Micro-niches flourish

Power tool suppliers continue to introduce new lines of tools marketed to smaller niches. Over the past year, several sub-categories have grown:

* Tools designed for women have moved beyond the superficial, such as “fashion” colors, to redesigned tools that are smaller and easier to handle.

* Serious D-I-Yers have been targeted by several manufacturers with lines positioned between everyday consumer tools and heavy-duty contractor tools.

* Private labels and imported lines enable retailers to target price-conscious shoppers. These lines help retailers compete against other channels that are stocking small runs of hand tools–including grocers, pharmacies and convenience stores.

Matching the need

Retailers need to tailor their hammer selections to the needs of customers. Contractors, for example, have different requirements than consumers.

Professionals use hammers weighing between 20-24 ounces; consumers use weights from 16-20 ounces.

Bob Bachta, marketing manager of Vaughn & Bushnell, says that there are also regional preferences in hammer handles.

“The West Coast favors hickory, the South favors fiberglass,” Bachta says. “It’s diminishing, it’s not nearly as strong as it once was, but you can see definite trends as to which areas of the country are buying which products.”

Tap the impulse for hand tools and best car vacuum cleaner.

Countertop and hands-on displays create opportunities for additional sales.

“Displays help sell,” says Sandra Forberg of Estwing. “Tools are readily noticed.”

Michael McCue, advertising manager for L.S. Starrett, agrees. “Countertop displays at strategic locations are effective. Pallet or tray-stack displays also work well, particularly in larger stores.”

Set of construction tools. House renovation background.

Data Points: Hand, Power Tools

Benchmarks (avg. for retailers, sales more than $10 million)

Margin Turns GMROI
29.76% 3.86 1.16%

Avg. Turns (by customer mix(*))

Pro Cons. Genl.
3.57 4.18 3.90

Avg. Turns (by number of stores)

1 2-9 10+
4.67 3.80 3.51

Avg. Margins (by customer mix(*))

Pro Cons. Genl.
31.63% 24.69% 30.14%

Avg. Margins (by number of stores)

1 2-9 10+
27.27% 30.86% 27.96%

Avg. GMROI (by customer mix(*))

Pro Cons. Genl.
1.13% 1.03% 1.18%

Avg. GMROI (by number of stores)

1 2-9 10+
1.27% 1.17% 0.98%

* Pro-oriented and consumer-oriented Giants have 70 percent or
more of sales to their respective customer groups.

Generalists sell less than 70% to any one group.

Source: BSHC
Top Products

1. Professional model 300 table saw accessory converts portable circular saw into a precision sliding compound miter saw.

2. Minibrochure features heavy-duty pro tools, including woodworking, screwdrivers, impact drivers, drills and others.

3. Fastening tools catalog details varied products in the company’s fastening center merchandiser, which features color coding for ease of matching staples with staplers.

4. SL209 torpedo level works as a level and anglefinder. The 9-inch level fits in a back pocket or toolbox.

5. Eight-page booklet includes illustrations of the company’s retractable- and fixed-blade utility knives and holsters, carpet knives, Quick-Point snap-off blade knives, and hobby and craft knives.

6. Full line of saw blades covers circular saws, saber saws and high-speed steel hole saws.

7. Dial & Select accessory set for cordless screwdrivers holds bits in a cylinder case. 32-piece set includes drill bits, screw bits, hex bits and drive sockets.

8. Komfort Grip is a cushioned grip that attaches to standard pole-handled tools. Soft and durable, the grip is designed to reduce pain and blisters.

9. Big Louie articulated ladder is designed for professional applications and comes in aluminum or fiberglass. Designed for 12 different configurations, it carries a 300-pound duty rating.

10. Sanding stick is ideal for sanding difficult areas. Plastic tool is available in three sizes and grits and is spring-activated for full 360-degree access.

You can find many infomation on my blog here.


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