It is the ever so famous story of David Vs. Goliath. Large Vs. Small. With so many small businesses shutting their doors in the wake of a pandemic many never saw coming. While the big box competitors of the retail sector had any early jump to action, Ace fix-it Hardware was not far behind. The company immediately jumped into action as news stories reported shutdowns everywhere, as a supplier of most of the products considered essential, the normal day at the local hardware stores had now changed course. The feeling in the air was one of which most had never felt and the teams at Ace fix it Hardware knew this was going to change everything. Without hesitation the teams jumped into action, moving products customers were searching to the fronts of the stores, ordering masks, cleaners, and hospital grade disinfectants like Bactrokill by the hundreds. The products hit the shelves and the products left the shelves within minutes of stocking. The Company even made local news.
Welcome to the pandemic 2020. As products became scarce, the products team at Ace fix it Hardware took charge finding new suppliers who had items in stock, filling the shelves with products as they became available. The next hurdle was creeping up on the company, the shutdowns. With the shutdowns coming quickly Ace fix it Hardware moved quickly to update their company website to fit the products customers were searching for online. Buy online pick up at store and curbside pick-up, was soon to be the new normal. With this came more hurdles to overcome. Can we handle the vast amount of people outside of the building? Do we have a process? Without further questioning the company put a plan of action into play, teams in stores quickly made their locations into “mobile hardware stores” in a few hours. The plan of action was made to receive phone orders and curbside orders until the shutdowns were over. News stations and officials made light of the fact that this would not be a permanent thing and that the economy would soon be back up and running after the curve of the virus had dissipated. With the stores running much differently than normal, and customers confined to their homes, the next big hurdle was coming.
Sold out. No stock available, warehouse shutting down temporarily. These we the words the Ace fix it hardware teams had started to become use to all too quickly. But even this did not stop the teams from pushing forward. Teams scrambled to move items in between store locations as needed and find 3M masks and Lysol Wipes that were left. Paper towels and toilet paper had become like trying to find gold in your garden. At this point the shutdowns where over and the true test was about to begin. Customers had been stuck in their homes for well over a week, they wanted to shop in the stores, not the parking lots. This was what they had been preparing for the last few weeks, Buy online pick up in store and customers physically coming into the stores at the same time. This brought more mountains to venture over. Most of the stores have 4-8 employees at most working in them, how do we make sure all the customers are taken care of and helped? Remember, “Ace is the helpful place” so there was no room to have a customer overlooked walking in the door. As customers waited outside the plastic chains to come into the stores, curbside pick-up customers in the parking lots and the online order system spitting order tickets every few seconds, managers and team members merged to create a powerful team to take this on. Big Box stores reported enormous numbers and online order increases of mind-blowing numbers as the stimulus checks arrived, and right on their tails was an 11-store company of Ace fix it Hardware. With numbers on online orders increasing to the 223% plus mark over 2019 numbers and in some months reaching higher. Ace fix it hardware had become a player in the BOPIS/ BODFS game.
With this added knowledge the team set to revamp BOPIS/BODFS to better serve the customers. Adding high tech scanners to the BOPIS fleet. Building a structured process for stores to use to make sure every customer was taken care of quickly and efficiently. Ace fix it’s ECommerce and marketing team went to work quickly updating the website and social media platforms to allow customers to know they had gotten shipments of products in that had become scarce. Teams in stores put together processes to easily find the customers’ orders, and make sure the customers where in and out the door quickly. This of course did not come with hiccups along the way and is still being improved upon as this is written.
Ace fix it hardware’s Buy online pick up in store is a quick and effortless way to get the supplies you need. Even better than that, there is no subscription to sign up for and no waiting for 2 days or more to receive in stock products. Their Buy online deliver from store makes it even easier. Not to mention, they assemble the grill you just bought before it is delivered if you request it! The program saves you time, money, and the hassle of assembly. But Ace fix it did not stop there. They have now added financing on products with Affirm. This makes shopping at Ace fix it hardware even easier. With the buy now pay later option, that Weber Grill or that Dewalt tool kit is more affordable and you can get it sooner! So, with all these changes, what is next for the company? With Ace fix it hardware constantly evolving, the sky really is the limit. But one thing is for certain. It prides itself on making shopping easy for you the customer and making sure that your experience in their stores is a great one.