Whatever Happened to the Corner Store Hardware?

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Whatever Happened to the Corner Store Hardware?

Hardware stores used to be far less commercialised than they are now. If you grew up in a typical suburban town in Australia. There used to be a local hardware store in virtually every neighbourhood. Whatever happened to the corner store hardware?

If someone needed to purchase a new tool, machine or piece of lumber, they would head on over to the local hardware store for all the building supplies they needed. These stores would basically be mom-and-pop operations. Where the business owner knew customers by name and had a friendly relationship with them.

Hardware Stores Close Their Doors

Unfortunately, local hardware stores are almost non-existent nowadays. A big reason for this. Has to do with bigger corporations and franchised hardware stores spreading to more towns and cities in the country.

These companies actually have their own brands. Which are heavily advertised and priced more affordable than ones you would find at a local store. As a result, many small business owners had no choice but to close their stores. Because they couldn’t compete with the big companies anymore.

Enter Superstores

Superstores have become the newest local hardware stores. The only difference is they are much bigger and sell a lot more products than just hardware.

Bunnings Warehouse is one of the most popular superstores in Australia. They sell everything from food to hardware and automotive supplies.

People like the convenience of going to one store to purchase all the diverse items they need. It saves them the trouble of having to separately go to a grocery store, hardware store, auto store, gardening store and so on.

That is why purchasing hardware at superstores has become such a phenomenon.

Online Retail Dominates

Big hardware chains and superstores are not the only entities making local hardware stores obsolete. Online retail giants like Amazon have now found their way to the Australian marketplace and have taken over the hardware industry there, too.

Although it is still in the early stages. People are slowly becoming more aware of Amazon and the option to purchase their hardware online. In some cases, they can get free shipping on their orders, too.

Since consumers of the modern age love convenience. Online retail stores are going to dominate as more of them become available.

Predictions

We have already seen big box stores like Bunnings Warehouse implement plans to sell online. For a long time, their strategy was to only sell their products in physical stores.

But now, they realise the demand for online shopping is increasing, and they don’t want to miss out on that market.

So, they are going to start selling products to customers both online and in stores. The neat thing is their online products will consist of 20,000 items which cannot be purchased at the company’s physical stores.

That way, people will have an incentive to shop at both types of stores.

There are still multiple generations of consumers that prefer to touch the physical hardware before they purchase it. This allows them to see what they’re purchasing before they actually spend their money.

However, this way of thinking is slowly diminishing because of the newest generation of consumers that grew up with the internet and online shopping.

They probably think the idea of going to a physical store for hardware supplies is ridiculous when you can just order them online and save time.

In another 50 years, this way of thinking will be the norm. Everyone will want to purchase their hardware online, possibly eliminating the corner hardware store forever.

Image via DaltonBusiness
David Trounce

David has a diploma in Journalism and small business management. David writes on Australian culture, education and business and live in Port Stephens, Australia.

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