Power tool aisle revs up
Makita 18V LXT Series
In 2005, Makita created its 18V Lithium-Ion lineup with the 18V LXT Series. Makita 18V LXT delivers more power and less weight in a more compact size, with an 18V battery that reaches a full charge in 30 minutes. In 2006, the company designed the 18V Compact Lithium-Ion battery for a select group of new 18V compact cordless tools. The latest additions to the line are: 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Impact Driver, 18V Compact Lithium-Ion Impact Driver, 18V LXT Lithium-Ion ½-in. Hammer Driver-Drill, 18V LXT Lithium-Ion ½-in. Hammer Driver-Drill. (makita.com)
Metabo Cordless Magnetic Drill Press
Metabo has introduced its cordless magnetic drill press. The new MAG 28 LTX uses a 25.2 V Li-Ion battery to power the tool. A permanent rare earth magnet, requiring no energy from the battery, allows the use of the drill in remote and previously inaccessible environments. The earth magnet offers up to 2,500 lbs. of holding force, which can be adjusted for precise positioning when drilling on vertical, horizontal and sloped surfaces. The drill has a prism-shaped magnetic base that enables users to work on pipe as well. (metabo.us)
Black & Decker MATRIX Modular Tool System
Black & Decker has launched the new MATRIX Quick Connect System tool, a modular tool system built around three different base power units and changeable attachments to drill, cut, sand and more. The MATRIX modular tool system is offered in 12V MAX, 20V MAX and 4.0 Amp AC base power units, each of which will be sold with the drill/driver attachment. (blackanddecker.com)
Milwaukee M12 FUEL line
Milwaukee Tool has introduced its M12 FUEL line of extreme-performance cordless power tools within the M12 System, available this winter. The line will include six drilling and fastening tools that all integrate Milwaukee’s PowerState brushless motor, RedLink Plus intelligence and RedLithium 2.0 battery pack. M12 Fuel Drills will include a 2-Speed Screwdriver, Drill/Driver, and Hammer Drill/Driver. The M12 FUEL Impact offering will include a ¼-in. Hex Impact Driver, ¼-in. Square Impact Wrench, and 3/8-in. Square Impact Wrench. (milwaukeetool.com)
Ryobi 18-Volt One+ ProTip Handheld Paint Sprayer
Ryobi’s cordless consumer sprayer, the ProTip, uses a reversible spray tip. The design allows the user to rotate the tip 180 degrees to clear clogs quickly and rotate back 180 degrees to continue spraying. The 1.5-qt. quick-lock container locks into place to help prevent spills and allows longer time between re-fills. ProTip can be used for painting or staining decks, fences, garage doors and more. (ryobitools.com)
Bosch CM12 Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw
The new Bosch CM12 12-in. Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw is a one-handed portable miter saw. The CM12 offers enhanced cutting capacity and boasts a strategically located side bevel lock lever for quick, easy adjustment and integrated expanding material support for cutting versatility. It is lightweight and compact and allows the user to achieve accurate, efficient cuts at any angle. (bosch.com)
Ingersoll Rand Air Impactool
From the Ingersoll Rand Edge Series, the 2132G Air Impactool 1/2-in. drive air-powered tool packages a powerful 6-vane motor and promises 600 foot-pounds of maximum reverse torque. Convenience features include a one-handed push button forward-reverse control system, a variable-speed trigger and an ergonomic grip. The air-powered tool works quietly, with the IR Quiet Technology system inside. (ingersollrandproducts.com)
SKIL MAG77-75 Worm Drive SKILSAW
To celebrate Worm Drive SKILSAW’s 75th anniversary, SKIL has unveiled a limited-edition anniversary saw that has the features of the MAG77 SKILSAW plus a custom black fleck powder coat finish, chrome aluminum foot plate, commemorative name plate and 75th anniversary saw blade. The saw features a powerful 15-amp motor, a light magnesium housing (2 lbs. lighter) to reduce user fatigue, an “Impact Resistant” Carbide Blade, a push-button spindle lock for easy blade changes, an anti-snag lower guard to reduce snags when making narrow cut-offs, an oil indicator level and relief bellows for long life, and a 22-amp switch and heavy gauge cord. The kit contents include MAG77-75 7-1/4-in. magnesium Worm Drive SKILSAW, 7-1/4-in. 24-tooth “Impact Resistant” Carbide Blade and blade wrench. (skiltools.com)
Hitachi 18V Brushless Lithium-Ion
Hitachi Power Tools has launched its new 18V Brushless Motor Lithium Ion cordless products at Lowe’s. As of May, Lowe’s has offered an 18V Lithium Ion Brushless Hammer Drill and an 18V Lithium Ion Brushless Impact Driver. Hitachi’s brushless motor technology delivers more power to the motor by minimizing energy loss through friction and heat. Managed by a micro-processor chip that delivers current flow to the motor, brushless tools experience up to 50% longer run time between charges, increased power and extended durability. Hitachi’s ergonomic design for the tool bodies makes them well balanced and comfortable. (hitachipowertools.com)
Porter-Cable 18-Volt Oscillating Multi-Tool
Porter-Cable has announced the launch of a new 18-Volt Oscillating Multi-Tool as a kit and bare model. These models are built with the company’s Tool Free System blade-change technology, which allows for quick accessory changes without bolts or wrenches. The tool also offers double the runtime per charge compared with Porter-Cable’s 12V MAX† oscillating multi-tool. The tool is compatible with the company’s 18V Lithium Ion and NiCD battery platforms. The tool’s variable-speed unit features an oscillating angle of 2.8 degrees, allowing control when making cuts on finished surfaces and delivers 7,500 to 15,000 oscillations per minute (OPM). Weighing 2.8 lbs. with the battery, the tool is compact, comfortable and includes an oversized, easy-to-reach switch and an ergonomic handle with an over-molded, non-slip grip. (portercable.com)
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Power drills, by the numbers
Consumer research from The NPD Group shows that after a slight sales dip in the 12 months ended July 2011, the drills category has seen a boost back to levels above those of two years ago. Dollar volume from August to July rose 8.4%, with most dollars overall (61.9%) spent in warehouse home centers.
