My local Home Depot store recently set up a large and well-laid-out display of Ryobi rotary tools and universally-compatible rotary tool accessories.
This is not a promotional display, but a revamp of my most-frequented Home Depot store’s permanent rotary tools and accessories section, which was previously dominated by Dremel.
Dremel still has a strong presence at my store, but Ryobi’s highly visible setup is definitely going to attract a lot of attention from customers.
My local Home Depot store clearanced out select Dremel rotary tool accessory SKUs back in March, shortly after Ryobi announced a new 18V brushless rotary tool, a new 12V rotary tool, and a rotary tool hobby station.
This was an interesting development, and I snapped a quick photo in case this wasn’t merely coincidental.
A couple of weeks later, Ryobi rotary tool accessory sets appeared in stores.
Home Depot stores offer quite few different types of Ryobi power tool accessories, and – to be frank – I consider them to be lower-priced budget-friendly options.
For example, if I want a basic router set to experiment with or just to have for whatever might come up unexpectedly, Ryobi is fine. If I need a particular style and size of router bit, I buy a brand-name bit. Ryobi usually isn’t even an option; searching Home Depot’s website, it looks like Ryobi doesn’t even sell individual router bits, they only have assortments.
I assumed the same would be true with Ryobi’s rotary tool accessories, and that they were just bringing a couple of assortment sets to Home Depot stores. I was wrong.
The new Ryobi rotary tools display has a selection of their 18V cordless models, including the brushless rotary tool they launched earlier this year.
On the right, the display features one of Ryobi’s corded rotary tools, their new 12V rotary tool, and a selection of new Ryobi USB Lithium cordless hobby tools.
New Ryobi rotary tool accessory sets are positioned on pegs above a rotary tool selection guide.
There is also a more expansive selection of individual Ryobi rotary tool accessory SKUs than I had anticipated.
Ryobi also has a selection chart for their “Universal Fitment” accessories, which are advertised as being compatible with all rotary tools.
Looking at the full display once more, there’s a little bit of empty space – is this for room to grow?
Why is this Significant?
One thing I have learned over the years is that that retail store displays can play a big part in a product’s success.
Highly visible products can still sell poorly, but can products sell well without high visibility? Visibility is instrumental to a product or product line’s success, especially when it comes to brick and mortar retail store placement.
In retail stores, products that don’t sell well enough are often removed to clear space for products that might sell better.
Ryobi’s new rotary tools and accessories display is definitely highly visible, and customers are going to take notice.
One thing’s for certain – I’m sure the folks over at Dremel have taken notice. Dremel has been unrivaled as the top consumer rotary tool and accessory brand for a very long time. With Home Depot presumably bringing Ryobi’s sizable rotary tool display to many, most, or maybe even all stores nationwide, this could pose a serious threat to Dremel’s previously undisputed position as industry leader.
There was a time when I considered Craftsman as number two in the rotary tool space, years before Sears faltered and eventually sold the brand to Stanley Black & Decker, but all of those tools and accessories were made for them by Dremel.
Ryobi’s investment in the hobbyist tool space is not surprising, but I cannot say that I could ever have imagined they would give this much attention to rotary tools and accessories.
From the looks of things, Ryobi has big plans, and they’ve got to be aiming to take a bite out of Dremel’s market share. Everyone wins when there’s healthy competition like this.