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.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What Products Are Consumers Webrooming?

Consumers are increasingly researching products before they purchase them in-store. According to Q1 2016 research, appliances and electronics are some of the top product categories involved in webrooming (the practice of researching items online and then purchasing them in-store). 

Bazaarvoice analyzed more than 30 US retailers on its platform to look at the types of product categories that are involved in webrooming. Appliances (58%) and electronics (54%) made up a large share of product categories involved in webrooming....

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Will This Be the Cheapest Summer at the Pump?

BOSTON -- Summer gasoline prices are set to hit their lowest point in a decade or more.

That is according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Boston-based But do not expect a repeat in 2017, he cautioned.

“I don’t see our current environment of a healthy economy and low gas prices repeating itself again soon, so my advice to motorists is simple: Don’t delay your summer travel plans," said DeHaan. While it is too early to forecast gasoline prices for summer 2017, DeHaan said they may be 50 cents per gallon (CPG) or higher....

Read the entire article courtesy of CSP:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Home Improvement Research Institute Research Finds Good News for Market Growth

No one is calling it breakout growth, but the housing market is picking up, and along with it comes spending on home improvement.

That’s one of the broad strokes from the latest “Size of Market” study from the Home Improvement Research Institute. The study, executed by IHS Economics, estimated the total home improvement product universe up 4.5% for the year. The major home center chains were running higher than that figure, but the other channels of distribution lagged — paint and wallpaper stores, lawn and garden, equipment and supply stores, and appliance stores, among them.

Meanwhile, after an anemic 1% growth in the final quarter of 2015, the economists behind the “Size of Market” study expect the economy to “get back on track” in the first half of 2016 (notwithstanding the stock market, which will do what it will do). Expectations for real GDP are in for 3.0% growth in the second quarter. The story there is solid gains in sales to domestic purchasers and weak export demand, combined with a slowdown in investment in inventories.

What’s this mean for the size of the home improvement market? Mostly positive — the pace of growth of home improvement products sales is expected to increase 4.7% in 2016, reaching $333.5 billion.

Read the entire article courtesy of HBS Dealer: