Ace, Amazon Look to Opportunities in DIY Market
The approaches are different, but the goals are the same. Ace Hardware and Amazon.com are looking to grab greater share of the home improvement market.
In Ace’s case, the focus is on opening smaller, "Express" stores in locations that don’t have the space for larger formats. The stores top out at 5,000 square feet and stock more than 11,000 of Ace’s most popular items, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
"Essentially we’re providing the same top-notch brands and exceptional customer service, but just in a smaller space," said Mike Berschauer, director of retail development for Ace Hardware, in a statement.
An article on Forbes.com, suggests that Amazon’s rumored move to same-day delivery service could pose a major challenge to Home Depot, Lowe’s and others in the DIY space.
The author, Laura Heller, posits that Amazon already holds inventory and service advantages. While the DIY chains have instructive tutorials and product information online, the in-store experience, including out-of-stocks and hard to find floor staff, are weaknesses of the major chains. Amazon, on the other hand, also has useful information, but better stock positions, superior customer service and better prices even with sales tax added.
Interestingly, Ms. Heller concludes that Amazon’s gains at the expense of the big boxes could bring back the neighborhood hardware store. Interesting, that that is where Ace appears headed.
- Ace Hardware adding smaller ‘Express’ stores – Chicago Tribune
- Home Improvement Retailers Better Watch Out, Amazon Is Coming – Forbes
Discussion Questions: How big a threat does Amazon pose to the major DIY chains? Are we about to see the return of the neighborhood hardware store?