Now that summer has officially arrived, customers shift their focus to entertaining outdoors, planning vacations, and recreational activities. It often means fewer trips to the local hardware store and putting indoor DIY projects on hold for a few months longer. Welcome to the lazy days of summer. In retail, it’s the time when sales dip and seasonal products generate little excitement for customers beyond the necessity of dropping in to make a quick purchase.
However, summer is an ideal time for hardware stores and home improvement centers to promote specialty services that often fly under the radar and are frequently overlooked by customers. Today’s DIYers are eager to patronize businesses that offer quick solutions to simple problems. If you provide services that help customers reduce the amount of time spent on unpleasant projects, complete routine tasks, and make it convenient to “one-stop shop,” you’re ahead of the game.
Can customers purchase products in your store and have them assembled for a reasonable fee? This option is ideal for grills, mowers, RTA lawn furniture, and bikes. Offering this service may seal the deal for those customers who value their time more than the small amount of money required to have a professional assemble the product correctly and have it available for immediate use.
Those of us who live in cold climates are keenly aware that one of the downsides of summer is flies, mosquitoes and other flying insects. So, getting door and window screens repaired is a necessity for anyone who wants to keep indoor environments pest free. Glass repair and acrylic sheet cutting are equally important when unexpected mishaps occur, and replacements must be completed immediately. Other types of repair you may offer include:
- Small engines
- Specialty blade sharpening (lawn mowers, garden tools, knives)
DIYers with the skills to tackle more complex projects and pros may opt to rent the tools they need for a single project rather than purchase them. Your business may offer professional-quality power tools, garden equipment, or sanders, or carpet cleaners. It’s best to designate a specific area where customers can inquire and conduct transactions if rentals are a vital contributor to the profitability of your business.
Key and Pipe Cutting
Replacing keys is just part of life. When they are lost or misplaced, it can be upsetting and inconvenient. However, when you can head to the local hardware store to have new keys made, it can give you peace of mind. Selling replacement keys is a great way to bring in new customers who may not be familiar with your business and what you have to offer.
Providing delivery service is a great way to attract pro customers who place large orders and prefer to have merchandise delivered to the job site. It can also be an excellent option for DIY customers who are working on landscaping projects that require lots of plants, fertilizer, and outdoor décor. Customers appreciate it when you recognize their needs and take action to make it convenient for them to do business with your establishment.
There are many small projects that customers can complete themselves if they carefully read the instructions and follow the directions they are given. However, they may feel more comfortable letting someone who has “been there and done that” do the installation for them. Typical projects that fall within this category are faucets, door locks, and screen doors.
You may already offer many of the services mentioned. However, if not, you may want to consider them based on the needs of your customers. Businesses based in urban areas, near a retirement community, or resort towns that offer assembly and delivery could be providing a welcoming service. Some people opt to use ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft and use cars infrequently or for longer trips.
Many customers have no idea what services are available because they rarely see the information posted in-store or on your website. Start by posting signs on the windows to get the attention of pedestrians who are walking by. Posters should also be displayed in high-visibility areas inside the business. Also, post information on your website and social media. If you offer customers circulars, mailers or postcards, highlight one or more of the services you provide. Consider a special offer such as a free key, or 20 percent off a rental or installation.
Typically, customers who request a service, also purchase additional products. It is the store employee’s job to recommend add-on items that will make the project go smoothly, and share advice related to the service to ensure the customer has a pleasant shopping experience. Many customers who come in for service are folks who come in regularly. She may be the soccer mom whose son just kicked a ball and broke the bedroom window or the dad who is getting the yard ready for his daughter’s birthday party and discovers the lawn mower isn’t working. Maybe it’s the young couple who moved into the neighborhood last month and needs to rent a carpet cleaning machine. They are all a part of your community.