Big-box home improvement stores have long been blamed for the demise of the local hardware store. New research shows that these giant stores are also posing a threat to independent building supply retailers. To maintain market share, these retailers may want to roll out new ad campaigns emphasizing the features construction professionals are looking for.
The Stephenson Company’s TraQline PRO survey solicited the opinions of several thousand professionals in the home improvement industry. Pros ranging from painters to plumbers to landscapers all share an interest in low prices. At least 40% of the pros shop where prices are lowest. But 33% say that quality is the deciding factor in what they purchase.
Online shopping has not made huge inroads in this segment. For most home improvement pros, the Internet proves to be a great place to conduct research and compare prices. For now, about 7% of the pros make buys online for their projects.
Retailers should know that specific professional groups have favorite brands. This includes Stihl outdoor products for landscapers (14%) and DeWalt portable power tools for general contractors (29%). Specialty retailers who can work with manufacturers to promote favorite brands and seasonal discounts may be able to improve loyalty from building professionals. While price pressure will likely continue, promoting convenience, delivery and related services could also help.[Source: Clark, Ken. Survey of pros shows big-box prominence. HomeChannelNews.com. 21 Jun. 2012. Web. 6 Jun. 2012]