Throwback Thursday: Hardware Show edition
The Aug. 28, 1978, issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the National Hardware Show as it played out in Chicago’s McCormick Place.
The man-in-the-street interviews included Richard Cantley of Utica, Mich.-based Church’s Lumber Yards; Patrick Topin, of Rochester, N.Y.-based Chase-Pitkin; and Dale Graham, president of Wayne, N.J.-based Circle Building Supply.
Included in the article were paraphrased comments from a young general merchandising manger for Builders Emporium (West), who was looking for a kitchen cabinet supplier, and hoping to test both knock-down kits and assembled lines in its California stores.
The general manager’s name was Jim Sinegal, who a few years later in 1983 co-founded Costco Wholesale Company, and served as CEO until his retirement in 2010.
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Learning from the Store of the Future
Las Vegas — Eugene Andreassi doesn't want anyone to be lulled into inaction.
Specifically, Benjamin Moore's VP of retail services started off his presentation here at the National Hardware Show with a quote from Bill Gates:
"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."
Benjamin Moore, which has certainly been anything but lulled as it rolls out its Store of the Future redesign, had to do a great deal of research before it sprung into action, however. In a presentation titled "Benjamin Moore's Store of the Future: Redefining the Retail Paint Store Experience," Andreassi outlined these findings.
Here are a few key points:
- This is a no-brainer to independent retailers who champion customer service, but a Deloitte study found that conversion rates increased by as much as 9% when customers were assisted by highly knowledgeable store associates with strong interpersonal skills. In this sense, people still matter — even though we're talking about design.
- Don't let your customer get frustrated. Time spent searching has a negative effect on experience and can damage the customer's opinion of the store — and make them less likely to add to their basket.
- Forget about decor. Your merchandise should be the decor. Think about how you can showcase your products with purpose.
- Use lighting to draw attention to specific products: underlighting; backlighting; spotlighting. "Human beings are not unlike moths," he said. "We're all drawn to the flame."
- Minimalism is where merchandising is heading. In this sense, the key is to make the merchandising component almost skeletal. Remove anything that interferes with the image of the product.
- Consider how you can hit an emotional chord with your customers. What do people love to watch? Your store is the theatre, and you deliver the performance.
- Visibility into the store is critical. Make sure your windows aren't blocked, because people love to see inside.
- How peaceful is your entryway? Customers shouldn't feel stressed as soon as they enter your store.
- Consider how you can show (as well and tell) with your products.
- A concept store can significantly improve the shopper experience (as in: they'll spend 18% more time selecting color in-store).
- Don't make someone stand on their toes to grab a paint chip. Customers should be physically comfortable.
Ames quest: great outdoor spaces
Las Vegas — In a room stocked with new products — including super-strong brooms and durable snow pushers — Camp Hill, Pa.-based Ames Cos. launched a nationwide contest in search of America's great outdoor spaces.
Unveiled here at the National Hardware Show, the "My Epic Outside" contest will award two winners a new set of lawn and garden tools and planters from Ames, Jackson Professional Tools, Razor-Back Professional Tools, Southern Patio, True Temper and UnionTools, all of which are brands in the Ames family.
To win, contestants need to upload the photo of their creative outdoor space built using Ames tools to the contest website. The contest runs through June 9.
VP of marketing Stacie Pacheo pointed to some of the epic projects that have been built over the years, and centuries, with Ames tools — the B&O railroad, the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. botanical gardens.
"Ames is proud to make tools that have helped homeowners and professionals alike create some of America's greatest outdoor spaces, and we want to see them," she said.
Also at the show, the company unveiled new and improved tools, including the Supersocket brooms from Razor-Back, coming in December. The brooms are reinforced with a 7.5-inch heavy duty steel brace, allowing the company to claim a 50% strength boost (MSRP $45).
Coming in October, True Temper's Break-Resistant Blade Shovel will bring strength to the snow-shoveling category. The entire blade is a durable polycarbonate material (MSRP of $30).