Independent Hardware Stores Closing due to massive dip in sales
One of the biggest giants in the hardware store space Ace, is making sweeping changes that will impact every independent hardware store across the nation.
Ace Hardware’s vp of retail development Andy Enright said “We’re shifting our strategy to meet customer demand.”
These customers are demanding innovation and lots of “hands on” treatment from a sales associate.
Both of these factors demand deep pockets to get such systems up and keep them running smoothly.
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Unlike most Independent hardware store owners, Ace most certainly has the deep pockets to make costly technological and systems upgrades, as well as increase and educate their staff.
Those factors coupled with the huge footprint the company has with its 5,200 stores that range from 30,000 square-foot rural locations to 2,000 square-foot city versions, will certainly add to more independent hardware stores closing.
Most of these Independent store owners are unaware that these Ace locations are no more than 15 minutes of 75% of all the United States population.
Just imagine your store looking like this
With long lines of customers and minimal discounts
And looking like this after your Hardware Store Closing sale is over
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Those are devastating numbers when independent hardware stores are looking to compete with the Ace giant.
Ace Hardware has always been a force to be reckoned with for the Independent hardware store owners.
Besides having to deal with Amazon and the Walmarts of the area.
With Ace’s new push to rollout a new point-of-sale system, have real-time inventory tracking and live customer analytics that store managers have to better stock the stores.
The ability to compete for the Independent hardware store owners is going to be next to impossible.
Ace is increasing it’s staff of over 100,000 workers that have some of the best benefits in the industry.
They are being educated continuously on the almost 30,000 products that the stores carry.
The big factor driving this is that Ace knows that a customer will spend 50% more on average if they are helped by a knowledgeable employee.
Recent surveys have shown that independent store owners are struggling with basic staff coverage and have had to cut hours as their bottom line shrinks.
Fulfilling online orders in stores has been a huge help in keeping the Ace brand in the forefront of consumers minds.
Same Day delivery from stores, pick up in store, ordering online have made the day of an Ace employee much different these days.
It’s all part of the necessary evolution of the retail hardware business.
Most independent hardware store owners are not able to compete with these systems.
It is reflected in their bottom line as the total revenue for 2018 increased by 6% over last year, coming in at 5.7 billion.
Another gauge of success in the highly competitive field of hardware retail is that Ace is opening more stores than it is closing.
Chief client officer at customer agency C Space, states that the retailers can not just expect customers to show up like in years past.
The customer is evolving and so must the business.
He goes on to say “It starts with understanding who your customer is and what their lives look like, and how you can fit your retail brand into their lives in more meaningful ways.”
Many independent hardware store retailers are finding more and more that they can not compete with the deep pockets and sweeping rapid changes that companies like Ace are making.
Each day their bottom line shrinks and they know the writing is on the wall and they know the time has come to close their business.
I’ve been helping independent retailers with exit strategy solutions for almost 20 years.
I’ve learned that for most retailers it’s an inevitable fact that ALL businesses have a lifecycle.
And very few have the money and resources to compete with Amazon, the big box stores, and in this case companies like ACE Hardware that service the smaller independents.