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3 Retail Takeaways From the HIRI 2018 Insights Conference

At September’s HIRI 2018 Insights Conference, presented by the Home Improvement Research Institute, an informative lineup of speakers detailed economic trends and consumer preferences shaping the home improvement industry. Hardware Retailing gathered information from some of the presentations to deliver retail takeaways you can use to satisfy customers and attract new business. For more about the HIRI Insights Conference, visit hiri.org.

Takeaway 1: Homeowners Are Staying Put
Mark Boud, chief economist for Metrostudy, reported that the nation’s low housing supply is motivating many homeowners to invest in home renovations instead of buying new properties. He cited data from the U.S. Department of Commerce that revealed the number of housing starts has risen since the Great Recession, but still has not reached pre-recession levels.

What You Can Do: Cater to renovating homeowners by advertising simple DIY projects, like painting, they can undertake to boost their property value. Explain the benefits of new smart home technology to help homes run safer and more efficiently.

Takeaway 2: Homeowners Want Your Expertise
Zach Williams, founder of Venveo, which helps building material manufacturers boost online sales, discussed the ways retailers can mimic Amazon’s success. He explained that companies that were once industry titans, like movie rental company Blockbuster, were toppled when startups like Netflix found ways to be closer to customers.

What You Can Do: Get personal with shoppers by adding a chat feature to your website to answer questions. Share expertise through videos, blog posts and photo galleries to inspire customers and position your business as a knowledgeable resource.

Takeaway 3: Homeowners Have Some Regrets
Leslie Gillock, vice president and director of insights for marketing communications company Wray Ward, and Brenda Bryan, executive director of the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence, shared that one-third of consumers who remodeled their kitchens in the past year would spend more money if they could do it again. Their data show homeowners who would spend more generally have a household income of at least $100,000 and have one child or more.

What You Can Do: When working with homeowners, take full stock of their project and help them prioritize the features that are most important to them. Common regrets included cutting back on budget and not adding storage space, so be sure to explain the importance of investing in quality materials and planning for their family’s future.

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