12 Key Takeaways from the 2022 NHPA All-Industry Conference

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The 2022 NHPA Industry Wide Conferenceco-located at National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, completed last week, offering three days of speakers and panels industry experts and top performing retailers. Attendees came away with many ideas and best practices they can implement in their own businesses, and here we share our top 12 takeaways from the conference in case you missed it.

Uncertainty still dominates our economy. According to Connor Lokar, ITR Economics, Senior Forecaster for ITR Economics, the economy is more uncertain than it has ever been. He cited global events such as the crisis in Ukraine, but said the supply chain and inflation will improve later in 2022.

“We are playing catch-up. This is the year of normalization,” he says. “That’s when the channels become clear – where what we thought was the pre-COVID normal creeps into the conversation as this year goes on. It’s a global deceleration.

Use current shopping trends to your advantage. Mark Herbek, founding partner and executive director of home improvement for Cleveland Research, spoke about the revival of the American dream and homeownership among Gen Z in the wake of the pandemic. He also said brands have never been more important and he expects to see more direct-to-consumer sales.

As a leader, tell your story. NHPA Director of Organizational Development and Consulting Kim Peffley explained how to create innovative solutions to problems in your business by leading by example and being transparent as a leader.

“Admit when you make mistakes and encourage others to be open to making mistakes too because mistakes are opportunities to learn,” she says. “And always learn yourself.”

Invest in your staff. Elliot Greenberg, president and CEO of JC Licht, which now has 50 stores in the Midwest and continues to grow, shared his growth strategy.

“We have a big growth strategy, and people ask why we want to grow so fast and so big,” Greenberg says. “The only way to recruit exceptional people is to promise them advancement, growth and a better life.”

Make your employee experience a priority. Keynote speaker Kevin Hancock, President and CEO of Hancock Lumber Company, shared how to put employees first for more loyal customers and stronger sales and discussed the social and economic benefits of starting a business employee-centric.

“Over time, ‘leaders’ have done more to restrain, direct and control the voices of others than to liberate them,” says Hancock. “The partial loss of my own voice was an invitation to lead differently in a way that empowers the voices of others and creates an employee-centric company where our employees’ workplace experience is our top priority.”

Choose a professional loyalty program that makes sense for your customers. Dave Hoglund, Vice President of Buying for Builders, was part of a panel on Professional Customer Loyalty Programs and provided insight and best practices for creating and managing a loyalty program for professional customers. He suggests giving your customers what they want because they’re more likely to participate if you offer rewards that are meaningful to them and are willing to evolve and change your program to better serve your customers.

Tailor recruiting to your company’s core values. NHPA Editor-in-Chief Melanie Moul discussed the hiring strategies retailers are using and succeeding.

“The most successful retailers in the industry run their businesses by specific core values ​​that are part of every organizational decision. From how to solve a customer’s plumbing problem to who to hire, core values ​​offer essential guidance,” says Moul. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Who do we want to work for in our company?’ People who understand the mission of the company and can demonstrate the core values ​​in everything they do.

E-commerce and commerce must be considered together. Farnsworth Group Chairman Grant Farnsworth noted that the separation between e-commerce and commerce no longer exists – almost all customers, whether professional or do-it-yourself, use online platforms to conduct research before purchasing. ‘to buy. “It’s more essential than ever that there is consistency between the digital and in-person worlds,” he says. “Entrepreneurs use more than three sources on average, switching from the manufacturing site to the supplier site before buying.”

Implement technologies that help you connect with customers. Eric Hassett, owner of Hassett Ace Hardware, talked about the technology initiatives he has implemented and how each is aimed at enabling customers to provide even better customer service.

“My philosophy is that I try to find technologies that will help employees work with customers,” Hassett says. “Our brand is first and foremost about service.”

Good customer service starts with good employee training. Rodney Bullion, director of learning and development at TAL Holdings, explains that customer service starts with thorough employee training.

“The more we grew, the more we knew that we had to engage our people and develop them quickly to be as effective as possible, because our people are our greatest asset in delivering a great customer experience,” says Bullion.

Watch out for overtaking. Jim Close, managing partner at Risk Management Services Loss Prevention, discussed the types of technologies loss prevention professionals rely on to combat shrinkage and strategies retailers can use in their own operations. He says it’s crucial to pay attention to surpluses because shortages are a big problem.

“We tend to look for things that are missing. But if you start to see a pattern of surpluses, that’s a red flag,” he says.

Be proud of your work. In the Young Retailer of the Year panel, Cory Rhynehart, minority owner of Milton Hardware & Building Supply, says he loved working in construction, but appreciates how many people he can help as a retailer.

“When I was in construction, I had a task: I could build this terrace or this house. But now, in one week, I can help 15 people to build their terrace and two people to build a house. I am personally proud and owns all these projects.

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