Friday, June 3, 2016

Father's Day...Big Ticket Sales!

Jim Wilkerson of Blackhawk Hardware in Charlotte, North Carolina, sells a lot of big ceramic grills. The men love them, and their spouses love them, too. Why?

“We tell the wives that for the next five years, there are all kinds of accessories that make good Father’s Day gifts,” Wilkerson said. “It’s a no-brainer. It takes all the hassle out of gift giving.”

And there lies one of the secrets to mastering the art and science of big-ticket sales: the accessory sale. Add-ons like brushes and cleaners, service programs and warranties, safety glasses and gloves — these accessories can make the difference between category dominance and loss leadership. Other considerations, according to retailers and consultants, are creating a buzz, delivering the message and providing the personalized service that makes customers comfortable about paying the price of a big ticket.

There’s no accepted definition of a “big ticket,” but when a sale hits $500, that’s in the neighborhood. Generally, studies of hardware stores indicate the average transaction per customer hovers in the $20 to $25 range.

The Farnsworth Group provides research and retail advice to a variety of home improvement players. Jim Robisch, senior partner of the research firm, describes big-ticket sales as a process — much more like a moving picture than a snapshot.

For items like grills, outdoor power equipment and other merchandise with moving parts, retailers that do it well begin by training and educating their own people. The process includes advertising, merchandising, selling and upselling. And it continues with follow-up and maintenance programs, he said.