Hardware stores are expanding their merchandise lines beyond traditional tools and other supplies. Consumers are now able to find niche novelties and gifts, especially near the register, as a point-of-purchase sales method to drive more revenue. This can benefit indie retailers by not only being able to add on to a sale, but also to expand the brand and be known as much more than just a hardware store.
With Pinterest being the ultimate inspiration for do-it-yourself (DIY) products, consumers have been utilizing hardware stores to gather everything they need to finish their project. This is where the power of indie retailers comes in to entice these customers with other novelty items while grabbing supplies.
The hardware industry, as a whole, has seen $26 billion in revenue so far in 2019, with an annual growth of 1.1% from 2014 to 2019. Due to a deceleration in private spending on home improvements, industry revenue is expected to grow even more by the end of the year. Typical products that make up hardware include power tools and equipment, paint and sundries, and plumbing fixtures and supplies, among others.
The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) says the state of the independent home improvement industry is shaping up to have a strong year, remaining a slight step ahead of overall retail sales. In an industry report that the NRHA published in December of 2018, 71% of indie hardware retailers expect their sales to increase moderately from 2018 to 2021.
Success Through Unique Inventory
Jacob Bruun-Jensen, one of Deloitte’s Retail Volatility Index members, said the hardware retail market is emblematic of the new retail volatility. “These smaller players have found a niche and have been very successful in competing against the big national chains. It’s tied to this phenomenon of consumers seeking out local products or services and being willing to pay for that advice and that experience.” With the right confidence in the hardware industry, smaller retailers can look at other products to keep their customers interested besides the typical power tools and equipment.
Rex Hardware in Canton, New York, has built a reputation for having several categories in their hardware store. Clothing and footwear have become major categories for the retailer, but they also offer electronics and pet products. The trick with this offering is to have good quality products to build up that reputation, which can be difficult, especially when seeking out new suppliers. Make sure to show your customers what they are missing since they may not know of the product’s brand.
If you need time to build different categories in your hardware store, start off small with some POP products at the register. These items can include anything from lip balm and candy to small handheld games and tech gadgets. Checkout is the last chance to grab the customer’s attention and add to the sale, and once you start to see a trend in the merchandise bought, you can start working those categories into your sales floor.