How True Value Hardware continues to innovate

Hardware and home improvement wholesaler True Value Company has been in business for almost 70 years. Today, it serves more than 4,500 independent retail stores with marketing services and supply chain elements. On this episode of Retail Gets Real, Divisional Vice President of Marketing Strategy Sue Smolenski talks about how the hardware company is future proofing itself with hyper-local, highly customized marketing strategies.

Home improvement is highly seasonal — what is sold in stores and marketed to customers changes with the types of projects customers might be working on. “You’re not going to fertilize your lawn when there’s snow on it,” Smolenski says. True Value experiments with tactics that might increase a customer’s basket size in a single transaction, whether they are shopping online or in their local store.

For example, one observation shows significantly higher basket size when a customer checks out online versus when they check out in-store. As a result, the company is exploring ways to make all the products in its warehouses available on its ecommerce site. The next step is to integrate those online orders with the many individual stores.

True Value is currently piloting a ship-to-store program, leveraging inventories available at stores to enable customers to pick up products within hours. “A lot of the things that they need from their local hardware store,” Smolenski says, “they’re looking for it now. They can’t wait for … delivery in a couple days.” When customers come into the store, knowledgeable associates might ask about the projects the customer is working on and recommend other products.

Many True Value stores are established in their local communities and highly engaged, commanding customer loyalty through events and giving back. Smolenski’s team helps with marketing material and programs — from social media ads to designing flyers for print — so individual stores are always prepared to create the best customer experience.

Listen to the episode to learn more about the tactics True Value employs to drive the company forward in an ever-changing market.

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