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How to Be a Show Floor Explorer at the National Hardware Show®


By Melanie Moul, mmoul@nrha.org

Unfolding Opportunity

The National Hardware Show® (NHS) attracts industry members from the across the channel to hunt for new products and niches, keep an eye out for inspirations and learn new insights on how to improve their businesses.

Hardware Retailing gives you a preview of how NHS will inspire, indulge and excite attendees this year. Trek through this article and then continue on to Las Vegas May 7-9 to discover new elements at the show and to see what’s returning.

Also, learn more about the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference, which takes place in conjunction with NHS and is the spot for education at the show and is centered around independent retailers.

This year, retailers, channel supporters and some of the industry’s biggest names will take the stage to address the theme of this year’s conference, “Industry in Evolution.”

See What’s New: The Latest Highlights on the Show Floor

nhsEach spring, NHS swoops into Las Vegas and sets up one of the home improvement industry’s largest product-focused showcases. The 74th annual event returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and this year’s show brings with it limitless new ideas and opportunities.

Getting In on the Ground Floor
NHS continues to revitalize the event every year, and this year takes on a challenge that all retailers face: differentiating by being the first. Whether it’s being the first in your market to put a new product on your shelves or the first to implement a new technology to streamline your operation, there are nearly endless opportunities to find something fresh on the show floor.

“Simply stated, there are so many new and exciting things happening at NHS 2019 that buyers and retailers can’t afford to miss it,” says Rich Russo, industry vice president for NHS. “From new product categories and featured areas that address the hottest trends in the industry, to brand new interactive experiences and programs to help attendees better plan their schedule, NHS 2019 will be something the industry continues to talk about well after the show floor closes.”

New at Every Turn
Across 15 major product categories and in more than 600,000 square feet of show floor in the convention center, there will be nearly 3,000 exhibitors—and almost one-third of them are new to the show. With this diversity of products, it’s nearly impossible that you won’t find something new to set your operation apart.

“Bringing a variety of new products and new exhibitors to the show has always been a focus of the event,” Russo says. “It’s our intention that NHS appeal to home improvement operators across the industry. NHS is also committed to helping independent retailers grow their businesses. We are confident independent retailers can find new products to complement their inventory in nearly every category.”

In addition to new products, NHS also wants retailers to find the tools they need to run their businesses. This year, the Retail Service Solutions area of the show floor will feature POS vendors, unique merchandisers and other operational solutions.

See the other new highlights that will be at the show here and visit nationalhardwareshow.com for more information and to register.

Hitting the Floor

  • Be the First to See New Products
    This year, attendees on the lookout for new products will not be disappointed. The show floor will feature products that have launched within the last year, along with more than 100 manufacturers and vendors that will launch their new lines at the show.
  • Get Smart With Your Interactions
    The intersection of home improvement and technology will only continue to tighten, so NHS has made it easy this year for attendees to get up close and personal with the most talked about smart home products in the Interactive Smart Home on the show floor.
  • Choose Your Own Adventure
    A new opportunity on the show floor is the Steals & Deals program. Prior to arriving at the show, attendees can sort through a variety of offers and special deals from exhibitors. Once your enter your email address, you will receive the details on how to redeem the offer.
  • Feel the Beat With Impulse
    One great way to boost add-on sales is to have a fully stocked and diverse selection of impulse products. This section of the show floor has been newly designed to highlight tempting novelty items and to feature those items that customers need to complete their projects.

Enjoy the Favorites: Everything You Love on the Show Floor

nhsThese spots on the NHS show floor have become must-visits for seasoned attendees. The surprises and comprehensive selection make them areas you can’t afford to miss.

The Core Categories
Be sure to visit plumbing and electrical; hardware and tools; paint and accessories; homewares; and lawn, garden and outdoor living to find something unexpected to complete your lines.

The Showstoppers
The following areas are focused on specific needs that your customers may be asking from you. Review these areas to find something to suit every niche in your business.

  • Made in USA
    If your customers are often on the lookout for items that are made in the U.S., this is the place on the show floor to find them.
  • Inventors Spotlight
    This area celebrates innovation and expertise that is common throughout the industry. Explore these new ideas and congratulate the featured inventors.
  • New Product Launch
    These products haven’t even made it to market yet, so this area offers a first chance to see something you may be stocking on your shelves in the near future.
  • Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ
    If your market is into sporting events, entertaining and outdoor cooking, then this spot will give you a leg up in the category. It’s also a great spot to grab lunch, hot off the grill.
  • Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery
    You may be known in your community as the store that’s open during a natural disaster and after the storm passes. This spot on the show floor will help you build on that reputation.

