Pelland Blog

A Quick and Brilliant Social Marketing Campaign from Ace Hardware

March 15th, 2013

Yesterday on Facebook, I was presented with a link to a brilliant promotion from Ace Hardware. They call it Free Paint Saturday, and it encourages you to print a coupon for a free quart of Clark+Kensington paint. The coupon can only be redeemed at a local participating Ace Hardware store on Saturday, March 16th. It appears that the offer was also promoted on the Ace Hardware website and in its weekly circular. Here is the original Facebook post:

Note that within 10 hours of the original post, the offer had gotten 378 likes and – more importantly – 688 shares. No doubt, there were many more people who simply proceeded to download the coupon. The intermediate step took users to a Facebook App, shown below, that explained more about the line of paints and the services available through the local Ace Hardware store. It also included a link to print the actual coupon. This app had generated 309 original comments at the time of this post.

Finally, clicking on the link allowed users to print the coupon, shown below.

Okay, why do I say this is brilliant? Let me count the ways:

  1. Saturday is the highest traffic day in the hardware industry. By offering a limited supply of the free offer per store, customers are encouraged to arrive early, getting sales records off to an early start.
  2. Each store has an average availability of 40 quarts. How many things can be covered with a single quart of flat enamel paint? I believe that flat enamel paints are most typically used on interior walls and ceilings, where a single quart is going to provide very limited coverage. Chances are that customers will purchase additional paint (probably gallons) to go with the free quart.
  3. The offer presents a perfect opportunity to introduce a new product line or to attract customers who might otherwise not think of Ace Hardware as a paint store.
  4. No purchase is necessary; however, most people, once they have entered a store, are unlikely to leave without making a purchase. People who have gotten something for free are even less likely to leave without making a purchase.
  5. Each quart of paint probably costs Ace Hardware a maximum of $5.00. With participation on the part of the paint manufacturer, their cost is probably less than half of that. I cannot find statistics for the average consumer transaction per hardware store visit; however, this customer acquisition cost is extremely low.

Clearly, this is an example of how profitable it can be for a business to give products or services away, particularly when the reach of the promotion is dramatically extended through the social media. Can you think of ways that this same concept could work for the benefit of your business?

This post was written by Peter Pelland

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