Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

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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I t was the summer of 1977 when my dad brought home the box. I remember him having us all come together in the family room to learn about the strange package he had tucked under his arm. This surprise was pretty special. Inside this colorful package was a marvel of modern technology. It was just a little bit larger than a shoe box and was made from black plastic accented with faux-wood grain, with two knobs jutting out from the top. Just a few turns of the screwdriver later and my family had stepped into a new age of home entertainment—we were playing Pong. This was probably the first time I remember technology really impacting my life. Five or six years later, I remember another milestone in my awareness of technology. My friend and I just learned one of our local banks was getting some sort of new machine that would allow you to deposit or withdraw money when the bank was closed. It was called an Automatic Teller Machine, and we were highly skeptical. How was this safe? Anyone could just pry open the box and abscond with the cash inside. It would never work. Flash forward to today. The phone sitting on my desk has more computing power than every Pong machine ever made. I can transfer money anywhere in the world with one push of a button. I have a camera, video recorder, GPS, translator, music player, calculator and 10,000 other functions all contained in a device roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. And we are nowhere near "done" when it comes to our technological journey. The rapid emergence of sophisticated technology has impacted every aspect of our lives. We communicate differently, entertain ourselves differently and yes, we shop differently. In this issue of Hardware Retailing, we have several articles that focus on the use of technology and both the positives and negatives that accompany it. As you read these articles, it's important to keep one thing top of mind: Technological innovation is here to stay, and its impact will continue to affect every one of us. I say this because I often hear people lament about the negative impact technology has on our lives. "No one ever talks anymore." "We are constantly inundated with information." "Kids don't know what a library is used for." While all these things may have some basis in truth, society has changed and there is no going back. We are through the looking glass with technology and even the crustiest codgers among us have to realize you can't turn back time. This is especially true when you are considering technology and the role it needs to play in your business. You might personally choose to eschew the use of a smart phone or still insist on relying on paper maps, but your customers expect more from your business. They expect a website, easy access to information, quick checkout, loyalty programs, a searchable database of products, price checking and more. So whether or not you are ready to embrace the plugged-in world we live in, your customers are and your competitors are. If you want to succeed today, you just can't be playing Pong in a Pokémon-Go world! Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org We're Living in a Pokémon Go World Taking Care of Business HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2016 10 " You might personally choose to eschew the use of a smartphone or still insist on relying on paper maps, but your customers expect more from your business. "

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