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Tools are tops for Father’s Day shopping

BY HBSDealer Staff

It seems as though Father's Day remains in place as a top occasion for tool gifting — as well as finding competitive deals.

According to FatWallet.com's annual Tools Shopping Survey (conducted by TNS Global), Father's Day was ranked the best time find tool deals (followed by Black Friday).

Additionally, tools were a top gift choice for Father's Day (10%), followed by apparel (9%) and electronics (8%). At 20% and 14%, respectively, greeting cards and dinner events still pulled ahead.

Within this category, lawn and garden tools were tops (24%). This was followed by cordless power tools (17%), hand tools (15%), power drills (14%), tool boxes/storage (14%) and automotive (10%).

Brandwise, Craftsman took home the gold at 37%, far outpacing Black & Decker (25%), DeWalt (23%) and Milwaukee(5%).

Home Depot was king for retailers of choice (48%). Runnersup included Lowe's (40%), Sears (29%), Ace Hardware (13%) and Menard's (8%).

Furthermore, tool buyers have sizeable budgets, with 90% of those that buy tools saying that they can spend up to $250.

Out of the respondents surveyed, the vast majority plan on buying new tools this year in general — 8 in 10. The survey also pointed to an increase of 5.8% in home improvement spending.

"While the holidays offer great deals on select tools, June sales feature deals on a wider variety of both tools, and the materials homeowners need to get those DIY projects started," stated Brent Shelton, FatWallet shopping expert. "Whether shopping for Father's Day gifts, or personal needs, June is hands down the best time of year to budget for new power tools, tool storage, paint, building materials and lawn and garden equipment."

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Quikrete Industry Dashboard:

BY HBSDEALER Staff

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Bracing for technological changes

BY HBSDEALER Staff

What’s the problem with tech today?

Have you recently walked into a local retail store and thought, “Wow, this business is really on top of technology?” I’ve noticed that a few of my local lawn-and-garden stores have implemented the use of tablets during checkout, and the hardware store down the street helps customers locate products with the use of smartphones. But why aren’t we seeing innovative technology in the majority of these independent businesses yet? And, what does the generation gap have to do with it?

Although small brick-and-mortar stores haven’t been known for their fast adoption of new technology, the imperative to “keep up” with competition, especially the big-box stores, has opened the eyes of many independent retailers. Independent retail businesses should respond to new market realities — including evolving customer expectations, a transforming workforce and potentially game-changing technologies (we’ll leave the globalization of business for another article). However, the topic on the minds of many retailers today is the growing generation gap.

 

Growing Customer Expectations

Rapid consumer acceptance of new communication technologies, like price comparison via smartphones, has been a driving force for the last few years. The majority of customers rely on technology to form purchasing decisions well before they visit a physical store. A recent Google survey  smartphones for online research say their device found that 71% of in-store shoppers who use has become more important to their in-store experience. Millennials scour the Internet for product ratings, reviews and feedback. They are devoted to discovering new products and businesses via social media and the Internet.

In a similar manner, online purchasing and shorter merchandise-delivery cycles are continuing to thrive. The younger-generation customer expects retailers to have key products in stock (in the store as well as online), the transaction to be quick and smooth, and rapid delivery of products. Forrester Research predicts online purchases will hit $370 billion annually by 2017. Many brick-and-mortar stores are still trying to figure out how to build their online presence.

 

Ever-Evolving Workforce

Technology is a key driving force for generational gaps and shifts in the workforce, and it can be the key driver of facilitating these transitions. Most of the misunderstandings between older business owners and younger management relates to lack of information. Business owners may have built their businesses on handwritten notes and simple spreadsheets, but millennials depend on technology to provide deep insight. How does a business connect these differing management techniques? As these businesses grow or as they hand over the reins of the company, they bring in younger managers. It’s crucial for the younger managers to understand where the business came from, while incorporating new technology that moves the business ahead. The use of technology to automate processes and free up workers ultimately drives a more competitive business in the market.

 

Game-Changing Technologies

As you may be aware, the retail market is rapidly shifting. Are your business intelligence and analytics tools set up to provide you with the accurate, real-time information needed to respond to market changes? Does your business have a multichannel strategy in place? You should consider implementing a multichannel strategy that is aligned with your business to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience. Research shows that rather than marginalizing the value of in-store shopping, smart-phones, tablets and e-commerce, they offer an opportunity to enhance the consumer’s shopping experience. Additionally, Generation X and millennial shoppers are happier if they can get immediate answers to their questions from your website with their computers or mobile devices.

 

Craig McCollum is executive VP and general manager, retail distribution for Epicor Software Corp. (epicor.com)

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