Attendees at the 2015 Fall Blish-Mize Buying Market, held this past weekend in Overland Park, Kansas, got to see several new categories designed to help them diversify their product mix, along with a mobile ordering app they can take back to their stores for greater flexibility when ordering.
“Blish-Mize continues to hold to its promise to deliver more to its customers,” says CEO and President Jonathan Mize, who added that attendance at the Fall Market was strong and included both existing and prospective customers. “From just talking to some of our customers and some of the prospects here on the first day of the show, they all seem excited about the new opportunities we have to offer them.”
Among these offerings were a new dollar-item assortment and a pre-season booking program for outdoor lawn and garden furniture.
Bernard Borlabi, a sales representative from FLP, Inc., which offers a variety of dollar items, including kitchen gadgets, pet products and cleaning supplies, says retailers immediately realize the value this category can bring to their stores.
“Dollar items keep customers in the store longer and get them making more purchases,” he says. “We’re giving hardware retailers one more way to compete against the dollar stores that typically sell these types of items.”
And dollar items aren’t just for stores that typically cater to consumers. Borlabi has started to see lumberyards that have added a section of dollar items to their product mixes in hopes of drawing impulse purchases from pro and contractor customers.
The pre-season booking program featured a variety of lawn and garden furniture at price points that would allow retailers to compete effectively in the marketplace, according to Mize. “As you well know, this is a very hot category right now and we haven’t offered a booking program for a while, so we wanted to make sure that our customers had access to the products their customers were looking for at prices that would allow them to make a profit and be competitive,” Mize added.
Blish-Mize also introduced a mobile ordering app that retailers can take back to their stores to make ordering easier and more efficient.
“This app simplifies the ordering process by allowing our customers to order product anywhere,” says Mize. “Since it will give them the most up-to-date information on warehouse inventory, pricing and available discounts, we believe it will increase their efficiency and offer them better control of their stores.”
At the market, retailers responded enthusiastically. “I love the mobile app,” says Hilario Serrano of Randall Lumber and Hardware in Taos, New Mexico. “It will help me make better buying decisions.”
Seranno says he has been using the market to find the special buying opportunities he can use in promotions in the coming winter months as he seeks new customers.
“We’ve experienced sales growth over the past year,” he says. “In part, it’s because we’ve been aggressive with promotions in drawing in new customers. We’ve been looking for new customers particularly in the younger generation.”
In addition to using discounted pricing to draw in those customers, he’s also been capitalizing on the shop local trend to appeal to a sense of responsibility to supporting the local community. “We are emphasizing to our customers how that, when they shop with us, those dollars go back into their local community,” he says.
Market attendees got to hear more about the shop local trend during a seminar by Dan Tratensek, publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine. In the seminar, Tratensek shared results from a national study that showed the financial impact of shopping at independent businesses, and then offered some tools retailers could use to encourage consumers to shop local.