Electronic commerce = electronic costs.
“I know it’s only $5, but all I have is my Interac card. Do you mind if I use that?” a customer asked.
Rob Benson smiled outwardly, but winced inwardly. He was glad the customer had come to his store, but given the fees he paid every time he swiped a customer’s cash card, he found himself wondering: Was there anything he could do to protect the bottom line?
Mr. Benson is a third-generation hardware retailer in Winnipeg. He took over his family’s hardware store, Corydon Hardware, two years ago on the occasion of his father’s passing. He had grown up in the store and knew the nuts-and-bolts of the business cold. He prided himself on the store’s continuing prosperity in a retail world that had largely gone big box. However, while Home Depot and Rona increasingly dominated the do-it-yourself market, Corydon Hardware had found a niche that allowed it to coexist with the big guys.
Mr. Benson and his father had carefully defined and redefined their product and service niche. The store now carried a selected array of hardware, tools, lawn and garden supplies and housewares. It also offered customers a range of specialty services, including screen and window repair, and lamp and vacuum repair. This combination of slightly out-of-the-ordinary smaller ticket items and personalized services provided the store with a distinctive and enduring raison d’etre.