November 2018 | vol. i, #3
IS IT TIME TO START TWEETING YOUR CONTRACTOR CUSTOMERS?
Social media is not something dealers can ignore, and Mike Doyle, owner of The Home Improvement Warehouse in Calgary, Alta., knows it.
“Social media is a touch point for us,” says Doyle. “Millennials don’t shop the same way [as other customers], so how do we talk to them?” He adds that his company’s social media platformsFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Houzzare useful for connecting with architects and designers who are often avid followers.
Every Tuesday on Facebook, Doyle says his company posts something about what it’s doing in the community, which he refers to as “our hug.” Its posts on Fridays have been “harder sells” that might include price discounts on overstocked inventory.
Doyle has learned, though, that the hard sell and social media rarely mix. Customers who wanted those discounts needed to come into the store and say they heard about them on social media. “We’ve never sold anything because of a social media promotion.”
He isn’t giving up on social media, though. This spring he plans to run some online contests, like an “ugliest deck” competition, to engender more rapport between the company and its community.
Communicating with your pro customers electronically may still generate mixed results for some dealers, but its not something that can be ignored. Smart dealers and managers will look for innovative ways to stay connected, and social media is fast becoming an important tool.
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HOW THE BIG BOXES ARE GOING AFTER PRO CUSTOMERS
If you had a customer that came into your store more often, bought more stuff, asked fewer questions and just plain spent more money, wouldn’t you go out of your way to cater to them? For most dealers, that typifies their contractors.
But you can be sure that Home Depot Canada is paying a lot of attention to this very customer segment. The company continues to roll out services and programs for contractors. “Buy online, pick up in store” has been operating successfully for years, getting orders ready for pros within two hours.
The company’s “hot shot deliveries” will send a truck right to a contractor’s jobsite if they’ve forgotten something during their last visit to the store. Another initiative that has gained in popularity is larger tool and vehicle rentals, specializing in compact power equipment such as backhoes and track loaders.
For Home Depot, contractor sales are driving big-ticket sales as well. Sales over $900 account for about one-fifth of Home Depot’s overall turnover. While these sales include heavy appliances, they represent a lot of the pro spend, as well. Categories showing increased sales to contractors include commercial and industrial lighting, fencing, plywood, pressure-treated decking and interior doors.
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NEXT SEASONS HOT TRENDS: HIGH-END COOKING AND URBAN GARDENING
New furniture designs, crazy colours and ergonomic breakthroughs were just some of the innovations visitors from around the world could see at spoga+gafa, the annual international lawn and garden trade fair held in Cologne, Germany earlier in the fall.
Here are some trends to watch for in 2019...
Urban gardening is a trend that continues to gain steam. There were options for products that helped consumers grow fruits and vegetables in a small space, including self-watering planters that hung easily on a balcony and a vertical container for growing strawberries. Multiple grill vendors offered portable cooking units designed for balconies or tailgate parties.
Another popular area at the show was Outdoor Kitchen World. Consumers still have an appetite for spending big on outdoor entertainment areas, and that includes a growing trend to create a gourmet experience when eating outdoors. Besides traditional barbecuing, consumers want other cooking options such as smokers and woks.
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