Pointing to the importance of business-to-business sales, Ace Hardware launched a new brand for small business supply customers.
The new brand is called "The Supply Place, Powered by Ace." It is designed to attract sales among customer types including schools, churches, restaurants, apartment managers and general contractors. The co-op believes a separate brand that speaks directly to business customers will aid a store's ability to reach this market segment, which spends more than the normal DIY customer ($47 vs. $20 on average).
The program includes a certification process for all Ace retailers that want to use the Supply Place brand. In addition to the new brand, the program includes an e-commerce component that will allow stores to manage the pricing and the relationship with their small business customers.
The co-op pointed to the importance of end caps that promote a store's ability to supply business customers. Among the optional endcaps -- Gojo Hand cleaners, Clorox bleach, WD-40, and florescent tube lighting.
According to John Venhuizen, who will step into the role of CEO at the end of March, a common denominator of a successful and lucrative Ace stores is "a meaningful portion of sales from small business. Retailers who take advantage of the business-to-business opportunities are winning," he said.