If you drive across North America and start counting big-box building materials stores like Home Depot and Lowes, you might be amazed at just how many there are. That can be a daunting situation for smaller hardware stores from a competitive standpoint. But those smaller, local stores can often provide wood products the big guys can’t. Besides having the advantage of location, small to midsize building materials stores compete in lumber sales by building relationships, offering added value products, and in-house expertise.
Knowing Your Customers
One of the greatest advantages of buying lumber at a smaller retailer is the capacity to build a relationship with the store employees. Knowing your customers and their needs is key. A local builder might come in wanting a large quantity of 2×4 lumber, and another industrial company might need low-grade lumber to use as pallet wood material. Stocking a wide range of products that some of the bigger stores don’t carry is essential to building customer loyalty.
Offering Discounted Off-Grade Lumber
Smaller stores have the flexibility to provide value-added services or products. One way to do this is by offering a discounted, off-grade lumber product that satisfies the needs of your DIY, industrial, shed/garage builders, and certain remodelers. These wood supply products can offer much higher returns to the store, which reduces the need to operate solely based on gigantic volume and inventory levels.
Finally, in-house expertise sets a store apart from its competition. Make the purchasing process as easy and seamless as possible, and help your customers understand the value of low-grade dimensional lumber or B Grade building materials. It will save them money and get you a customer for life.
By focusing on what the big box stores cannot and giving the best customer service possible, small to midsized hardware stores can stand out above the big guys…even if they are just down the street. There is no shortage of opportunities to provide unique lumber and other materials to an appreciative customer base and increase your competitive edge.
Looking for a Building Materials Supplier for your small to midsized store? Contact us for further information.