Hardware Retailing

FEB 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 | February 2019 10 M y granddaughter turned two this month. In all regards she is pretty much like every other happy, healthy two-year old. She loves fruit snacks and Moana, and she destroys just about everything she comes in contact with. (I don't want to tell you about the things we have found under our couch cushions.) There is one other thing she does that I would guess is like most other toddlers these days. Just about every night, after she's finished her dinner and taken her bath, she wants one thing before storytime and bed—the red iPad. On one hand, it's truly amazing to see a two-year-old able to power up and whip through applications to find the videos she wants to watch or games she wants to play while I literally struggle to turn the ringer on and off on my phone. On the other hand, it is a bit startling the role technology plays in everyone's lives these days to the point where someone as young as Carter seamlessly interacts with personal electronic devices. I'm not going to spend any time debating whether the influence of technology on our lives is good, bad or somewhere in between. We could most certainly discuss that for hours. What I am going to do is point out the fact that a reliance on technology is just one of the realities we must address if we want our businesses to have any relevance in the future. In this month's issue, we take a look at the different generations and share some insights into how they shop and what role independent retailers can play in that regard. While I don't even know what Carter's generation will be called yet, I do know that technology is impacting the shopping habits of baby boomers, millennials, generation Xers and Generation Z. So what can we do about all of this? The first step is accepting it and understanding it. All too often, I talk to independent home improvement retailers who intentionally shy away from technology because they say they want to create a feeling of that "old-time store." But this view is so short-sighted. It is OK, and in many cases the right thing to do, to create an in-store environment that is built around nostalgia. That doesn't mean you can't find ways to use technology to promote your business, communicate with your customers and share your unique old-time store environment with the widest audience possible. In this issue, we also profile two different hardware operations doing truly unique things, and both are utilizing technology in different ways. First, we look at Woods Hardware in Ohio, where the owners are creating a virtual showroom for customers to browse through the entire store online. We also stop by Harry's Hardware in Vermont, where they have created The Den, a music venue, in their store. While Harry's is a pretty traditional hardware store, their website promoting their uniqueness is top-notch. These operations have fairly traditional in-store experiences, but they are both using technology to differentiate or promote their operations. They understand that technology is a tool to augment their operations, not fundamentally change them. I encourage you to read through these articles and consider whether you are truly embracing how technology can help your operation better connect with today's consumers. While you are doing that, I might just give one more check under my couch cushions. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Technical Realities Taking Care of Business " Consider whether you are truly embracing how technology can help your operation better connect with today's consumers. "

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