Total Tools Lonsdale doubles in size
Originally establishing itself as an un-bannered independent hardware store, Total Tools Lonsdale, based in South Australia, joined the Total Tools group in 2001, after fi nding it was too diffi cult to make a profi t independently. Since joining Total Tools, the store now carries the largest professional tool range in the region.
Owners, Jeremy Atkinson and Tim Ward agree that the store is a much more stable business, and has also substantially improved its profitability since joining Total Tools.
“We carry all the big brands. Th is, combined with our large retail space, ensures we have a strong off er versus our competitors. Total Tools was key in ensuring we were covered with a broader range than what we had previously stocked. Th ey were also instrumental in facilitating a larger breadth and depth of range with key suppliers.”
“I think what makes us unique in our area is that we have become much more competitive and the franchisor has also provided an array of services and support outside of our core competencies,” Jeremy said.
Total Tools Lonsdale first opened its doors in 1992 and since this time has established
itself as a key destination for tradespeople who seek professional tools. Jeremy said that this was achieved by recognising the need to expand the store’s
offer to ensure that the store is delivering on its mantra ‘every tool every trade’.
However, it seemed that the store’s original retail footprint was preventing the store from trading at its full capability. Jeremy and Tim then made the decision to relocate to a much larger premises across the road from the original store, and began trading from the new site in December 2015. The new store is 1950 square metres in size, which is over double the size
of the previous store.
“We relocated and did a complete refit program. A lot of effort has gone into the merchandising of stock in our new store. All departments are performing well since the move. In particular, we have seen strong improvement in areas such as safety, welding, storage and power tools. I think this is because we have significantly increased our offer in these areas,” he said.
“Th e new relocated store sits as a stand-alone retail space on the corner of two high profile roads in Lonsdale. Ironically, even though we are now trading in a space more than double that of our previous store, I still complain that we do not have enough space,” Jeremy said.
Nationally Total Tools is also enjoying consistent growth, according to Jeremy, who said it is not only new stores that are growing but also existing stores and stores that have relocated into a bigger footprint model. “A combination of improved marketing and expansion into new categories or increasing our offer in old ones, is driving sales,” he said.
Over 35 years’ experience
Jeremy and Tim began their partnership over 35 years ago, and the two run the
store along with three of Jeremy’s sons who also work in the business. To date, Jeremy boasts over 35 years of retail experience in the tool and hardware industry. With trade making up 80 per cent of the store’s customers, Jeremy and Tim have ensured that all of the staff at Total Tools Lonsdale have a wealth of knowledge, which tradies can draw on daily.
According to Jeremy, the Total Tools Group supports all stores through a consistent marketing plan, with either a catalogue or an event booked every month on the calendar, and this is oft en supported by digital marketing and/or radio. “We like to make a lot of noise and ensure we do not leave it to chance, so that our customers always know what is on off er behind our doors. When the customers walk through our doors, we want to ensure we are meeting and exceeding their expectations. This is what keeps them coming back,” he said. Total Tools will continue its consistent marketing plan over the next 12 months and this will be supported through most media channels as it increases its advertising coverage year on year, according to Jeremy. Further to this, we have a highly successful membership, or loyalty database, called ‘Insiders’. Th is program offers a distinct point of difference to our competitors because it offers numerous benefits to the end consumer. Our customers remain highly engaged with the program and it also allows us to communicate to our customers on what is going on in our store,” he said.
Building customer loyalty
Tradies love to shop in Total Tools, according to Jeremy, who said it really is a haven for tradies.
“Customers call our store ‘tool heaven’. We provide an environment and retail space that is just for them. They value the service, advice, knowledge and breadth and depth of what we off er. We do our best to off er personalised service and we are always questioning what it is they are
looking for. An example of this was when customers told us that our door was not always open when they wanted to shop. As a group we made the decision to open seven days a week.
Putting the customer fi rst is always top of mind.”
With Jeremy always looking on ways to improve the business, he recently asked a customer if there was anything they could do to improve their customer experience. “The customer said ‘do you think you could put some bar stools at the counter? I love it here, I am in no hurry to get home’, which is great,” Jeremy said.