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Homebuyer Preferences, Technology Themes Discussed at NRHA All-Industry Conference

Today’s educational lineup on the NRHA Village Stage continued with the theme of consumer trends in home buying and honoring some of the top independent retailers in the industry.

At the “Who’s Buying Houses” panel discussion, Hardware Retailing Managing Editor Jaime Koch moderated as a consumer panel featuring different types of homebuyers talked about their preferences and experiences in shopping for home
improvement items.

Panelists included homeowner and investor Hillary Steinberg, renter and decorator Christi Tasker and homeowners Andrea Whiteman and Danny Vegas. All panelists stressed they were looking for a lifestyle when making a home purchase and noted how much they value customer engagement at the retail level.

“A lot of retailers, wholesalers and distributors still have a traditional view of who’s buying homes today, but the idea of the traditional homebuyer is changing,” Koch says. “Homeowners are very dynamic and very different in today’s environment—they’re flippers, investors and family members purchasing together.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, 16 percent of homebuyers were single females, who value an inviting store atmosphere and retailer proactivity in informing them about what’s going on in the home improvement industry.

In the “Millennial Homebuying Preferences” keynote presentation, Jill Waage, editorial director for home content for Better Homes and Gardens, says millennials are coming to market armed with knowledge and a sense of personal style aesthetic, but they still need retailers to give them guidance through the process.

Additionally, Waage noted millennials’ creative urgency is what sets them apart from other generations. They are also tech-savvy and ready to purchase when they’ve made up their minds on projects: According to a 2013 Gfk Roper study, 74 percent of millennials who use apps and 68 percent who use social networks to get ideas about home improvement plan to do home redecorating this year.

“Retailers and other members of the home improvement industry have the opportunity to collaborate on their wish list and goals,” she says. “Will you be their collaborators on their paths to purchase?”

Also on Wednesday, NRHA and Hardware Retailing magazine presented their Industry Top Gun Awards, which are presented to independent retailers who rise above the standard in terms of innovation and commitment to the industry.

This year’s Top Guns honorees included includes Brent Burger, representing Campbell’s True Value, with five retail locations throughout Maine; Joe Taylor of Taylor’s Do it Centers, with 11 retail locations throughout Virginia; and Michael Wynn, representing Sunshine Ace Hardware with six retail locations throughout Florida.
Honorees participated in a live question and answer session on the NRHA Village Stage.

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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