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National Hardware Show® Announces 2018 Reimagine Retail Finalists

The National Hardware Show® has announced the five finalists of its Reimagine Retail program, which awards one independent retailer with $100,000 to jump-start a business improvement plan at their operation.

This year, entrants were asked how they would use technology to streamline their operations, satisfy customers and boost sales. Retailers submitted a 250-word entry detailing how technology could improve various facets of their businesses, from inventory management systems and the checkout process to marketing initiatives, e-commerce and training programs.

“Reimagine Retail is focused on helping independent retailers continue to compete and succeed in today’s marketplace,” Rich Russo, vice president of the National Hardware Show, says. “In the age of big-box and online competition, we wanted to not only come up with a program to help fund future small business projects for a deserving winner, but also provide a platform for retailers to learn from each other. We can’t wait to announce the 2018 Reimagine Retail winner and see them take their business to new heights.”

National Hardware Show attendees will have the opportunity to meet the five 2018 Reimagine Retail finalists at the show, which runs May 8-10 in Las Vegas. On May 9, Russo and Robert Lau, winner of the 2017 Reimagine Retail program, will announce which retailer will return home with $100,000 to make their business improvement plans a reality.

Learn more about the 2018 Reimagine Retail finalists below.

The Color House in Wakefield, Rhode Island

The team at The Color House has a vision to make their rewards program stand out. The business plans to use the social media platforms where its customers spend most of their time to build its network. In addition to earning rewards for purchases, customers would also earn rewards for referrals, reviews and social media sharing. They would be able to see how close they are to their next reward, and people who engage the most would earn exclusive perks.

Just Grillin Inc. in Tampa, Florida

In its showroom, Just Grillin Inc. imagines a connected space to allow customers to see what their new living space could look like. Through tablets, mounted TVs and voice-activated smart home assistants, the company will be able to take customers on virtual tours of their proposed outdoor living renovations. In addition, Just Grillin plans to enhance its marketing and website to attract new customers to the in-store connected showroom.

La Grange Park Ace Hardware in La Grange Park, Illinois

La Grange Park Ace Hardware aims to use technology to streamline online orders and better serve customers. The store plans to install parcel lockers to facilitate the increasing number of buy online/pickup in store orders it receives. Customers can use the lockers to get their online orders and rent tools directly from La Grange Park Ace Hardware. The company also plans to install a Perfect Plant kiosk to help manage its live goods inventory.

Weeks Home Hardware in Waterdown, Ontario

The team from Weeks Home Hardware wants to use technology to track customers, install self-serve kiosks and build an e-commerce platform. Using an array of digital tools, the business seeks to understand how customers move and interact within the store. The company plans to use kiosks at the entrance of the building to give shoppers digital access to flyers and coupons. Weeks Home Hardware also wants to integrate an e-commerce platform with its inventory management system to allow customers to view and purchase items online and receive in-store pickup.

Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, Ohio

Woods Hardware wants to offer same-day delivery to customers within a 3-mile radius of each of its five stores. The business has already developed a 3D walk-through of its downtown store that links to the e-commerce website. The fully realized plan would allow customers to virtually walk through the aisles of the store, click on an item and have it delivered the same day. To implement the system, Woods Hardware needs to make significant improvements to its point-of-sale system so it can send accurate inventory data to the website in real time. The company also wants to hire a full-time information technology professional to manage the system.

About Todd Taber

Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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