Knoxville-based House-Hasson Hardware just concluded its dealer market in Sevierville, Tenn., and company officials are reporting marked increases in both vendor and retailer attendance for the event.
The company is crediting the increased attendance in part to the decision to move the market to Sevierville, which is located just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We had 57 more vendors at this market than last year’s, which was held in Cincinnati, Ohio,” said Don Hasson, House-Hasson Hardware president. “On top of that, 35 were vendors here for the first time.
“We’d typically held our summer markets in large cities,” he added. “When we asked our dealers where they’d like to go this year, they picked Sevierville.”
House-Hasson, which holds three dealer markets annually, typically held its Sevierville market in October.
House-Hasson’s summer Sevierville market had 1,146 vendors displaying products dealers could buy for their stores.
Some 1,200 dealers were in attendance for the market, which began on June 19 and closed on Saturday, June 22, said Mike Woolf, House-Hasson’s vice president of sales, which was above 2012’s figure.
At the market, House-Hasson also introduced a new program for its dealers that allows them easy entry to the world of online commerce.
The distributor has constructed a “buy local” electronic tool that provides retailers with greater advertising and branding flexibility and new benefits for them and their customers.
“Historically most hardware store and lumberyard advertising has been in printed circulars,” said Hasson. “Circulars still have a place; however, we want our dealers to be ahead in their computer and smartphone-related electronic marketing.
“We’re expanding on the individual dealer’s ability to advertise and promote their stores and products in ways that strengthen their relationships with their customers.”
Ron Yatteau, House-Hasson’s director of online dealer services, is spearheading this latest addition to the company’s support for dealers. Yatteau presented a seminar for dealers on the day prior to the opening of the market, at which he explained how they can use this new electronic tool.
“We’ve gotten good at having our dealers come up high on search engine pages when customers are looking for local hardware stores,” Yatteau said. “We’ve also helped dealers create their own websites and put other tools in place for them. Now we’re embarking on the next generation.
“One of the things our customers have said they want is to make all the products on our House-Hasson website available to them on their individual websites,” Yatteau added. ““What makes our program unique is that we’re not branding the product’s name: we’re branding the dealers’ stores: it’s a hyper-local marketing approach.
“Most hardware is bought because people have a product in mind or a project to complete,” he added. “About 50 percent go online and figure out exactly what they want before they even go to the store.”
Through a dealer’s store website, a buyer will be able to order items from the House-Hasson website and pick them up at their local hardware store or lumberyard.
“Customers will be buying locally, from their neighborhood stores, not placing an online order in the classic sense,” Yatteau said. “We’ll be working from a cloud-based website and will update it frequently.”
Social media (twitter, Facebook; and other sources) can be employed in this program by individual dealers as well, Yatteau said.
“It enables the hardware store dealer to be even more prevalent, active and important in the ‘space’ where people are shopping and creates a stronger relationship for customers with that store.”