Top 6 Characteristics of the Best Product Suppliers

What makes a best-in-class supplier in retailers’ eyes?

Most retailers believe that building more strategic relationships with their vendors is becoming even more important in our fragile economic environment. 

In a recent survey, retailers were asked:

In the current economic climate, what characteristics are the most important from your suppliers? (in no specific order)

1.      The ability to analyze and anticipate current & future shopper trends   

2.      Consistently high service levels that meet our expectations                      

3.      Providing the best and most competitive pricing

4.      Making sure they can fill orders quickly because they have the products in stock

5.      Rapid delivery so we have products on our shelves before we’re out of stock

6.      Becoming our strategic partner

For retailers, finding those best-in-class suppliers will go far in making sure they are rewarded with excellent sales.  Honing the ability to work collaboratively and synergistically with strategic suppliers is critical to future success.

Retailers have identified the top 6 characteristics of the best product suppliers as:

Popular items – they know what sells and anticipate future trends

Being associated with a wholesale supply company which knows and shares what sells is a big plus for those running a retail store. Having this type of information provides a powerful means of knowing exactly what will bring shoppers into your store. The best selling items represent a means of quickly turning inventory into cash – and maximizing profit.  Innovation is important, but it must be relevant and shopper-driven to drive successful customer engagement.  Retailers can no longer be confident that last year’s blockbuster product will provide sustainable revenue this year. New products are being introduced into the market at a record rate, and in a demand-driven world, the customer calls the shots. The best suppliers provide great category-wide customer insight and focus on future trends so they can stay on top of what’s selling in the marketplace.

Great customer service

Who wants to constantly feel there is no contact or follow-up from the very companies which are so important to the success of your retail store? Make sure your suppliers not only promptly return your calls, but they also take the initiative to be proactive by keeping you informed and updated about your orders. Make sure your suppliers care about your happiness with their performance and do everything to make each experience easy and pleasurable for you.

Competitive pricing

It is nice if you can find the wholesale suppliers which can always charge the lowest price. This is seldom, if ever, the case. The reality is you seek to have competitive prices on everything you buy from your primary product suppliers, with a few items being the lowest priced of all your vendor options. In some cases a few items might even be the highest priced. It is simply a matter of locating a vendor which meets all of your important selection criteria and provides competitive pricing on top of everything else.

High in-stock percentage

Successfully running a retail store requires you to have the exact products your shoppers need and want in-stock whenever they are needed. To accomplish this task you need wholesale suppliers you can depend on to reliably have those same core products in-stock most of the time. You need to know in virtually all cases you can submit an order and it will be quickly filled.

Fast delivery of products

When you are running a retail store it does no good to have a major need and then deal with suppliers which are slow to confirm, pull orders and ship them to you. Speed of order processing should be one of your top considerations as the faster your suppliers deliver, the lower the safety stock you can successfully maintain to meet shopper demands. Lower safety stock can lead to higher profit when your suppliers deliver before you are out of stock!

Becoming a strategic partner

The role of the supplier has changed. Once merely the low-cost producer of commodity products, strategic suppliers now function as critical partners that work with their retail partners to identify opportunities to leverage existing designs and components, rather than starting from scratch. Or it can mean working from existing manufacturing lines and coordinating with logistics to determine the optimal packaging, containers and routes for lowest-cost shipment. Finally, strategic suppliers are adding value by introducing new product capabilities for retailers to consider. Forward-thinking suppliers have reinvented their roles as vital participants in the retail product lifecycle, thereby becoming strategic partners to the retailer.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.

 

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HOW TO GET YOUR SALESPEOPLE TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE

Many retailers are worried about the lack of effort on the part of their salespeople.    Today, many salespeople come to work with all their problems and baggage for the day, which not only affects their ability to sell, but has a negative affect on the customers, who want to be greeted by a pleasant and happy employee.

