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Hardware Retail Industry Trends Every Store Owner Should Know

Is your hardware store keeping up with the times, or have your processes gone the way of the mullet and bell-bottom jeans? 

If you want your store to succeed, you need more than just a few tools and cuts of wood on your shelves: you need to keep up with hardware retail industry trends. 

Like every industry, the hardware sector is constantly changing and evolving. Understanding these shifting market dynamics is crucial to communicating with your customers in a way that resonates and providing them with the technology, product mix, and service they expect.

But how can you identify current trends and leverage them to get the most out of your hardware store operations

In this post, we'll dive into the top hardware retail industry trends that every store owner should know. From embracing digitalization to optimizing customer experiences, we'll explore actionable insights to help you thrive in the modern market.

Why It Matters To Stay on Top of Hardware Retail Industry Trends

Before we explore our list of the hardware retail industry trends you should know this year, let’s answer a critical question: why do hardware retailers need to track industry trends? 

First and foremost, staying informed about industry trends can help you identify and seize new opportunities for growth. According to Statista, the DIY & Hardware store sector is expected to generate a staggering $660 billion in revenue

With high mortgage rates and low housing inventory, many homeowners are focusing on home improvement projects rather than moving into a new space when they want a fresh living experience. 

Related Read: Improve Your Sales With 8 Small Hardware Shop Display Ideas

In fact, over the past 12 months, 68% of homeowners started or completed home improvement projects, while 63% plan to begin one in the next year. This trend presents a significant opportunity for hardware stores to meet the growing demand for tools, materials, and expertise.

Another area of opportunity is the lawn and garden market. Statista projects that this market in the United States will grow by 2.59% between 2024 and 2028, resulting in a market volume of $147.30 billion by 2028. Keeping in touch with this trend will help you take advantage of this shift and reach the customers chasing these trends. 

You also need to stay on top of industry trends to align your store’s offerings with customer expectations. Monitor trends on:

  • Product offerings
  • Pricing
  • Customer service expectations

As an independent hardware store, you may not have the same resources as a big box retailer. However, you can differentiate yourself by leveraging your deep understanding of customer needs and delivering a personalized, high-quality shopping experience. By staying informed about industry trends, you can hit the nail on the head regarding product mix, staff knowledge, and store environment. 

With this in mind, let’s explore four hardware retail industry trends every store owner needs to know this year. 

Trend #1: Most Purchases Still Occur In Store 

Online shopping is undoubtedly on the rise across all sectors, but when we look at hardware stores, this trend isn’t quite as explosive as it is in other industries. Three out of four hardware industry purchases still occur in brick-and-mortar stores. Why is this?

When customers embark on a project, they often need to physically examine the products before purchasing. Whether they're looking for the perfect shade of paint or trying to find the right size of screws, being able to see and touch the items in person is crucial for this customer base. Plus, when questions arise during the shopping process (and they often do), having a knowledgeable staff member readily available to provide answers and guidance is invaluable.

So, what does this mean for hardware store owners

First and foremost, it means that the in-store experience should be nothing short of five-star quality. You want your customers to feel welcome and appreciated from the moment they enter your store. A clean, well-organized store layout is essential, making it easy for shoppers to find what they need without any unnecessary hassle.

You also need to ensure your store is always well-stocked with the essentials and trending home improvement items. No one wants to make a trip to the hardware store only to discover that the item they need is out of stock. Maintaining a diverse and reliable inventory will help you keep your customers happy and returning for more.

You should also pay special attention to hiring and training. Your employees are the face of your business, and their interactions with customers can make or break the shopping experience. Encourage your team to go above and beyond to assist customers, offer expert advice, and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Related Read: How To Start a Hardware Store in 8 Steps

Trend #2: Millennials Love DIY and Home Improvement Projects

As more Millennials enter the homeowner space, hardware store owners need to pay special attention to their trends and habits. The good news? Millennials offer some green grass for hardware stores.

73% of Millennials are embracing their inner handyman (or handywoman), making them the driving force behind the DIY home improvement sector. These young adults are tackling projects left and right, and as a hardware store owner, you're in the perfect position to become their go-to destination for all their DIY needs.

So, what does this mean for you? 

