Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | January 2019 60 "We've really looked at our kitchen area, and gadgets in particular, like we would other high-end hardware items, like power tools," Springer says. "It can be a small addition, like a waffle iron shaped like a cartoon character or a soda machine that allows customers to make customized soda flavors, that can catch a customer's interest in something they would have passed over before. Then they're exploring the store even further, and those add-on items come into play." The Secret Recipe Retailers are always seeking out industry resources to spot trends in the world of hardware, and it's no different when focusing more closely on housewares and the next big thing in the culinary world. For Teja and Springer, the most important ways to stay on top of trends is not letting housewares items become stale, and discovering how to find unique products and new ways to display them. Springer has always used co-op markets and other traditional hardware shows as her primary sources for updated hardware items, but attending niche markets tied to kitchen and gift products have been part of her strategy from the beginning, she says. This can include larger shows, such as the annual International Home and Housewares Show, and smaller regional trade shows can also be beneficial, she says. "We've always been very proactive in choosing which markets to attend. Each one has a different focus, and by changing up your market schedule, you're expanding your options and diversifying the products you carry," she says. "It keeps a business from being predictable, and when you are talking gadgets and new technology, you want to be known to have some surprises." Another manner of staying on top of culinary trends is using online competition as a resource. Teja says he explores Amazon at least once a day to see what kinds of deals are being offered and how the company is marketing different items to its customers. This can pinpoint buying trends that can be implemented directly at Kitchen Plus More, he says. Teja is looking to expand the online shopping availability at Kitchen Plus More, as well as offer free delivery to the area, but utilizing online portals is not just about mimicking their business methods. "One area that stood out in our research was a trend toward green cleaning products," Teja says. "We'd see those items being heavily marketed on 60 HARDWARE RETAILING | January 2019 Air Fryer These appliances heat a tray or basket to very high temperatures in a short amount of time while circulating air constantly. This develops a similar texture and taste to food that has been cooked in oil, but without the unhealthy results of deep frying. Vacuum Sealer Sealing food can be useful both for long-term storage and in cooking methods like sous vide cooking. Food can be placed in specially designed bags, and the vacuum sealer pumps all of the air out of the bag and forms a tight seal around the food. This prevents freezer burn and can also enhance flavor. The cooking market is always expanding with new takes on serving dishes as well as cooking tools. Explore niche markets to find the latest trend.

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