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NRHA Abroad: Lessons From Swedish Retailers

Even though I’m thousands of miles from the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) headquarters, I find ways to connect with the international independent home improvement industry through the association. During my month in Valencia, Spain, as part of Remote Year, I visited Byggmaterialhandlarna, the association serving the home improvement industry in Sweden.

During my time in Sweden, former retailer and president for the Swedish Hardware Heritage Association Göran Sundström showed me around several Swedish independent hardware stores, each with something unique to share.

Strong Signage at XL-BYGG

XL BYGG EntryXL-BYGG has nearly 100 store locations across Sweden that cater to professional and DIY home improvement customers. In addition to a wide range of products, XL-BYGG offers many convenient services, and they don’t hesitate to let customers know. In the front foyer of the Vasteras, Sweden, store location, one of the first things customers see is a floor-to-ceiling list of the services available at the store. Upon entering the store, customers know exactly what XL-BYGG offers that big-box retailers may not.

Does your store offer services that your customers need to know about? Use simple, clear signage to let them know.

Flinks New ProductsNew Products Display at Flinks Jarn

Flinks Jarn is a business-to-business home improvement store with five store locations throughout Sweden. The store maintains a display in the center of the salesfloor featuring the newest items so customers always know what’s new in the store. This display is a constant in the store, and customers always know to look there for current and interesting products.

Are customers missing out on what’s new in your store? Consider dedicating an endcap or easy-to-find shelf space to new products you want your customers to know about.

Kids Corner FredellsExtra Perks at Fredells Byggvaruhus

In business since 1903, Fredells is an independent retail giant that provides its customers with building materials and  construction services. Fredells knows that when customers are in the store for an extended amount of time, it’s important to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

In order to do that, the company provides a kids’ corner with games, toys and a television.

While you may not have the space to dedicate an entire room, it’s still possible to provide entertainment for youngsters. Other retailers have done things like provide coloring books and build busy boards.Restaurant Fredells

Another way Fredells takes an extra step to please customers is by offering a restaurant in the store. The restaurant allows customers to relax and grab a bite to eat after shopping and it encourages restaurant-goers to explore the store after their meals.

While opening an in-store restaurant may not be logical for all retailers, all store owners can take an extra step in making customers’ experiences more comfortable by offering snacks or beverages to customers.

Where in the World is Hilary?

NRHA staffer Hilary Welter is spending 12 months traveling with Remote Year, living, working and getting in touch with retail in different parts of the world. She’s currently working from Valencia, Spain. To see more NRHA Abroad posts from Welter, click here.

About Hilary Welter

Hilary Welter
As marketing and research coordinator, it’s Hilary’s duty to keep retailers informed about NRHA products and services and to help coordinate industry research projects. Additionally, Hilary is the voice behind NRHA’s and Hardware Retailing’s social media accounts. She appreciates a good book, spicy food, well-made horror films, craft beer and exploring new places near and far.

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