Ace Hardware Philippines faced a difficult challenge during the pandemic. Over 90 percent of its stores are located inside malls that faced occasional lockdowns, reduced operating hours, and lower customer traffic. It embarked on a multi-channel approach to continue to support shoppers’ quest for home improvement in this tough environment.
Ace Hardware was awarded the “Hardware Retailer of the Year – Philippines Award” at the Retail Asia Awards 2022 for quickly adapting to the unique challenges faced by the retail sector.
Like other retailers, Ace ramped up its online activities by revamping its website, opening flagship stores in e-commerce marketplaces, growing its Facebook following beyond one million, and partnering with online aggregators for same-day delivery.
Ace stores located in upper floors of malls secured rent-free areas for pop-ups on the ground floor to reach more customers – serving as marketing channels that drive traffic to the main stores. It also expanded B2B selling to generate extra sales independent of mall foot traffic.
Unlike most retailers who were closing stores during the pandemic, Ace Hardware continued to expand its brick-and-mortar footprint in the Philippines – adding 34 new stores in 2020-21 to be within close distance to more communities.
In May 2020, Ace Hardware Philippines rolled out its Call-N-Collect (CNC) service. It used its network of 235 stores – the largest Ace franchise chain in the world – as hubs for the service. Customers can call a designated number, place their orders, and decide whether the purchase will be picked up or delivered. The service now contributes 12 percent of total sales and generates an average transaction value six times that of normal walk-in customers.
To reinforce its “The Helpful Place” mission, Ace enrolled almost 100 percent of its staff for online training at Ace Learning Place. This equipped associates with product knowledge and skills to deliver better customer service.
Ace expanded its assortment to offer what customers wanted during the pandemic. This included
work-from-home solutions, urban gardening, pet care, sanitation and disinfection.
It has also curated its offer to address the rising demand for sustainable home products. This includes LED lights, energy-saving appliances, water-saving fixtures, lead-free paint, biodegradable items, and environment-friendly cleaning solutions.
According to Ponciano Manalo, Jr., president of Ace Hardware Philippines’ parent company SM Retail Inc., “At Ace Hardware, our brand mission is to help customers with home improvement solutions. Many customers are looking for sustainable products so we endeavor to support them with eco-friendly solutions. We believe that sustainable shopping is not only feasible but necessary.”
Ace Hardware Philippines’ efforts to flourish despite adverse two years of economic contraction and government-mandated restrictions cemented its position as a leading hardware retailer in the Philippines.
The Retail Asia Awards program recognizes major breakthroughs, innovations, and key players in the retail industry of Asia. ACE Hardware Philippines continues to innovate across its four store formats: builders depot, mall stores, community stores, and express inside department stores.
This year marks the 25th year of Ace Hardware in the Philippines. As the country returns to normalcy, it remains committed and well-poised to help Filipinos find the right home improvement solutions in the most convenient ways possible.