Although frontline workers are busy saving lives during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most people are at home with a lot of time on their hands. While self-isolating, many bored Americans are using the opportunity to tackle home improvement projects. Hardware stores are allowed to stay open while many other retail stores are closed, because they provide essential services to local communities in times of crisis. However, plenty of consumers are also hitting up hardware and home improvement stores to get through their honey-do lists, and Home Depot, Lowe’s and True Value are safely making that possible with delivery and pick-up options and by protecting their customers, employees and supplier partners.
“Our customers rely on us for urgent repairs, products and materials, and we’ve always been committed to serving them during times of crisis and natural disaster,” said Craig Menear, Home Depot Chairman, CEO and President. “I want to thank our associates and suppliers for their dedication and hard work to ensure we’re there for our communities during this challenging time.”
Lowe’s Takes Corporate Social Responsibility Seriously With Generous Support For Employees
Even prior to COVID-19, brands that lead with purpose and authentic corporate social responsibility (CSR) were favored by many consumers. The same preference will undoubtedly hold true during this crisis, when consumers may be looking to reward brands that behave admirably. Lowe’s is taking their CSR seriously during coronavirus in a number of ways. In addition to implementing social distancing procedures in their locations, Lowe’s is also committing $170 million to support its associates and communities impacted by COVID-19.
According to information on Lowe’s Open House blog, of the $170 million, “Lowe’s is dedicating $25 million to support the emerging needs of our associates, customers and communities, which includes a $10 million donation in essential protective products to do our part in helping keep medical professionals on the frontlines healthy and safe. The funds will also support Lowe’s Employee Relief Fund and offer small business relief for our Pros.” Lowe’s will provide details about the allocation of other funds as they’re dispersed.
Lowe’s has also deployed the #buildthanks hashtag across social media to highlight the DIY signs Lowe’s customers are building to thank frontline workers. Lowe’s has included several how-tos on its “ideas and inspiration” page to help customers get started with their own signs.
True Value Leverages Community Roots To Offer Support To Customers
True Value, an American hardware wholesaler with more than 4,500 independent hardware retail stores around the world, relies on its community-focused stores to spread the brand’s “locally strong” message, giving communities hope and providing the items that may be most needed during coronavirus.
“Everyone is trying to find balance in this difficult time and face the challenges with strength,” said John Hartmann, True Value Company CEO. “There is the real fear in terms of the impact on our families, neighbors and communities, combined with the need to continue to supply our communities with essential personal protective equipment, home maintenance, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, even toilet paper. In some communities, the local hardware store, like True Value, is the only place to get those essential supplies.”
True Value is using the #locallystrong hashtag on social media to promote their stores’ commitments to serving their communities. Many True Value stores like Crest Hardware in Brooklyn, NY are clarifying the guidelines for shopping on site and, although delivery times may be impacted by increased demand, True Value locations around the country are offering delivery. Additionally, the hardware wholesaler has converted part of its Cary, IL paint manufacturing facility to begin the production of hand sanitizer and cleaning products, urgently needed during the pandemic.
Home Depot Has Expanded Pick-Up And Delivery Options
Home Depot regularly updates its website with news about store changes and business updates due to COVID-19. Like many stores around the country, Home Depot is implementing social distancing guidelines and adjusting store hours and return policies to allow time for cleaning and restocking, and to limit overcrowding. In order to offer the safest way to shop, Home Depot has made curbside pickup free and has amended home delivery and in-store pickup policies, due to demand and safety concerns.
Home Depot has also donated millions of dollars in PPE to healthcare workers and expedited the shipment of goods to hospitals, healthcare providers and first responders.
During the month of March, hardware and home improvement saw a sales uptick of more than 10% over the same month last year. Consumers are still visiting hardware and home improvement retailers, out of necessity and, likely, the desire to finish some nagging projects. By prioritizing safety, community and social responsibility, hardware store brands have the opportunity to hold onto their regular customers and gain new ones.
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