A Chink in Omnichannel’s Armor
With the rise of Amazon.com, there’s no shortage of interest in “omnichannel” retailing. It’s a favored buzzword at retail conferences and retail consultancies, and retail strategic plans.
But for an independent retailer, there are more important things to focus on, according to Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen.
In an interview with HBSDealer, the co-op chief had pointed to the struggling omnichannel giant Sears and its woes as evidence for his against-the-grain thinking.
“Everybody likes to talk about Omni-channel and sound real smart with these buzzwords,” he told HBSDealer. “But what I find interesting is that some of the retailers with the best omnichannel experience are struggling the most.”
One can argue that Sears has invested the most and has the most seamless onmichannel experience of any retailer in the U.S. And for years, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert has stressed the transition to an omni-channel format with an emphasis on a Shop Your Way loyalty plan.
And the result of that emphasis? On Wednesday Sears warned that it might not survive.
“Omni is not the answer to everything,” Venhuizen said. “ You have to manage the core value proposition first, or the omnichannel business is just chasing after what somebody else is good at.”
Venhuizen had previously stressed the three areas that Ace considers to be core: service, quality and convenience.
Beware, he said of consultants who attempt to terrify retailers about the power of Amazon, while suggesting that omnichannel retailer is the answer. One can waste a lot of money in that pursuit, he suggests.
“It’s about what your core value proposition is,” he said. “And the reason Sears is struggling is because that proposition is undefined. They spent a fortune to have a seamless integrated customer experience, but very few people care.”
Throwback Thursday: Back in the Family
The May 7, 2007 issue of Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, shows Texas lumberman Scot Parker posing by a Parker Lumber truck.
Parker made headlines following a dramatic swing in ownership for the 10-location lumberyard company. Two years earlier in 2005, the company was purchased by Lanoga (eventually becoming Pro-Build Holdings). Scott Parker bought 10 of 13 chains back from Pro-Build in 2007. Pro-Build kept three.
“Almost every single person who was with me when I left is still there,” Parker told our Home Channel News reporter.
Another way Parker returned to prior form was by rejoining the Do it Best co-op. It has been a leading wholesaler purchaser for the co-op ever since.
In the decade since, Parker Lumber has expanded to 18 locations in Texas and 4 in California.
In late 2015, Parker’s was acquired by US LBM Holdings, where it continues to operate as a semi-autonomous entity. The same year brought a new name: Parker’s Building Supply, reflecting the company’s expanding portfolio of products and services.
True Value names its Suppliers of the Year
The Hillman Group took home the top honor as True Value's 2016 Supplier of the Year, but the co-op had other companies to acknowledge.
“The Hillman team is tremendously honored to win Supplier of the Year with True Value,” said Brett Hillman, director of sales, The Hillman Group. “This award is a direct result of both organizations partnering to launch new products and provide retailers with world-class service each and every day.”
Ten other vendors were recognized for their service and innovation, having exceeded the needs of retailers by delivering a fill rate of 95% and above.
The vendors also contributed to the co-op's growth initiatives, participating in the Reunion conventions, Customized True Blue assortments and Destination True Value store remodels.
“We appreciate the outstanding support that our supplier partners provide to our retailers through their cutting-edge products and excellent service,” said Heath Ashenfelter, VP and chief merchandising officer. “They embody our customer-first mentality and are crucial to the advancement of the next generation of independent hardware retailers.”
The following eleven vendor partners were honored in February at True Value’s Spring Reunion in Anaheim:
Electrical: Halex, a Scott Fetzer Co.
Farm, Ranch, Automotive and Pet: Camco
Hand and Power Tools: Milwaukee Tool
Hardware: The Hillman Group Overall Supplier of the Year
Home: Bona Kemi USA Inc.
Lawn & Garden: Teknor Apex Co.
Lumber and Building: Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc.
Outdoor Living: Arch Chemicals, Inc.
Outdoor Tools & Power: Magid Glove & Safety
Plumbing: Bemis Manufacturing Co.