For the retailer, salesperson productivity can be a matter of life and death for the business.  If the salespeople aren’t productive, they aren’t selling, and if they aren’t selling, the retail business is obviously going to suffer.  Here are 3 good tips to get your salespeople to wake up, get going and be more productive:

  1. Development – Show your salespeople that they need to continuously work to develop the knowledge, skills, processes and tools necessary to be an ever more efficient and effective salesperson.   Don’t expect your salespeople to learn on the job by trial and error.  At best, that is a very time consuming and costly approach.  At worst, it leads to mediocre performance, confusion and frustration on the part of the salesperson as well as the boss.  Most companies who claim to do on the job training are really making an excuse for their lack of ability to do anything better.   You need to have a structured training program for all new hires, and then, make your salespeople continuously improve themselves after that.  Generate learning opportunities for your people as they continue on with your store.  Develop specialized training to develop their “selling” skills.  They will end up feeling more confident and enjoying their job more.  Compliment them and provide them with bonuses or extra perks for sales “over and above” the norm.
  2.  Merchandise Intelligence – Encourage your sales people to really understand your merchandise.  They need to know far more than just the price.  In order to sell, they need to know how the products work, their benefits, features and anything else that is relevant to the customer.   Provide your salespeople with merchandise training and encourage them to research online.  The use of the Internet provides your salespeople with a method to actually help customers.  The more your salespeople know about your merchandise (and your competitors’ merchandise), the more they can explain to the customer and the more guidance they can provide.  Salespeople can become trusted advisors, not just salespeople.
  3. Suggestion selling, selling multiple or larger units, and “trading up” – Teach your salespeople how to engage in suggestive selling, selling multiples and trading up.  Suggestion selling is selling additional merchandise which is related to the original purchase. For example, after selling a pair of shoes, it is often appropriate to suggest a pair of socks, shoe polish, or extra laces. The suggested item normally should be lower in price and related to the original purchase.  Occasionally, unrelated items may be suggested to customers. There may be no relationship between a rake and a gallon of paint; but if the store is having an unusual close-out sale on paint at a bargain price, the salesperson might be doing the customer a service by mentioning it. For example, she might say something like this: “If you are interested in paint, our paint department is having a special close-out sale this week and offering it for one-half its original price.”

Sales may also be increased by selling more than one unit of the same product, or by selling it in larger amounts. For example, the salesperson might say, “These shrubs are $1.95 each or three for $5.” Or the same ideas can be expressed by saying, “These shrubs are $1.95 each. However, if two are purchased, you may purchase a third one for one-half its regular price.”  The salesperson should not look upon this type of selling as being high pressure, because most customers want to be informed about price differentials that can save them money.

“Trading up” refers to suggesting that the customer buy a better-quality and higher-priced item than she originally intended to purchase.  An illustration of this would be the average homeowner who is interested in purchasing a circular saw. One has roller bearings and is priced at $49.95 and the other has ball bearings and is priced at $69.95. Actually, the $49.95 saw with roller bearings is satisfactory for her because she normally uses a saw no more than 10 or 12 times a year. Moreover, the total amount of cutting time usually is only two or three hours each time she uses it. On the other hand, the roller bearing saw priced at $79.95 is designed for heavy duty use. Professional carpenters and contractors need such a saw because they use it from two to four hours every day. Thus, the price level of the product should be geared to what the prospect needs as well as what she can afford…another reason why its so important for your salespeople to spend some time talking to the customer to really find out who they are and what they are looking to accomplish with their purchase.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.

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How to Turn Shoppers into Buyers

Imagine this:  a shopper walks through your door, walks up and down the aisles several times, and then, walks out, empty-handed.  This is a retailer’s nightmare and it happens far too often!  The sale goes up in smoke and so does any chance of turning the shopper into a repeat customer.

Every sale counts.  And it’s not just the lost sales alone.   The average retailer spends too much time and money on advertising and promotions, only to convert about 20% to new customers.  The fewer shoppers you convert into buyers, the higher your acquisition cost per customer.  Most retailers need to spend more time converting shoppers into buyers – – bottom line!

Calculate your conversion rate (compare the number of store visitors to the number of actual sales), and then, you can keep an eye on that figure to see when it goes up or down.  Seeing the numbers will alert you to keep on improving your sales techniques.

Here are some sales techniques to use to turn shoppers into buyers:

1)         First and foremost, identify any bottlenecks in your sales process and make sure you fix the flaws.  Do your sales people know enough about your products?  When a customer asks them a question about a product, do they know the correct answer or can they at least find someone who does?   Do they know where everything is located in your store?  There is nothing more annoying than going to a store where you can’t find something and even the sales people don’t know where it is!

