As part of a Radio Advertising Advantage “Radio 911” telephone consultation, a radio station sales manager asked if I had any ideas for a relatively new client: a small, independently owned hardware store. Just one location, in the center of a small town.
The store didn’t seem to have any obvious Unique Selling Proposition (lowest prices, free delivery, etc.).
So I thought about my own rare ventures into hardware stores and quickly realized a key emotion that I suspect is felt by many customers:
Not heart palpitating, sweat producing, shortness of breath inducing fear.
More like uneasiness, a pronounced uncomfortableness.
Will I be able to find the tool or accessory I need?
How will I know which item to buy?
How will I know how many or what size I’ll need?
If I can’t find what I need, will a store employee be able to help me? Will they laugh at my ignorance?
This immediately led me to suggest a very powerful strategy utilized by too few advertisers: Education.
I suggested a series of commercials in which the store owner answers the most common questions posed by do-it-yourselfers in a relaxed, conversational, non-threatening manner:
Hi, I’m Ed Proprietor of Ed’s Hardware Store. A wrench is a pretty simple tool.
But if you ask someone to hand you a wrench, they might say, “Which wrench do you want? Pipe wrench? Monkey wrench? Crescent? Open-ended? Box wrench?”
Here’s a quick & easy explanation of the differences. (EXPLANATION GOES HERE.)
We carry so many different kinds of wrenches … and hammers, and saws, and screws & nails all kinds of thingamajigs and whatchamacallems…because we want to make sure we have exactly what you need.
Having helped thousands of (LOCAL) handymen & women, carpenters, electricians, and part-time fixer-uppers over the past 45 years, you can pretty much count on our having what you’re looking for.
And if you’re not sure what it’s called, don’t worry; we’ll know.
I’m Ed Proprietor of Ed’s Hardware Store in Smalltown, on Main Street, right across from the Post Office. Stop by today; we’re here to help.”
Where would you rather shop:
At a hardware store where the clerks don’t know and don’t care?
Or at a hardware store where the clerks are eager to answer your questions without making your feel stupid?