Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

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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DISTRIBUTOR PROFILE SERIES EXECUTIVE Q&A HARDWARE RETAILING 38 Hardware Retailing (HR): Can you talk about some of the company's upcoming marketing initiatives? Dave Elliott (DE): Independent hardware retailing is in a really great spot by being able to supply different needs under one roof. Generally consumers need advice, or they have new and ongoing projects. Therefore, independent hardware retailers are in a great position to be the go-to resource to continue to meet consumers' shifting needs. For wholesalers and independent retailers, it's a matter of staying relevant for everyone. We stopped charging a national advertising fee so retailers could use that money to advertise locally, in both print and digital formats. Digital advertising may be new to a lot of our customers, but once they can see it will be profitable, they're willing to include this new marketing approach in their mix. HR: Do retailers set individualized budgets through this customized marketing program? DE: Through the marketing process, True Value helps retailers determine the budget that works best for their needs and goals. As a wholesaler, the company also invests in marketing programs. A good example of that investment occurred last spring when the weather delivered snow on the ground through much of the country. To offset that slower sales period, we directly bought and paid for geo-targeted digital advertising with relevant messaging to support our retailers and drive store visits, even with a late spring. We also offer a la carte localized marketing programs. Digital marketing allows you to adjust and change content more quickly to adapt to the current environment. Print is still important, but it needs to be targeted to specific audiences because it is so expensive. Stores that combined digital and print marketing methods realized the highest incremental sales currently, but their print expense contributes to a lower return on ad spend, due to its higher cost. HR: How can a retailer determine the marketing program that works best for them? DE: In 2019, each store will have its own individual marketing program, and they will be able to adjust it as the dollars go up and down, right on the screen. We're putting that power in their hands, because True Value marketing is about customization so we are relevant locally. Being able to customize locally is a smart thing to do, and our store owners understand this. We are also launching artificial intelligence devices to push localization further. One example of this technology is a new app. Retailers will be able to stand in the aisle and scan a barcode to see all the information they need, like how many units they have on hand, as well as advertising information or a video that shows the product in use. This technology can even help them look up companion products or print a sign to show if an item is on sale. In the next year, artificial intelligence will do more for stores, which is where I believe the future of technology is heading. We'll start to increase advertising spending and decrease advertising expenses. In addition to the app, we're introducing a new marketing technology suite, which will allow retailers to produce their own advertising materials and customize their printed circulars. We've also begun targeting Over-the-Top (OTT) advertising on televisions, apps and programs. This is the delivery of video and TV content via the internet without requiring traditional cable services. It is a more targeted type of advertising that goes to streaming services in a certain radius. That means retailers will have ads streamed within three miles of a store. We plan on doing more of that moving forward. True Value Rolls Out New Marketing Plan in 2019 A Custom Approach Dave Elliott Senior Vice President, Marketing Elliott joined True Value in 2017 from Mitre 10, a New Zealand-based home improvement co-op. He has over 25 years of global marketing experience. In his career, he has developed growth strategies for independent retailers. " We are also launching artificial intelligence devices to push localization further ... Retailers will be able to stand in the aisle and scan a barcode to see all the information they need. "

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