2)         Don’t let your customer get lost or become frustrated.    If you have someone wandering around asking for directions, that’s a frustrated person.  Having people waiting to see a sales person is not a great idea.   When there is no sales assistance, it’s the difference between a conversion rate of 22 percent and a conversion rate that’s a more appropriate 50 to 60 percent. For every person who’s there buying something who doesn’t need any help, there are three others who do.  Long waits at checkout are really poisonous, make sure you have enough checkout people to handle the number of buyers, or they won’t be buyers for long.

3)         Don’t let your sales people ask “Can I help you?” on the retail floor.  The customer will almost always answer “No thanks, I’m just looking” and end the conversation. Instead, tell your salespeople to ask, “Hi, have you been in our store before?” If they say no, the answer should be “Let me show you around.” If they say yes, the response should be, “Welcome back,  let me show you a couple of new things we just got in.” That way, you don’t give your customers an opportunity to say they want to be left alone.

4)         Hire sales people who demographically match the audience the store serves.  If you are a photo dealer, it’s important that all your sales associates are not 22-year old men.  Some of your customers are going to be older, more experienced photographers who won’t get the answers they need from a 22-year old associate.   It’s OK to have some in that age group, just not all.

5)         Make your sales pitch fit the customer.  It sounds simple enough, but many retailers don’t do it.  Train your sales team to ask questions so they can really find out what the customer needs.  Only then can they help the customer find something they will buy.  Have your sales team use role-playing techniques to figure out how to adapt to different customers.   In so doing, you’ll increase your conversion rates exponentially.

Remember, marketing can help bring people in the door, but you can’t win the shopping war unless you turn a high percentage of your prospects into paying customers. Give your sales team the right tools, and you’ll have a lot fewer shoppers get away.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.

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How Social Media can Improve Your Retail Sales

A recent Wall Street Journal article, entitled “Hybrid Stores, Can Shopping Be Fun Again?”  discusses an important issue facing all retailers who still operate brick & mortar stores, in addition to their online ecommerce capability.  How can they make shopping fun again?   How can they increase sales in their brick & mortar stores?  How can they drive more traffic to those retail locations?

Social Media in Retail Stores

The Social Media Revolution

The article puts forth the idea that consumers are more discerning than ever before and are expecting exciting shopping opportunities.  For the retailer, this means coming up with new ideas such as holding parties in the store (for example, a fashion store holding a fashion show and wine tasting event), offering sessions where something is being taught (for example, a hardware store demonstrating and training on the correct use of a new tool), and even combining traditional marketing with the new social media platforms (for example, setting up a booth in the retail store where customers can take pictures with their purchases and immediately upload the pictures onto their Facebook page).

Many retailers are just beginning to understand that social media platforms can indeed improve their retail sales.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites have shown how increasingly popular they’ve become, with thousands of new subscribers and/or users being added each day.   Don’t forget… these social media users are also consumers and are using these social media sites in a whole new way – changing buying behavior from a more passive approach to a much more interactive style, with thousands of consumers providing product reviews and recommendations on a daily basis.  Retailers are finding that these reviews and recommendations are sending more people to their brick & mortar stores than all the radio, TV and other forms of advertising and marketing that they have been paying dearly for over the last five years.

Retail stores need to differentiate themselves by creating a new and exciting in-store experience and by communicating directly to their target market through the social media platforms.  Consumers used to come to the store, now, the store has to come to the consumer.  Social media helps build brand awareness today more than traditional advertising can, especially because so many consumers of all types are “hanging out” on the social media platforms, talking to one another, and recommending products and services.

A few ideas to increase sales and incorporate social media are:

1)       Provide product demonstrations in the store that are then uploaded to your Facebook page or YouTube site and encourage viewers to “Come On Down!”

2)      Provide mobile experiences – A study was recently conducted and it was discovered that  seventy-three percent of smartphone users indicated they would find it useful to receive instant coupons as they pass items in stores

3)      Show streams of relevant tweets, Facebook status updates, and customer reviews, or make them easy for shoppers to find online while they are in the store

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.

