Sell the Picture – Not the Paint

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Sell the Picture – Not the Paint

By John Stanley To be a successful hardware retailer in today’s competitive market, I believe, you need to get three categories correct in your store, gardening, paint and power tools. In my previous article I concentrated on the garden category; in this edition we will concentrate on the paint category. Don’t Sell the Paint The key to success is not to get hooked on tins of paint; this is just the commodity, a means of carrying a liquid to allow the consumer to achieve their dream. This is why ‘Plascon’, the South African paint manufacturer and retailer have opened shops that don’t contain a can of paint. Their ‘Design Quarter’ store in Fourways, Johannesburg is literally a design room. The store is designed for women, consumers walk into the store which is set out with a sofa and design photographs. The customers sit with a consultant in front of a computer screen and design the colour scheme for their home. Once a design has been made, the paint is delivered to the consumer. This may not be the right solution for a general hardware business, but the paint category is still critically important to the overall success of the business. Paint as a Meeting Place The location of the paint department affects sales per square metre across the whole store. Generally, women are attracted to the garden category and men to the power and hand tool categories. The paint department is often the meeting place. Therefore the garden department should be located on one side of the store; the power tools on the other and the paint department in the middle, rear part of the store. This should encourage maximum store circulation. The paint department also needs to attract all generations. While baby boomers may be happy to purchase paint in a traditional tin of paint, Generation X (those between 25-35 years) are the biggest spenders and want something more funky. Non drip paint holder containers and paint tins made to look like a ladies handbag have all been designed to try and attract this lucrative market. Designing the Paint Department to Maximise Sales Gone are the days when you simply placed tins of paint on the shelf and wait for the customer to buy. Customers now expect a theatre of colour and want to enjoy the experience of buying paint. A colour theatre where the customer can relax with a colour consultant is now the order of the day. The colour charts need to be located in a prime sightline and the consumer needs the opportunity to compare colour combinations in a relaxing environment. Sales can be built by providing the customer with the complete solution. Therefore the location of paint brushes and other ancillary items is critically important. Paint brushes must be located near, or ideally, above the paint. This makes it easy to increase the average sale per customer and solve the problems for the customer. The usual principles of retailing still apply to the paint department. You still need a power spot where merchandise is changed on a monthly basis. End-caps should be used for display and changed at least every two months. Signs should be clear and precise. They should give three benefits of a particular product as well as the price. Paint to Fashion The traditional paint department was where the consumer used to purchase a commodity, a tin of paint, and normally price was a consideration. The modern paint department is guiding the customer on the latest trends in colour, providing ideas and solutions. As a result it is becoming a colour or fashion destination and price is less important than if you are selling a commodity. The paint department can become a theatre of colour in the hardware store. It softens the store and if designed correctly it can widen your consumer base. John Stanley is an internationally recognised conference speaker and retail consultant with over 25 years experience in 18 countries. He has authored several successful marketing and retail books including the best seller Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know. John’s retail experience covers hands-on retailing in supermarkets, hardware stores, garden centres, farmers markets and drug stores. For more information John Stanley and his services visit his website www.johnstanley.cc