Orgill merchants leap into spring

Distributor's assortment strategy nurtures regional brands and higher margins.

Orgill describes its new program as collaborative and customizable.

It might still feel like winter. But at Orgill, “Spring is Here.”

That’s because the company says the 2018 spring season will mark the latest evolution in merchandising for its dealers. Boyden Moore, general manager of retail for the distributor, describes the Spring is Here program as an integration of buying programs, assortment strategy, marketing tools and training materials.

And it all takes place in the critical growth category of lawn and garden, which accounts for about 20% of sales at a typical independent hardware store.

“Lawn and garden is a great way for dealers to differentiate and grow their brand,” he said. “A strong lawn and garden department drives higher frequency of visits and also attracts new customers.”

Described as an intensely collaborative effort between dealers and Orgill’s purchasing, sales, merchandising and marketing teams, Spring is Here balances price, margin and brand awareness for optimum sales. Two more important adjectives attached to the program are “comprehensive” and “customizable” — factors that lead to a winning assortment that meets the needs of the local marketplace.

The program begins with an understanding of the independent dealer’s market-specific needs that support their unique brand. Of course, regional differences play a major role in localized assortments.

From there, it balances assortment with the brands that draw customers and the brands that deliver margins for dealers. One notable result of the process: Scotts products are not included in the assortment.

Moore explained that balance this way: “Utilizing brands, especially regional brands, is a key differentiator in making sure our dealers are seen as the lawn and garden authority in their market. Some higher-priced brands don’t offer as much of a premium in performance. Spring is Here features compelling ‘compare and save’ values to the end customer, which also drive better margins for Spring is Here retailers. And we price shop thousands of items nationally to make sure that our dealers are priced competitively while maximizing their margins.” 

Orgill also leans on its Hardware 101 assortment-planning tool to achieve optimum customization. The distributor can recommend relevant brands or the retailer can specify brand preference. Hardware 101 uses retail science to suggest categories worth stocking based on records of similar dealers.

The goal for any distributor program is in-store success. And according to Moore, a customizable program like Spring is Here promotes the common denominators Orgill observed among its most successful retail customers:

• A winning assortment of locally-relevant products customized for the store’s brand;
• A well-organized department that is easy to shop;
• Competitive retail pricing; and
• Highly trained associates.

“Spring is Here is designed to deliver on all counts with customized assortment, merchandised with power endcaps, compelling in-store signage and customer brochures that tell the story, all supported by training materials for the dealer,” Moore said.

The approach behind Spring is Here — customizable and collaborative — works well across the store, according to the Orgill mindset.

“We see some big opportunities to use this concept and the intense collaboration behind it to find more ways to help our dealer be successful,” Moore said. 

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