Selling decorative hardware can be a tough job for a locksmith shop, especially when you are competing against powerful, nearby large retailers. While locksmith shops offer some obvious advantages over large hardware retailers — like personalized customer service, product knowledge, and experienced installation — big retailers have the inventory space and ability to carry a wide range of styles, finishes, brands and accessories.
The ability of your locksmith shop to effectively sell decorative hardware depends on how willing you are to learn how to market and sell decorative hardware. Carrying decorative hardware in your shop has the potential to raise your profits and increase your customer base. Doing it right takes commitment and a little homework first.
What will it take for you to be successful? First, take some time to understand what's going on in your market. Learn about competitors, customers and be honest about your own capabilities. Once you understand the basics, begin to learn about the industry, particularly, market trends, merchandising, and styles/finishes.
Market trends include how consumers purchase door hardware, how much they spend, and from what sources they gather information in order to make their ultimate door hardware decision. Hickory Hardware, a designer and manufacturer of decorative and functional hardware, recently conducted a consumer market research study in the door and security market to better understand what consumers are looking for when they buy door locks. The report highlights three particular areas of data: what factors drive a person to purchase a lockset, their purchasing patterns, and where consumers get their information.
As part of the survey, Hickory Hardware asked consumers to rank 16 purchasing factors that might affect their decision-making when purchasing new door hardware, with the goal of developing new products and more effective packaging. The top factors were found to be product durability/quality, security level, smooth lock operation, lifetime guarantee, and price, followed closely by ease of installation and finish/color.
The consumers were also asked to identify why they purchased or would consider purchasing new door products. The top reasons were related to safety, theft protection, and replacement. The survey's findings also found out that ease-of-installation is not one of the top purchasing factors, as most consumers are more concerned with the security benefits of their new door products rather than with installing the hardware themselves.
The research found out that most difficult part of the overall purchasing process for consumers was comparing the benefits of different products. This is an opportunity for locksmiths to offer customers a knowledgeable salesperson who can help weigh the benefits of products to suit their needs.
Purchasing patterns include a variety of details about how customers purchase their door hardware, but most importantly it explains how much they spend and where they shop.
The market research indicated that the median price paid for decorative front entrance handle-sets was $129, with a significant percentage of consumers purchasing an entrance set costing at least $200. In addition, the median price for keyed-knob door sets was $44, with 30 percent purchasing items costing at least $65. This information indicates that customers are often willing pay more for their door hardware if they know they are getting both style and security.
At least half of all consumers who bought door hardware shopped at Home Depot and Lowe's, with other hardware store chains and Wal-Mart following closely behind. Locksmith shops, as well as lumberyards, were preferred by approximately 8 percent of consumers. While this seems like a small percentage of the market, locksmiths still account for over $200 million in lockset sales in the United States .
The key to selling decorative hardware is offering your customer something that can't be purchased from the local hardware or home improvement store.
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