This is the first installment of a special series, presented by the National Hardware Show, exploring key trends and developments driving the growth of housewares and home goods in the home improvement retail business.
For Matt Woods, CEO of Woods Hardware, the future is now.
Woods Hardware, with five full-line hardware stores in the Cincinnati area, was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Reimagine Retail award at the National Hardware Show, a program recognizing reinventive, innovative vision and execution by independent home improvement retailers
Woods used the $100,000 Reimagine Retail prize money to begin building a 3D e-commerce experience that, when completed, would allow customers to virtually walk through the aisles of all of the Woods Hardware stores, click on an item and have it delivered the same day.
Tell us about the development of the 3D Woods Hardware store.
Matt Woods: We’re almost ready to go live with our downtown store… A lot of the challenge we’ve faced is the incredibly difficult task of marrying up our inventory to the e-commerce site. Having one store’s inventory tie in is challenging enough, but to have five simultaneous inventories give real time inventory is a very daunting task. We are working with Builder Wire, an expert in getting multiple database inventory to flow online… We’d like to launch the solution at all stores by the next National Hardware Show.
Why is this project so important to your business?
MW: We know our customers are also online. We have to focus on the convenience factors. We may not have 200,000 SKUs, but our stores have so much of what you might need, and we will be able to get it to you in a couple hours.
We want our customers to receive the same selection, full service and convenience they expect when they shop in of our stores.
How does housewares factor into the new store initiatives?
MW: Housewares is an important part of our mix, especially at our downtown store. We sell everything from single-serve coffeemakers to kitchen tools. We focus on the ‘A’ movers.
Storage is another strong category for our stores, especially in an urban area where every square inch of the home is valuable.
Our 3D store also will allow for video, and housewares is a category that lends itself to video. We will be integrating a lot of how-to content into the new site.
What’s next after the launch of the 3D online stores?
MW: I just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show, and I had a great conversation with the company developing autonomous vehicles. It’s exciting to begin exploring the possibilities of that technology to support our 3D store and delivery program.
Click here to learn more about how the National Hardware Show is connecting the homewares industry with home improvement retailers.