With so much innovation on the show floor, there are nearly endless opportunities to highlight standout products. Join NHS and various sponsors in celebrating the ideas that make a difference in the market and are helping independent retailers differentiate their operations with unique, problem-solving products.

What’s Old Is New Again

  • Products Are Key to Reimagine Retail
    NHS is switching up its returning Reimagine Retail program, which helps make independent retailers’ big ideas become reality. In previous years, one retailer took home funds to use for a business improvement project. Find out how this year, NHS is supporting change and growth at the product level.
  • Go Small and Go Home at NHS
    Last year, NHS partnered with Operation Tiny Home to showcase trends in the small living sector. This year, Tiny Living @ NHS is a space curated for pros in the tiny living industry and will feature the products and highlight the trends that are part of the tiny living movement.
  • Take a Seat in the Backyard
    A new addition to Tailgate, Backyard & BBQ this year is The Backyard Marketplace. The area is the primary stop where you can find it all—shade, drinks, a hydration station, food, music, entertainment and featured brands with products that are leaders and are trending in the outdoor lifestyle category.
  • Satisfy Your Appetite
    To make sure you hit all the areas you want to see, NHS has made updates to its free NHS Mobile App. In addition to booth-to-booth navigation and event details, attendees can keep track of what’s trending on the show floor with the Hot Hits feature. The new NHS Leaderboard displays where the can’t-miss products are.

Industry in Evolution: Grow at the NRHA All-Industry Conference

The NRHA All-Industry Conference provides independent retailers a place to network with other operators, regardless of wholesaler.

NRHA exists to help independent home improvement retailers run better, more profitable operations. A key way the association achieves its mission is by staying aware of trends and shifts in the independent home improvement industry specifically, and in retail at large.

Over the last decade, the evolutions that have occurred in retail have compounded in ways that make running an independent operation more challenging, but also more in demand. Consumers want their products as quickly as possible, and e-commerce is a necessary component to successfully fulfill that need. At the same time, consumers are drawn to small businesses in their communities, and they want to support local operations.

The 2019 NRHA All-Industry Conference addresses these changes through its theme, “Industry in Evolution.” The conference takes place in conjunction with NHS, May 7-9, in the central lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Through guest speakers, retailer panels and discussions with other members of the channel, NRHA will take on the changes that are occurring in the industry and how independent retailers can retain—and grow—their foothold as the segment of the home improvement industry with the most buying power.

This year, the stage in the NRHA Village—the educational hub at the National Hardware Show—will feature industry experts who will share their insights about how retailers can push their operations forward to stay competitive.

Two highly anticipated presentations will touch on these changes in the industry. John Hartmann, True Value Co. president and CEO, will talk about the wholesaler’s recent shift away from the co-op model. The Farnsworth Group’s senior partner Jim Robisch will deliver the latest research on consumer communication in his presentation.

Visit nrhaconference.com for more information on speakers, panelists and other conference news.

Your Association in Action

  • Learning From Those at the Top
    Each year, NRHA recognizes Top Guns, the industry’s highest performers who are improving and growing their operations. This year’s honorees are operators of multistore businesses who are determined to take on the evolving industry. Meet them at TheRedT.com/2019-top-guns.
  • Gaining Insights Into a New Culture
    NRHA has partnered with Retail People Solutions Inc., a company founded by retail and culture expert Linda Small. Learn how Small’s Vision Process can help you rethink your organizational culture from top to bottom to improve employee morale and retention and as a result, grow your business.
  • Connecting at the Conference
    A core purpose of the NRHA All-Industry Conference is to bring all members of the channel together. The conference is a place for retailers from across the U.S. and Canada to talk about common challenges and share possible solutions that they may not be exposed to otherwise.
  • NRHA Beyond the Conference
    Keep the conversation going after the conference by staying in touch with your association. NRHA has many opportunities for you to meet other retailers and enhance your skills and knowledge, whether you’re looking for advanced training courses or want to find a peer in your market.

Let’s Get Social
Follow NRHA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be the first to know when more speakers and presentations are added to the conference lineup.

Download a PDF of this story

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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