Driven by ever-improving battery technology, the majority of drills sold in the 12 months ended July were cordless drills, but sales of corded products have seen an uptick over the past two years.
Based on the data, the typical purchaser of a power drill in the past 12 months is 18 to 34 years old, lives in the South, earns less than $30,000 a year and is definitely a male (77.2% versus 22.8%).
Power drills are one of the few categories in which brand beats price by a wide margin as a reason for purchase. But as a reason to shop a particular retailer, price remains a top motivator.
Methodology: NPD data are based on monthly tracking of more than 30 home improvement-related categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers.
*2012 data reflects the period August 2011 through July 2012.
**Key: WHC: warehouse home center; MM: mass merchant; DS: department store;
SS: specialty store; HS: hardware store
*** More than one answer accepted
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A message made for TV
Even though he’s appearing on a prime time, national television commercial, Beyond Hardware True Value owner Matt Shapiro hasn’t gone Hollywood.
“I have to admit, I did very little besides show up and read my lines,” he said.
Shapiro, co-owner of stores in Canandaigua and Penfield, N.Y., and more than 20 other real True Value hardware store owners performed in the commercial by showing off their personalities, their storefronts (through the magic of technology) and their passion for the hardware business.
The TV spots employ quick editing that jump from store to store and feature owners completing each others’ sentences — especially the line: “We’re all different, but we’re all the same.” The 30-second spots ran in prime time in April and May, and are coming back for an encore performance in October.
Director of marketing Blake Fohl said there were several strategies behind the commercial. The co-op sought to showcase the true stars of hardware and to build the perception of the brand as a collection of local business people. “Your brand really lives and comes to life with the store and the people in the store,” he said. “Why not make them the center of the campaign?”
Casting for the commercials took place at the co-op’s Fall Market, as dealers were invited to line up and look into the camera. The casting team, a combination of True Value executives and agency professionals, were looking for retailers with a variety of accents and a consistent passion. With 200 retailers lined up for their turn to read and make eye contact, casting wasn’t easy, Fohl said. “Believe me, there were very few people who did not have passion.”
One of those passionate performers was Karen Duggan of Horn’s True Value.
“The idea was letting customers look at our stores and see that we may all look different, the stores might be different, but we are the same in how we do business and what we are trying to achieve,” she said.
For the participants in the commercial, the results were pretty consistent, too — a steady stream of recognition in the local market.
“It did generate a lot of customer response and excitement. People would say things like, ‘Wow, you were on national TV!’ ” Duggan said. “One person told me, ‘Oh my God, we were on a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, and I saw you and Bernie on TV!’ ”
Though its difficult to pinpoint its impact on sales, given Horn’s other marketing efforts, she believes the exposure will pay dividends the next time a customer needs something for his or her home.
Shapiro feels the same.
“We were able to leverage the commercial into some great local PR, and lots of our customers recognized me and came in just to tell me,” he said. “Of course they also purchased a few items.”
Across the country, there was more of the same.
“In the end, what I was most surprised by were the number of our customers who continually come into the store and told me that they saw the commercial,” said Alan Bryant of True Value Homecenter in Oakhurst, Calif. “It has become a regular conversation with people at the store and around town.”
Bryant also saw an “explosion” of interest on Facebook, as people were sharing the commercial.
Measuring the success of the advertising campaign on a broader scale is a more difficult matter, but Fohl said the spots have succeeded on several fronts.
“We have done some pre- and post-analysis, and the commercial generated excellent scores on awareness of the brand,” he said. “If you look at the anecdotes and read the main message recall, they parroted back what we were trying to get across.”
One bright spot was awareness among Generation Y consumers, “people who grew up thinking the hardware store was a big box.”
While it looks like everyone is standing in front of their stores, the owners were actually shot in front of a giant green screen in Chicago. Architectural photographers were sent on location to get the backdrop for each store.
“I never realized how much was involved in filming a commercial,” Bryant said.
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