Hardware Retailing

OCT 2016

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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Page 58 of 94

HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2016 54 The focus was now on selection. With the addition of Benjamin Moore, Wilco now offered a variety of price points, ranging from $23 to $70 for a gallon of paint, with options covering all points in between. Marketing the Reset The strategy to promote the new paint and sundries department called for starting at the individual store level until all existing stores were retrofit and uniform in appearance and assortment. As a store retrofit project would reach completion, the Wilco marketing team would post special messaging to social media to promote that change as a special store event to regular customers, highlighting the new premium brand offering. Special postcard mailings also were sent out, and free samples were provided at special events, such as the company's popular Ladies' Night. The full-scale promotion of the new department re-launch didn't come until mid-2015, after all of the store retrofits were complete. At that point, store staff chose to highlight the new paint assortment prominently in circular ads. It didn't take long to see results. "The first store we retrofitted was McMinnville in July 2014, and true comp numbers for that store for 2014 vs. 2013 saw sales spike from $187,000 to $210,000 in overall departmental sales, with just five months of results and very minimal marketing," says Potter. "We saw the same thing in two other locations, so we knew it was working." Return on Investment Overall, Potter says the company spent between $13,000 and $16,000 per existing store to retrofit the departments. This included adding the new lighting and flooring, as well as general construction expenses. While the retrofits were taking place, Wilco opened four new stores with the new decor elements and assortment strategy in place. As with any major store project, coordination and communication with key vendors was a top priority, as Wilco received assistance on both equipment and product buybacks. Likewise, projects at existing stores were scheduled in conjunction with other full-store remodeling projects to minimize cost and store disruption. "Our major expense was the additional $120,000 we spent on liquid paint inventory to bring in Benjamin Moore, but it was a necessity to make the statement that we are really in this business," says Ricksger. Continued on Page 58 A major component of Wilco's paint department retrofit project was to add a premium liquid paint line that reinforces Wilco's overall assortment strategy of carrying high-quality, high-end merchandise.

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