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National Hardware Show Reports Rise In Attendance

The 68th annual National Hardware Show recently came to a close at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show operator has reported that attendance was up more than 16% from last year’s show.

“The National Hardware Show was a great success this year,” said Sonya Ruff Jarvis, vp/attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. “It was bigger and better than ever. Strong attendance really shows the home improvement industry is coming back, and we’ve gotten some great feedback from both attendees and exhibitors who were very happy with the show.”

The hardware show’s supporting partner Made in USA Brand represented the Made in USA Brand Certification Mark, the only certification mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for labeling and identifying products that are made or grown in the United States. Floor decals and pennants that said “Made in USA Products” also helped attendees identify exhibitors offering Made in USA products.

Energy Efficient products also had their own special section, sponsored by Polaroid and Intelligent Green Products, on the show floor. “Energy efficiency is becoming more top of mind for consumers,” said David Karpinski, vp/sales at Polaroid. “The goal of manufacturers needs to be to lower the retail cost of energy-efficient items, like LED light bulbs, so consumers will start buying.”

Seminars Focus On Technology And The Consumer

At the North American Retail Hardware Association Village Stage, Kathy Daly-Jennings, head of industry, retail practice, at Google, highlighted a slate of seminars focused on the changing consumer and how the home improvement industry can adapt to their new habits.

Daly-Jennings told attendees about consumers’ changing technology habits and shared what some retailers are already doing to reach consumers where they likely are, on their mobile devices. According to industry research, more consumers will access the Internet from mobile devices rather than a desktop computer in 2014, she said. “Consumers expect to get what they want when they want it from the best available screen nearby,” she added.

In the “Virtual Last Mile” presentation, Heath Hyneman, CMO of National Builder Supply, Eric Holtzclaw, CEO of Laddering Works and Danny Davis, CEO of Proving Ground discussed what keeps consumers from taking the final steps to make a purchase online.

Hyneman said consumers are more likely to abandon their virtual shopping cart on mobile devices (91%) than their shopping cart in a brick and mortar store (1%). “‘Shopping cart’ as it pertains to mobile devices is a misnomer because some consumers don’t think of mobile shopping carts as a shopping cart— it’s more of a wish list,” Holtzclaw said. “People drop in and out of the shopping experience.”

Davis explained possible ways to decrease mobile shopper abandonment is to tap into consumers’ reasons for purchase: peer and expert recommendations.

“Brands have to have ways to communicate with people as they’re shopping on a mobile device,” Holtzclaw said. “The experience can’t be the same for every user. It needs to be customized.”

The National Hardware Show is shaping up to be bigger next year, with a renewal rate of 25,000-plus square feet more than last year, according to the show operator. The 2014 National Hardware Show will be held May 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.