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Chic & functional: a quick look at trends driving builders' hardware.

When it comes to being successful selling builders' hardware, it is important your employees understand and embrace the category's somewhat split personality.

On one hand, builders' hardware is one of the most dynamic, fashion-forward categories found in home improvement stores, with an endless array of knobs, pulls, knockers and handles that change with consumers' fickle fashion tastes.

On the other hand, the category is home to a range of highly functional products such as doorstops, latches, locks and levers that are slower to see changes. Both sides combine to give the category a $4.6 billion sales forecast for 2017.

So how do you ensure you meet the basic functional needs of builders' hardware shoppers without missing the exciting opportunities the flashier side of the category can present? in one word: training.

Just like the dual personalities of the products within the builders' hardware category, properly training your employees to service customers in this area requires a two-pronged approach.

First, you have to make sure your employees fully understand the functional range of builders' hardware merchandise---what product performs what function and why. Much of this can be accomplished through straightforward product knowledge training (see NRHA's Basic Course in Hardware Retailing).

Second, and perhaps more challenging, is to train your employees to pay attention to the trends that affect this category. These trends range from shifts in consumers' fashion tastes to the development of new technologies. To give you a head start with this type of training, we have identified some of the major trends affecting the category.

The following builders' hardware trends were identified by market analysis group Global Industry Analysts and should help you explore your builders' hardware assortments and make sure you're positioned to sell to today's customers. Be sure to tear out the infographic and share it with employees, too.

By Jaime Koch, jkoch@nrha.org

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Author:Koch, Jaime
Publication:Hardware Retailing
Date:Nov 1, 2013
Words:309
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