Ace is the Place For …

You may remember the iconic jingle of \”Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks\” but did you know that Ace is the place for LED lighting?

  • According to an article in the April issue of Hardware & Building Supply \"\"Dealer, according to Brian Wiborg, VP retail development and supply, Ace intends to use LED lighting as a \”a crowbar in into the B2B market\”. They plan to do this by promoting the energy savings of LEDs.
  • Out of Ace\’s $11.6 billion in retail sales, $2 billion is B2B transactions, about 17% of sales, and they want to grow this to $4 billion by 2020 to 25% of sales.
  • Ace\’s B2B initiative is called The Supply House at Ace, which has 80,000 SKUs online.

And not only is \”Ace the place\”, but they are marketing with at least one utility.  I received the below postcard in the mail from Duke Energy. I don\’t know if Ace initiated this with Duke, if Ace is participating with a jointly funded initiative or … but …
and with the postcard was a business card that highlighted the \”counter day\” and the back side was barcoded with the recipient name / address and correlates to a prize at the store.
So, the morale … everyone is going after the traditional electrical distributor\’s business. With Ace soliciting B2B business and actively marketing LEDs, it reinforces that

  • the market is large (as we knew)
  • no one is marketing themselves as their geographic markets lighting (or LED) resource
  • distributors need to think like retailers to pursue segments of the business … and market rebates and with utilities. Distributors should think of utilities as manufacturers … how to you use \”other people\’s money\”?

As the Acuity / Cree results show, there are many segments of this business. The question that distributors need to ask themselves is whether they are content to passively receive the business that their existing customers provide to them or do they want to aggressively go after segments, or even all of it.  The key to pursuing any of the LED segments is a business strategy, talent and a marketing strategy.

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