NyloBoard distribution expands
BlueLinx locations in Frederick, Maryland and Richmond, Virginia, added NyloBoard products to their distribution mix.
Specifically, the BlueLinx locations are now distributing NyloDeck, NyloPorch and NyloSheet.
NyloBoard is a Covington, Georgia-based manufacturer that uses recycled carpet fiber to create strong and eco-friendly products. The company’s porch, deck and other products contain neither wood nor PVC. The company says it is continuing to add distribution for its products across North America.
Atlanta-based BlueLinx operates 49 distribution centers.
[The above story is corrected from a previous version. The correct location of a distribution center is Frederick, Maryland, not Fredericksburg, Virginia.]
Klein Tools offers new Buy Now deal
Klein Tools’ new “Buy Now” service marks a new way for manufacturers to embrace both e-commerce and the distribution channel, the company said.
This service utilizes Google AdSense for Shopping™, which enables customers to browse KleinTools.com for products, click “Buy Now” and then purchase products directly from distributor e-commerce websites in a seamless manner.
In the past, the “Buy Now” program was limited to a small number of distributors who had to pay fees to third-party shopping services. Now, the system can support any distributor who sells online as long as they upload a product feed to Google Shopping and promote the feed through Google Adwords. Then, the distributors will be eligible to appear within the list of results when a user clicks the “Buy Now” button.
For consumers, the new “Buy Now” system provides up to 30 vendors from which to purchase for each product. Furthermore, the end-user can comparison shop and go directly to the distributor’s e-commerce website to buy the product, making it a smarter and simpler purchasing process.
“We are excited to be the first in our industry partnering with Google to create a more comprehensive ‘Buy Now’ program for our distributors and end-users,” says Bryan McGraw, director of e-business for Klein Tools. “This new service will increase the number of distributors who can participate as well as expand a distributor’s e-commerce visibility and potential for sales. On the other hand, Klein end-users will benefit from a larger selection of e-commerce sites from which to buy and a more straight-forward purchasing process.”
From the issue: True Value makes its move
After sitting through the True Value Reunion general session back in Denver, co-op members sounded off with notes of can-do optimism.
“It was obviously a different direction than True Value has gone in the past,” said Jeff Gutierrez, True Value in Placerville, California. “Maybe it might ruffle a few feathers, but sometimes you have to do that.”
“I’m excited about our marketing and merchandising program,” said John Tucker, Waverly True Value Hardware in Waverly, Nebraska. “I’m an excited, 40-year True Value member. Life is good.”
“I was happy to hear about the advertising for national branding,” said Ryan Clavier, of Hatt’s Industrial Supplies in Thorndale, Pennsylvania. “I think that’s something this company has needed for a while.”
Fueling these comments, and many others like them, was the formal unveiling of the co-op’s almost-two-years-in-the-making Strategic Plan. In it, it was explained, are 30 initiatives ranging from brand building on a national scale to boosting store remodels and expansions with new options and incentives.
Though the strategy was unveiled during a presentation in October — with fanfare that included electric violins and revving motorcycles — True Value president and CEO John Hartmann explained later that the co-op was well into the execution phase already.
“I can tell you now that we are in a state of full execution,” Hartmann told HBSDealer in an interview in the co-op’s Chicago headquarters. “Business cases and other types of planning have transitioned to execution tracking and analysis.”
Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the new True Value achieve its plans for “transformational change” in 30 critical areas across the company overnight.
“Recognizing that you can’t do 30 big things at once, these initiatives are properly sequenced over time to ensure that they’re effectively implemented,” Hartmann said.
So what are they? Topping the list is a brand-building program that kicked off in January, promoting the values of True Value to national TV audiences.
Other show-stopping initiatives built into the True Value playbook are:
• Store growth: “We’re going to see more True Value hardware stores and more remodeled True Value stores in the coming years,” he said.
There are signs of progress. During the Reunion, Hartmann told the members that from January to September of 2014, 172 stores joined the True Value family, while 139 stores have either closed or moved out of the family. The numbers are even better when the metric compared is dollars. The 139 stores represented $20.8 million in annualized value, compared with $49.6 million for the new stores.
• A retail-excellence program: Tim Mills, True Value’s senior VP growth, described the retail-excellence initiative as a framework for assessing opportunity.
“Define retail excellence, evaluate where you stand today, and build a plan to close the gap,” Mills said during the Denver Reunion. “There’s an old adage: What gets measured gets done. Let’s work together on tracking to better results.”
• Upgraded product assortments: Ken Goodgame, True Value’s senior VP and chief merchandising officer, said the co-op is going “all in and all out” to build differentiated and relevant merchandising. That means more Geo-Demographic analysis of trade areas to boost productivity on a community-to-community basis.
In the past, the three choices were “basic,” “expanded” and “dominant.” The new True Value adds “urban,” “suburban” and “rural” assortments, plus “low,” “medium” and “high” income price point assortments, creating a matrix of fine-tuned assortments for members.
Merchandising at True Value is also moving toward higher-margin items. “No one makes money on opening price point product,” Goodgame said. “Our goal is to move customers up the continuum.”
The success of the strategy will be measured by the growth and performance of the co-op. But back in Denver, the Reunion (True Value’s term for its twice-annual conventions) produced buzz like few other Reunions before.
“Advertising is the biggest deal,” said Marty Nygren, Nygren’s True Value in Vermillion, South Dakota. “And just the fact that the whole company has a plan and the fact that there’s a new energy in the company.”
Some attendees even had visions of past hardware glory. “We don’t want to be No. 3 any more,” said Clavier, of Hatt’s Industrial Supplies. “We want to be No. 1.”