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Merchandising Ideas from Washington Retailers

If you’re looking for some new ideas, hit the road. Visiting other retailers is a valuable way to get inspiration and a perspective of what others in the industry are doing. Everyone has something to contribute. Earlier this spring, Hardware Retailing visited a few stores in northwestern Washington state, and here are some of the merchandising tips and other takeaways from each store.

1. DIY Friendly
An endcap at Dunn Lumber, with nine locations in northwest Washington, features “Build This Project” cards that list the tools and materials needed to complete simple building projects. Cards direct customers to dunndiy.com for more project ideas, step-by-step tutorials and regular blog posts.





2. Free Delivery
A deck display shows the grills and decking materials available at Scott McLendon’s Ace Hardware in Port Orchard, Washington. If a customer needs help getting those items home, the retailer offers a free local delivery service as part of a strategy to compete against Amazon on its home turf.





3. Get Lost in Housewares
At Henery Do it Best Hardware in Port Townsend, Washington, housewares in the center aisle compel shoppers to stop and look. It’s an area that gets frequent updates with new products so there’s always something new to see.






4. Bucket Brigade
Buckets make it easy to display impulse items at Johnsons Home & Garden in Maple Valley, Washington. “The best part of the endcap is that one of our high school employees saw a similar display somewhere and took the initiative to make it in our store,” says Brad Johnson, president.






5. Fast Reflexes
Look at the impeccably merchandised endcaps throughout Wilco’s Bremerton, Washington, store. You’d never know that the day before the business had a sales event that scorched average daily sales records. “We have a rigorous salesfloor recovery process that ensures the shelves are stocked and aisles are clean at the end of each day,” says TJ Colson, director of store operations for Wilco. “We also have strict standards for keeping endcaps full throughout the day.”




6. Suggestions Welcome
In a market heavy with competition, how do you differentiate your business? Town Center Hardware in Kirkland, Washington found a niche in equine feed and accessories. They have a part-time staffer who also works on a nearby horse farm to advise on product selection and help customers. The department includes a suggestion sheet where customers can list the equine products they prefer and the store can usually stock them.




7. Small Perks, Big Impact
There are at least two items always in high demand at Johnsons Home & Garden. Younger shoppers head straight for the mini carts, which keep them busy so the parents can spend more time in the store and do more shopping. Adults and children alike stop for a bag of popcorn, and the popcorn machine stays busy all day. Finding small ways to make shoppers happy while they’re in the store helps them stay longer and gives them one more reason to come back.




8. Spring Is Here, Fly a Kite
Walk into Junction True Value Hardware in Seattle and you’ll be surrounded by springtime. The compelling garden display includes vegetable seeds and lawn accessories. Lawn and garden is one of this urban store’s strongest categories. Look up, and you’ll see a kite or two. Kites are popular with children enjoying one of the many city parks. Samples of the store’s kite selection hang throughout the store, making it easy for young shoppers to find something they like.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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