe on the job," Martin says. "Having this area stocked and visible to our walk-in customers is a great way to make them aware of our safety equipment. Plus, this may lead to creating an account with us if they plan on placing a bulk order." In addition to carrying safety products in the store, Martin says it's also important to promote the various B2B services your store offers, whether it's through a website, word-of-mouth or store events that are specifically tailored to pros and commercial accounts. "Safety equipment is important and often required for just about any of our commercial and industrial accounts," Martin says. "These items save lives and protect people from injuries." Keeping Track of Information For retailers investing in the safety equipment category, staying knowledgeable on the PPE in stock and how long you have before it must be sold or replaced is very important, Mattingly says. And for major organizations like NASA, the equipment has to meet strict regulations in order to ensure their employees are safe on the job. Because these products protect employees from potential injury on the job, OSHA puts an expiration date on products. This ensures an item that has been in stock for multiple years doesn't get sent out. A product that has reached its expiration date could have developed imperfections or issues, Martin says. "If the item a customer requests from us has an expiration date of the following week, I can't sell it to them," Mattingly says. "The good thing about this is that our manufacturers will usually replace these items once they are outdated." If you decide to start selling safety equipment, it will be important to double-check the dates on these products online and with the manufacturer to ensure you don't sell outdated products. Generating Big Business To succeed in B2B sales, Martin says it's key to have at least one person focused on generating and maintaining business accounts. He says B2B accounts have been a part of Ace Hardware Titusville nearly as long as the company has been in operation. "Any retailer interested in starting or expanding upon an existing B2B business should have someone leading this aspect of their business if they want it to be profitable," Martin says. Most safety equipment on the market is regulated by OSHA. This inventory has strict shelf life dates to ensure workers are using up-to-date safety equipment.

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