For the first time in over 45 years, the Do it Best 2023 Spring Market was held outside of Indianapolis. Taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, member-owners, exhibitors and Do it Best staff members buzzed around the convention center and the market floor.
“It’s exciting to see the market in a new location,” says Trecy Grant from National Do it Best Hardware in Florence, South Carolina. “Members get to experience different parts of the country where other Do it Best stores are located and discover something new.”
Not only were members-owners excited about the new location, they were excited to learn more about the upcoming Do it Best e-commerce changes. On Saturday, vice president of e-commerce Allison Flatjord took the stage at the kickoff event and shared more details about the upcoming e-commerce changes.
“In the past, it was enough to put up a website for e-commerce and advertise your website in store,” Flatjord says. “Now, you need several dedicated staff members to keep the website running smoothly and optimally.”
To offer value and efficiency to member-owners, starting this summer, Do it Best will offer an online platform and handle most of the responsibility for maintaining and managing the websites. This service will alleviate pressure on independent stores that might not have the additional time and money to invest in this area or the expertise to optimize their website.
“By having Do it Best maximize your website, you can focus on doing what you do best, which is running your store,” Flatjord says.
In addition to managing the websites for their member-owners, Do it Best plans to integrate its Best Rewards loyalty program, existing pages and inventory management systems into the e-commerce platform. The goal is to show customers an accurate representation of what their local Do it Best store has in stock, so they can place an order online and pick up the same day in store or know how many of a certain product is available so they can plan accordingly to receive the items.
“This new platform allows ease of access to member-owners while keeping their uniqueness to the store and their website,” says Randy Rusk, director of communications.
The new e-commerce platform is currently being beta tested by a select number of stores across the country, with initial feedback positive.
“Stores do need to prepare for the upcoming change,” Rusk says. “They need to have a compliant POS system to be able to keep up with accurate inventory numbers.”
To help members prepare for the changes, members of the Do it Best e-commerce team will provide assistance to member-owners to become compliant, from upgrading their POS system to scheduling an inventory specialist to come and help make sure their inventory counts are accurate.
“There is no longer a debate about needing an online e-commerce presence or not, it is a must-have,” Flatjord says. “But we are streamlining the process for our members so they can get the most out of it without needing to be experts in e-commerce.”
To remove a potential barrier to entry, Flatjord says there will be no setup or monthly operational fees for the new platform.
“Because we believe so strongly in our strategy to drive member sales online and in-store, we’re using only a small per-sale service fee to maintain our top-tier platform and invest in future enhancements,” she says. “Members will pay only for what they sell online. And we’re confident they will sell more.”
Boosting Member Growth
Do it Best also focused on driving member growth in 2023 and beyond through three paths: Driving retail excellence, helping members expand and acquire new locations and welcoming new members to the Do it Best family. Dent Johnson, vice president of merchandising, says the company has committed $100 million to the infrastructure investments necessary to support member-owner product needs, including an enhanced warehouse management system, new distributed order management system and streamlined core financials.
“These are generational investments that are critical to support your growth today, as well as the new business we’re experiencing now and projecting for the future,” Johnson says. “Our team’s focus is to have all these systems running without interrupting the business or our service to all of you. We’re bullish about the continued growth opportunities available for all of you, and we’re taking the necessary steps to build and maintain our facilities, equipment and foundational infrastructure to support that growth.”
Another focus of the spring market was revamping member-owners’ electrical and plumbing categories. The market included workshops where attendees learned about the newest products in these categories and how to make them work in their operations.
To show off these updated categories, Do it Best built a 10,000-square-foot mock store in the middle of the market floor. Called “Solutions in Action,” this store highlighted the new store layout Do it Best launched in 2020 that it has been implementing into stores.
“We’ve been making substantial investments to power up the engine that drives efficiency and increases sales for our members,” says Dan Starr, president and CEO of Do it Best. “This year’s spring market was just one more way we’re demonstrating our commitment to helping members grow.”
Members were given opportunities to purchase in-demand items and learn about new items in the warehouse at the Launch Zone. Hands-on experiences with products allow member-owners to get up close with the product to better understand how it works and describe its benefits to customers who come into their store.
“We’ve gone all-in to ensure our members’ time at the market produces a great return,” Starr says. “With our new e-commerce platform, outstanding deals, our extensive Solutions in Action plumbing, electrical and seasonal exhibit, educational seminars and great networking events, this market was one of our best yet.”