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IS YOUR PROMOTION STRATEGY WORKING? 3 INNOVATIVE IDEAS TO IMPROVE RETAIL PROMOTIONS

Retail promotions are one of the most important marketing functions any hardware store and/or retailer can initiate and track.  You need to find promotional ideas that work well for your store without resorting to discounting.  Get together with your sales people, administration department or other employees in your business and brainstorm to come up with promotional ideas – you’d be surprised how many of the people who work for you have great ideas that you’ve probably never tapped into.  Here are 3 other  innovative ideas to improve your retail promotions:

 Generate a Buzz – Whenever anything noteworthy happens within your business, send a press release to the media. The idea is to grab any free coverage possible. Get involved with community events. Consider hosting classes, meetings or other networking events in your hardware/retail store. Use a unique event to generate a buzz about your business.

Advertise More – Just when you may think it’s time to cut back the marketing dollars, you should probably be advertising more. It is wise to increase marketing efforts during slower sales periods because there is more competition and fewer consumer dollars.     Penn State’s Smeal College of

Business conducted a study and found that aggressive recession advertisers increased market share 2 ½ times the average for all businesses in the post-recession!  Consider specialty publications and, most importantly, look into social media for “free” advertising.

 Cross Promote – To stand out from their competition in a crowded advertising marketplace, businesses of all types and sizes are joining forces to reach their mutual market of “customers” more efficiently. Their cross-promotions include “bundled” offerings, co-branding, coop marketing, and shared space.

Cross-promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through one another’s customer base. A hardware store might cross-promote with a rennovation contractor, plumber, sports team, restaurant, dry cleaning business – the types of stores are really endless.   Do some brainstorming on how your products can be used with their products and services and then, try these cross-promotional methods:

·         Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.

·         Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if customers buy products from you and your partner.

·         Drop one another’s flyers in shopping bags.

·         Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.

·         Use door hangers, posters, flyers, or postcards to promote special offers for one another’s products.

·         Co-produce an in-store or office event – a demonstration, celebrity appearance, free service, or lecture.

·        Exchange marketing literature with a non-competing store.  If your customers visit sporting goods stores, for example, finding your information in those stores may boost your sales.  Find a partner who is willing to exchange postcards, business cards, brochures, etc. to distribute to their customers and both of you will thrive.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of Grip on Tools.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail hardware clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your tool needs in Grip-On-Tools.

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Keep Your Customers Coming Back: Refresh Your Inventory And Offer Innovative Tools & Gadgets

True tool & gadget lovers are all types of everyday people who really enjoy using an innovative product for a wide range of reasons. The nice thing about owning tools and gadgets is that you do not have to be technically inclined nor do you need to be wealthy to be a tool and gadget lover. Tools and gadgets come in a wide variety of products and price ranges.

Some are mechanical devices, while others are consumer electronics-oriented. A unique tool or gadget can control your electronics products, improve your home theater enjoyment, make gardening tasks a bit easier, help you clean the house or polish the car, or help you fix things around the house – from the simple to the complex.

So what type of person buys tools and gadgets? There are several personalities that are more prone than others to buy tools and gadgets of all types.

1.      The convenience lover buys gadgets simply because something about the gadget leads to time savings or takes the drudgery out of a task.

2.      The true technology fanatic has to have the newest and most innovative products as soon as they hit the market. Once they are focused on a new tool, price is not an important factor. Whether is just a personal fascination with a tool, or the need to impress others, the true technology fanatic must have the latest and greatest tool on the market.

3.      An early adopter is fascinated with technology and loves to experiment with new ideas and innovations.  There are some tool collectors who just have to collect the newest tool out there, no matter what it does!

4.      The uniqueness buyer tends to like fairly rare and obscure gadgets or tools. He or she is more of a collector of one-of-a-kind products that are not easy for others to find.

5.      One of the big trends for 2011 is the Eco-Superior buyerHe or she is looking for ‘green consumption’ brands, a combination of eco-friendly yet superior functionality, superior design, and/or superior savings.

It is no longer enough to merely sell products and services – today, successful retailers engage their customers on both intellectual and emotional levels.   When adding new products or expanding product lines, keep in mind that not only should there be a demand for the item, it should also be profitable and something you enjoy selling.  Think about the different types of tool and gadget lovers and see what products you can add to your store to fulfill their demand for convenience, technology, experimenting, uniqueness or eco-friendly.

Don’t forget how important it is to refresh inventory, and introduce new products regularly  – you’ll keep your store exciting and your customers excited to see what new items you’re selling this month.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic TimesGadget Guru”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of Grip on Tools.   Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail hardware clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your tool needs in Grip-On-Tools.

