LAS VEGAS— From the show’s branding to an all-new virtual reality experience, the National Hardware Show, to be held here May 8 through 10, will focus on bringing newness to the show floor while advancing its long-standing goal of connecting the retail and vendor community.
“Now, more than ever, we’re focused on ensuring every single National Hardware Show attendee comes away with something new, exciting and informative to advance their business,” said Rich Russo, vp/National Hardware Show. “We’ve updated our branding this year, but our goals haven’t changed: help retailers stay on top of trends, connect as a community and get the information and tips to help their business continue to thrive.”
To highlight the show’s renewed emphasis on connecting retail to the newness it needs to thrive in today’s market, the show has revealed a new look to the brand. The updated branding is said to communicate the show’s mission of keeping retailers in the know and ahead of the competition. “We needed to evolve as the show evolves,” Russo said. “Our logo was a long standing symbol but now it’s a symbol of strength and something that can be used within just about any category at the show.”
With a spotlight on “new,” Russo said bringing new products to the foreground of the show was a major initiative this year, and the show has advanced its efforts to connect retailers to new products.
The show’s new Smart Home Virtual Reality Experience, for example, is designed to do just that. Smart home has played a major part in the hardware, home improvement and housewares marketplace, and this year’s VR Experience is tasked with bringing retailers together with vendors offering new connected product lines.
The experience will take center stage as attendees enter the convention center, allowing retailers to get an immersive look at the future of home automation. The area will feature VR headsets that allow retailers to virtually interact with products, technology and whole-home integration solutions through educational content.
“It’s a really cool way for us to engage with our audience and for the show to become more interactive. We’re moving away from the days of static displays to bring the products to life,” said Russo.
The inventor’s spotlight has also grown to include more than 180 makers, all launching new products at the show.
“Differentiation is key in the retail market, and that’s the beauty of the maker movement,” said Russo. “Makers are trying to come up with creative ways to solve problems and make life easier, and the ability to come to the show and find things that you can’t find online or already at retail is a huge benefit.”
He noted that this year’s inventor’s spotlight is bigger than years past, and the show will continue to grow maker participation moving forward.
On the show floor, “new” signage will be utilized to call out vendors launching new products while the show’s digital efforts have also expanded in order to highlight newness.
The show’s mobile app, for example, will now allow users to sort and find companies based on new products while the show’s matchmaking program has made “new” a top criteria for matching.
Social media will also play a major role at the show. Russo noted that there are opportunities throughout the show to engage through social media including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Live events and more.
“We see the impact social media has on the community, and it’s a great opportunity for us to connect people that might not otherwise be connected,” he said. “Some brands might not have the budgeting dollars or know how to launch their own social media campaign. If we can help them by re-posting and re-tweeting content, they get the opportunity to get their products and services communicated to a bigger audience. You will see a much bigger emphasis on social this year.”