Syncretism

“The attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.”

I love learning new words.

My daughter Buck and I spend a lot of time on syncretisms. Buck is short for Buck Wheat in case you’re a new follower. My 22-year-old daughter and recent graduate of THE Ohio State University.

THE Buck!

Buck’s philosophy is simple: Fun, at all costs! And as long as its dad who is paying those costs, there is nothing to have a syncretism about!

But now college is over and there lies the problem! So, we try and reconcile her philosophy with a (slightly more realistic) philosophy which I proffer; a syncretism.

Doesn’t that sound cooler than “an argument?”

Independent paint dealers are dealing with a syncretism of their own these days.

Trends, which may have taken a decade to unfold in a more normal time, are moving at warp speed in the Covid era. I’m referring to what seem like the opposing philosophies of brick and mortar and e-commerce.

But a syncretism is a blending! Because of course, you need both!

Brick and mortar is not going anywhere. It’s the old way but it’s a good one! Buildings hold paint, paint color displays and paint experts in a centralized location and paint consumers come visit. That will continue to work!

At least for this who choose to consume in that way.

The problem is that the number of consumers who choose to shop without first checking online is shrinking.

Basically to zero, in a matter of months.

Consumers who prefer some part of the paint purchase process in your store are nice old people. I know. I’m one of them! But every other consumer in the country right now is looking to their phones And thinking about paint and Uber at the same time and asking “Hey Siri, where can I buy Benjamin Moore paint?”

Those who prefer to shop in brick and mortar will continue to do that. Right after Siri answers that question!

Or Google!


But they will do more than look you up, they will expect you to engage them there. They’ll order paint when they want from whoever is offering that service! Consumers don’t care about the clock. They’re not going to buy from you over the phone before you close at five, just because you want them to. They don’t even want to call you!


THUMBS!!!!!!!!!!


They‘ll tell you where to bring it by pushing a button or they will never even notice you. The algorithm by the way, does not give a shit if you’re online or not. It’s just giving the facts as it knows them. Whether you like this or not: the definition (now!) of “Who’s the best paint store in town?” Will be determined in Mountain View, CA!



This change in consumer behavior is a crisis for independent dealers and the manufacturers who support this channel; due to a general lack of e-commerce giants among our ranks. On July 9, Benjamin Moore sent their dealers worldwide an email expressing their concerns for their retailers who lack a robust web site and e-commerce.

In that email, Benjamin Moore stated that “researchers expect online paint sales to double.” But with most independent retailers currently lacking any online presence, if that segment doubles….it will do it without benefiting independent paint retailers or Benjamin Moore!

THE independent channel will cede that new business and the market share it represents, to the national chains.


it won’t come back; ever.

Benjamin Moore knows that dealers today must blend their old “brick and mortar only” philosophies with philosophies which accept the immutable fact that paint is now sold online!

A syncretism!

In their email, Benjamin Moore did more than just announce that e-commerce was expected to double, they shared their response to those facts:

Effective immediately, Benjamin Moore will allow dealers to use co-op advertising money to build e-commerce platforms to address this crisis!

By making this policy change, Benjamin Moore makes over $20,000,000 available to help their dealers manage the costs of installing these new systems.

TWENTY MILLION!

No need to work on your putting game Dan if you keep hitting holes-in one!

Dan, is Benjamin Moore CEO Dan Calkins!

I appreciate his bold attempt to close the gap between independent retailers, who until now have not engaged in e-commerce in numbers, and the current online dominance of the national chains.

Yes; the national chains and big boxes are already in e-commerce. But with a robust web site and e-commerce solution supported by LOCAL social media, independent retailers will have a distinct advantage reaching consumers. The national e-commerce platforms cannot dominate the local social media scene the way an independent retailer in town can. It is that social media presence which will drive business to your stores.

Both your online or brick and mortar.

You read that right: e-commerce and social media give locally owned independent retailers an advantage over national competitors!

Engaging in social media in your market with your painters, designers, consumers and community will be your marketing going forward.

Only it’s marketing on steroids!

The types of web sites which integrate robust e-commerce platforms, blogging, customer inspiration and consumer feedback are expensive. But that’s exactly what you need and that’s why Dan Calkins is putting up so much of Warren Buffet’s money to build these platforms nationwide.

Dealers should reward Dan’s bold action by giving him exactly what he wants right now:

Go spend his money on a robust website and e-commerce platform!