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Where to Start With Technology

Growing up and working in the Bay Area of California, Eric Hassett has been surrounded by and interested in technology his whole life. He owns five Hassett Hardware stores in the Bay Area, each utilizing technology to make employees’ jobs more effective and provide a high level of customer service. Not every retailer is comfortable with technology or can afford the top-of-line technologies available, but here Hassett shares guidelines for how to dive into technology and get started adding tech to your operation. 

Stay in your comfort zone. Hassett says it’s important for a business owner or manager to stretch themselves and expect their employees to grow, but when it comes to technology, it’s often better to stick to what’s comfortable. 

“If a retailer isn’t comfortable with technology, they are not going to put in the effort and energy needed to make it succeed,” he says. 

Hassett recommends only bringing in the technology that makes sense for your operation. Consider your employees’ comfort levels for using the technology and whether it will actually improve your business and better serve customers. 

Eliminate pen and paper. Hassett suggests looking at areas of your operation still utilizing pen and paper methods to see if there are technologies that can make those processes easier and more efficient. 

“Anytime you are manually doing something more than two or three times a week, it can be a good indicator that maybe technology could help make the job easier,” he says. 

For example, Hassett has set up a Google Form checklist so all of his delivery drivers know what they have to do each time they drive a truck, including tasks like cleaning out the van and making sure it’s filled with gas. 

“It is important to me that we have vehicles that are safe, clean and look good and the delivery person always has the right items when they go out to the customer’s house,” he says. “Now, I have a spreadsheet so I can see who checked it and when it was checked and track those tasks to be sure our delivery fleet is up to par.”

More best practices from Hassett for rolling out new technology:

Explain the why. Anytime Hassett introduces a new technology, he explains to his employees how it will allow them to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively and how it solves a problem they face. 

Implement in phases. When possible, Hassett initiates a new technology slowly and in increments. For example, with Theatro, he started by training employees on the device, letting them get comfortable with using it and then added in tracking performance through the device later. 

Get buy-in from leadership. “If the leader of the organization hasn’t bought in and isn’t excited about the technology, it’s not going to trickle down to be the best thing ever. It’s not going to go anywhere.” 

The 2022 NHPA All-Industry Conference focused on people, products and technology. Learn more from conference speakers about how to add and utilize technology at your operation here.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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