Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Cole Hardware: Doing It Right

Cole Hardware, a local hardware chain that competes in San Francisco pretty seriously with Home Depot, which has a store in a city to the south, has some astounding customer retention and acquisition techniques.

I visited the store recently to get some paint for a project. An experienced contractor and building owner helped me pick out paint, select the best method of taping, gave me a quick lesson on some new advancements in painting, and recommended a primer and liquid sander.

At checkout, they:
- asked for my email address for their newsletters (bingo!)
- gave me a small key-chain-sized member card
- gave me $5 off my next visit (whether or not I have the card with me)
- gave me 2 free woven carryall bags (SF has a no-plastic-bag law)

Then, in the mail a week later, a hand-written note by someone at Cole welcoming me to their store.

Home Depot- didn’t have the brand I wanted, and, during my entire visit, as I wandering around their curtains section, paint section, and home decorating area, never once was I approached by a salesperson. Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything. Never heard from them again.

Nicely played, Cole!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
Written on Thursday, 17. July 2008 at 17:08 In the category Basics, campaigns. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

«  –  »


  1. It sounds like they have their marketing head on straight, with qualified workers, 4 gifts in exchange for an email & physical address, and the hand-written note… by the hammer of Thor, that is some great customer relationship building. As a follow up, can you post how frequently they end up sending you their newsletter or other email communications?

    Comment: Leanne Heller – 18. July 2008 @ 2:24 pm

  2. I hope your paint was a low or no-VOC paint!

    Comment: Peter – 18. July 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  3. Leanne- the clincher (sadly) is that I haven’t gotten an online newsletter since this experience- a month ago :(

    Comment: banane – 18. July 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  4. Hi,
    My Google Alerts picked up your posting. Thank you very much for your comments and noticing our efforts.
    We’ve had some glitches with our email newsletter and it is being redesigned. Hopefully we’ll be back on line again within a month or so. You should begin receiving our print version, The “Hardware Hotline” monthly around the first of each month.
    Warm regards,
    Rick Karp
    President, Cole Hardware

    Comment: Rick Karp – 21. July 2008 @ 7:26 am

Leave a comment

Recent Posts


Recent Comments


Recent Trackbacks


Follow Me

  • Add to Google

WP-Design: Vlad -- Powered by WordPress -- XHTML 1.0
© 1998 All Rights Reserved