Creative marketing ideas for hardware stores

With large national chains dominating the market, small hardware stores sometimes have a hard time staying competitive. The key is to find a unique selling proposition for your business and capitalize on it so customers see the value in choosing you over one of the larger stores. Here are some great ways to make your business stand out.

  1. gifts-When your store first opens (or even if you’re just looking for an extra push), offer your customers small gifts with their purchase. These will be tools or products that they can use that are marked with your store information: hammers, tape measures, levels, etc. When a customer is using this product and runs out of something or determines the need to visit a hardware store, they will see your information and immediately turn to you.
  2. in-store classes-Hardware stores often form a bit of a culture and social environment, so find ways to play with this. An excellent option is to sponsor training classes and educational seminars in your store. Work with your vendors to provide information that your customers will find valuable. Even your employees can teach these classes, from minor home renovation products to large-scale remodels. List the classes you’re offering that month above your cash registers with a large, visible vinyl banner that clearly informs customers of your opportunities to expand their skills.
  3. charitable donations-Offer your products to city organizations and charities that build or repair homes for the less fortunate. These are great PR for your business, they make it look more credible, and in return you can often advertise on the startup site using a billboard or yard sign. When customers see that you’re giving back to your community, they’re more inclined to shop with you.
  4. ladies night-Most hardware stores efficiently market to men. While most of your customers are probably men, don’t neglect the ladies. Host a “Ladies Night” at your store that offers your educational classes and even a special discount on purchases made by women. Use removable window clings to give your store a light feminine touch. There is a huge potential market here that is somewhat untapped, and with the right approach, female customers can drastically affect your business.
  5. personal shoppers-Some customers complain that hardware or home improvement stores are overwhelming. Counter this objection by providing customers with a personal shopping service. Your employees already help customers find products every day anyway, but creating a formal program provides a revenue opportunity. Customers can have one of your employees walk them through the store and help them find exactly what they need for their project, or for added convenience, your employee can pre-select the products they need so that when the customer arrives, all they have to do do is check.

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