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Boring Is “Out of Business”:

Six tips to build excitement in your store.

Driving foot traffic to your retail store may seem something of a lost art, but it’s more crucial to the health of your business than it has ever been.  You need to get your customers excited!  Normal is boring and boring means “out of business.”  Consumer buying behavior has changed drastically just in the past 5 years, so you can’t do what you’ve done in the past and expect to increase your sales in the future.

Here are six tips to build excitement and get your front door swinging:

1.  Make sure your Managers and Cashiers are full of excitement and smiles.  Make sure there are no negative attitudes.  We all know customers want to be treated right when they visit a retail store, but unfortunately this is not always the case.  Acknowledging and welcoming everyone who enters should be a top priority.  Your employees’ attitudes rub off on your existing & potential customers, your suppliers and all those that come into contact with your store.  So, make sure their attitude is a positive one and it will become infectious.  Your customers will rush to your store to do business with you.

2.  Change your merchandise or displays, so that customers look forward to something new everyday.  If there’s one thing that you should always keep in mind, it’s this: customers are fickle.  When a new or existing competitor adds an exciting new element to their store, your customers might be intrigued.  A great way to keep them coming back to your store is by continually updating and refreshing your displays.  You can even try moving around your existing displays and merchandise to make it appear as if you have new products.  When people return to your store, they will be greeted with new and interesting things.  In some ways, they will feel like they’ve stumbled upon an entirely new store and that feeling of discovery could translate into additional sales and referrals.

3.  Plan on holding a promotional event.  Just because your business has been up and running for a while doesn’t preclude celebrations that attract foot traffic. Any promotional event that draws attention can be effective and exciting.  Look into holding an in-store raffle or giveaway and advertise the event as widely as your budget will allow.  You could contact your good suppliers, as many should be willing to donate items, or at least discount them for you.  Connecting with a local celebrity — say, an author or sports figure — and having him or her on the premises can also bring in clientele. But, no matter what you do, make your promotions sufficiently fresh and appealing.  Promotional events have to be really exciting and different; otherwise, people just won’t come.

4.  Make your business newsworthy. Foot traffic on the day of an event is one thing; attracting business beyond that 24-hour window is something else again. That’s why it’s important to leverage media whenever possible. For instance, donating a portion of the day’s take to charity can win a flattering article in your local newspaper.  Investigate whether a radio station would be willing to broadcast live on the day of your promotional event. The key is to grab the attention of customers who can’t make it in at that particular time and that will drive foot traffic in the future.  Additionally, the more creative the event, the more likely that a newspaper will want to write about it.  

5.  Have a Sale.  Sound old fashioned?  Maybe.  Still, nothing beats the lure of something that’s less expensive for a limited amount of time. And while the idea of a sale may seem a bit blasé to some, technological advances have made sales events more potent than ever before. For example, if you maintain a database of customers, contact them via an e-mail newsletter to let them know of upcoming sales events and other promotions. To further boost foot traffic, urge them to pass along your e-mail to others. That’s not only effective but extremely cost efficient, as you’re not dropping money on mass mailings that only saturate the uninterested.

6.  Host a seminar or workshop. Boosting foot traffic doesn’t even have to involve a direct effort to sell a product or service. These days, education is every bit as important, as consumers want to know how to get the most out of what they buy. That makes in-house seminars and workshops powerful tools to build foot traffic. To illustrate: If you own a hardware store, offer free workshops on rennovation projects or what you should include in a good home tool kit. Sporting goods stores can consider a variety of events, from strength training clinics to nutrition seminars. But, no matter the actual event, publicize it to the hilt.  Promote the event via in-store signage, fliers, ads and press releases.  Home Depot does it and so does Williams-Sonoma and look at how successful they are!

The key to a successful business is to keep it fresh and new.  Customers don’t want to see the same old, same old day in and day out; if they do, they’ll find somewhere new to shop!  Keep your store from being boring and customers will come back to your store.  Don’t let your store or merchandise become boring and tedious, take a note from your competitors, keep it exciting and you’ll be well on the way to success.

If you like this information, you’ll really like this “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.

About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIPOnTools.net.  Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail hardware clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your tool needs in Grip-On-Tools.

Posted in Best Selling, Grip On, Grip On Tools, Hardware Stores, Hot Products, Retail Stores, Tools, top selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment