DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

True Value’s price check

BY HBSDEALER Staff

During the True Value general session, the audience of dealers responded with applause to the news that local pricing at TrueValue.com was in the pipeline.

Why is that such a big deal? We put that question to True Value Senior VP and COO Abhinav Shukla. He said the positive reaction was to be expected.

“The move resonates because it’s another step in supporting our retailers’ independence,” he said.

“Our retailers understand that there’s a need to meet rising expectations with digitally savvy and informed consumers. So this change helps provide the seamless connection between digital and traditional channels.”

Along with the announcement to allow for local pricing, True Value is bolstering its collection of in-store-only products by 1,200. The moves are part of a new TrueValue.com web site, expected to launch in spring of this year. Local store pricing functionality is expected to kick in this fall.

According to True Value’s research, visibility of local store pricing and inventory is highly valued by the consumer. They want to know this key information both before they leave their driveway, and also while they’re in the stores, Shukla said.

In addition to making prices visible, True Value offers programs to make the prices right – or “optimized” in the industry lingo. The co-op offers participating retailers several tailored price-optimization programs, each with a track record of enhancing retailer margins while driving sales, he said.

Typically, participating stores receive suggestions each month, based on a variety of data points. “Our pricing programs factor in everything from item visibility, category dynamics, local store factors, product cost, brand and those kinds of things. But ultimately it’s our independent store owners who have full discretion in setting the prices. They know their local market and their customers, so they’re the right people to make that judgment.

Attention on pricing – especially at the local level – serves as an example of the integration of customization and individual choice into retail programs. And with more than 4,000 independent True Value stores, there is a lot price fluctuation, for a lot of different reasons.

“A store visit is often the preferred choice, and the fastest fulfillment option, for consumers," he said. "So it's a huge advantage for [retailers] to offer consumers visibility to local-store pricing.“

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