How does an independent retail store survive in the time of Amazon.com?

“Be true to your roots and know your strengths,” said Andrew Northrop [contributor page], President of Spokane Hardware Supply.

Host Scott Sidway sat down with the Washington-based hardware supply retailer, who has ventured into housing their own retail e-commerce as a way to serve their customers better in this episode of Element Sessions, an Element Designs podcast.

“We realize an online presence can help drive local traffic in the area and bring people into the store,” Northrop said. “People still want to touch and feel hardware.”

Spokane Hardware considered putting their products on Amazon so that customers could take advantage of the behemoth’s reach and shipping speed capabilities.

“But I see Amazon Basics products being launched every day. Cabinet hardware and functional door locks for insanely low price points,” Northrop said. “At the end of the day, that doesn’t do anybody in the distribution channel any good. There’s still room to invest in quality products.”

Northrop admits it’s difficult to represent a product well online.

“We do everything we can to properly represent the products and our vendors’ visions, but it’s a tough deal,” he said. “So we shoot video, have content, and product descriptions. And it’s not just putting a picture on our website and expecting people to buy it. It’s trying to give them more content, more understanding of the product before they’re ready to make a purchase.”

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