First things first: dive into your sales data and identify which DIY supplies are flying off the shelves. Once you've got a clear picture of what's hot, it's time to put that information to work. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Create a dedicated DIY section: Use your sales data to curate a special section in your store that showcases the most popular DIY projects and the supplies needed to complete them.
  • Segment your customers: Leverage your POS system to identify and segment your customers. Consider setting up special events for DIYers, such as workshops or product demonstrations, or offer exclusive promotions.
  • Launch a DIY newsletter: Keep your Millennial DIYers in the loop by segmenting them for a targeted email newsletter. Share helpful tips, showcase new products, and provide inspiration for their next home improvement project. 

By embracing the Millennial DIY trend and implementing these strategies, you can attract a younger, enthusiastic customer base and position your hardware store as the ultimate destination for home improvement.

Related Read: What Is Point of Sale Merchandising? (& How To Master It)

Trend #3: Hardware Basics are Consistent Top Sellers 

While it's exciting to keep up with the latest and greatest in home improvement trends, let's not forget about the bread and butter of any hardware store: the basics. 

No matter how many fancy new products hit the market, certain products will always be in high demand. We're talking about the unsung heroes of the hardware world: fasteners like nails, screws, and anchors; door knobs; and locksets.

These essential items may not be glamorous, but they're the backbone of countless projects and repairs. They're also consistent top sellers, which means they deserve some serious TLC in your store. Here's what you can do to make sure your customers can easily find and purchase these must-have items:

  • Keep these sections clearly marked and easily accessible: Your customers are busy people, and when they need a pack of screws or a new doorknob, they don't want to waste time searching high and low. Make sure your fasteners, door knobs, and locksets are prominently displayed and clearly labeled.
    Pro Tip: Consider placing them near the front of the store or in high-traffic areas to make it easy for customers to grab what they need and go.
  • Have knowledgeable team members available: While these hardware basics may seem simple, customers often have specific questions about size, material, or installation. By having friendly, informed team members readily available in these aisles, you can provide the expert guidance your customers need to make the right purchase. 

Related Read: 8 Ways To Make the Most of Your Retail POS Data

Trend #4: People Love Their Outdoor Living Spaces 

Our last hardware retail industry trend is about the value of offering supplies and tools for designing and creating outdoor living spaces. 

In the past few years, people have been turning to their backyards, creating oases right in the middle of their neighborhoods. 

From building their fire pits to tackling ambitious landscaping projects, homeowners invest serious time and money into their outdoor spaces. Lawn and garden purchases are on the rise, with people scooping up plants, mulch, and other aesthetic enhancements to create a space that's both functional and visually appealing.

Homeowners also invest in patio furniture, grills, and smokers – outdoor entertaining essentials. Modern hardware store customers want to create a space to host friends and family in style and comfort.

Related Read: 6 Garden Center Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business ASAP

So, what does this mean for you as a hardware store owner? It's time to take a good, hard look at your outdoor living product mix. Are you offering the latest and greatest in outdoor furniture, grilling equipment, and landscaping supplies? If not, it's time to step up your game.

Review your POS data to identify any slow-moving or dead stock in your outdoor living department. Don't be afraid to clear out the old to make room for the new. Then, keep a close eye on customer purchases and trends to ensure you always offer the most sought-after products.

Keeping up with the trend toward outdoor living can help bring in new customers and boost your bottom line with big-ticket purchases like grills and outdoor furniture. 

The Right POS System Helps You Take Advantage of Trends

Staying on top of emerging trends, whether it's new product lines, seasonal promotions, or shifting customer preferences, is crucial for your success. However, taking advantage of these opportunities can be challenging without the right tools.

That's where having a powerful POS system comes in. 

If you're looking for a solution that offers advanced inventory management, flexible pricing plans, customer loyalty programs, and a built-in CRM, Comcash is the perfect fit for your independent hardware shop. Our system is designed to help you streamline your operations, optimize your inventory, and provide exceptional customer experiences.

With Comcash, you'll be well-equipped to capitalize on the latest trends and grow your business. Our user-friendly interface and comprehensive features make tracking sales, managing stock levels, and building lasting relationships with your customers easy. Plus, our flexible pricing plans ensure you can get the functionality you need without breaking the bank.

Schedule a demo of Comcash today and see firsthand how our solution can help you stay ahead of the curve. 

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