Hardware Retailing

FEB 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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February 2019 | HARDWARE RETAILING 61 In each of the four generations represented in the focus group, online video tutorials from knowledgeable staff members were identified as major opportunities for independents to share their knowledge and attract new customers. After commending IKEA for showing practical applications for its products in videos and marketing materials, Long recommended independents follow that lead. "I think a project showcase would be really helpful to a lot of consumers. I think the key is letting customers imagine the product in their own homes," he says. He suggests retailers use marketing materials from product manufacturers to merchandise not the products themselves, but the finished product they can achieve to inspire homeowners. Even if retailers don't choose to merchandise project applications, millennial Olson saw immense value in online video tutorials. "Most of the time when it comes to home improvement projects, I'm in the dark, and there's a lot of trial and error," he says. Every member of the focus group says they have watched an online how-to video before, and they agreed that retailers who begin creating their own collection of videos stand to benefit. Millennials Long and Olson agreed that if retailers were to create a bank of quick, informative how-to videos and post them on their website or social media, customers like them would learn about specific products in an independent's inventory and come to see that retailer as a source of knowledge. "We've said before that the independents have a more knowledgeable staff, so they should be the ones putting these kinds of videos together," says David Dickenson, a millennial who works for a chimney service company that buys power tools and other products from home improvement stores. He recommended retailers make these videos available far and wide—on their own websites as well as every social media platform they operate. "Social media is how you're going to reach millennials," Dickenson says. "Millennials want to do a lot themselves—maybe it's to save money, maybe it's just for the satisfaction of doing the job. If retailers with the know-how want to increase their sales or just give back to the community, using social media to give information is really important." Burns also confirmed that on video-sharing sites like YouTube, videos can be monetized, meaning retailers can choose to place ads before or during their videos. As viewers watch the videos, the retailer who uploaded the video receives compensation for those ad impressions. Perhaps the most important aspect of these videos to Generation Z participant Tratensek is the personal connection they provide. "If I could watch a video made by a local hardware store, and then go into the store and see the person who was in the video actually working at the store and able to answer my questions," she says, "that would be a huge selling point for me." Knowledge in Motion • Ask yourself what home improvement questions your team fields most often from customers. Compile a list of the top three and develop an outline to walk customers through these common projects. Gather the supplies a customer would need, grab your smartphone and start recording. • In 30 minutes or less, your business can create a video that advertises your store, solidifies your reputation for staff knowledge and encourages shoppers to stop in and start buying. • Share that video on your company's website, as well as on its social media platforms. Facebook prioritizes posts that include original videos, so sharing your how-to tutorial on social media can garner new leads for your business, while encouraging customers to try their hands at a new project. Put It to Use " If retailers with the know-how want to increase their sales or just give back to the community, using social media to give information is really important. " —David Dickenson, Millennial

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