FROM THE SECRETARY GENERAL
How We Benefit from IHA
As CEO of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), and an active member of the IHA, I’d like to share with you an example of how our association directly benefits from being a member of IHA.
In August several members of our organization had the distinct pleasure of being invited to visit a week-long retail management school run by the British Independent Retail Association (bira), a fellow IHA member. Their school, the Oxford Summer School, has been in operation for more than eighty years at Keble College, an Oxford University college. More than 200 of the best of England’s young retailers vie for an opportunity to attend this challenging and life-changing week.
At NRHA we have been developing our own retail management school over the last few years. During our annual IHA member meetings I have had numerous discussions with Alan Hawkins, bira’s CEO, about how they conduct their school, gaining great insight into how we could design ours, taking many great ideas from their years of experience. Alan was also kind enough to encourage our team to visit the Oxford Summer School, in order to observe and learn. We spent several days at the school in August, and came away amazed at the powerful, well-run program they have created. We learned so much about how we could improve our own program and came away confident that if we could emulate their program we were doing something of great value for our U.S. independent retailers.
Without our membership in IHA, we would not have had this wonderful learning opportunity. Without our membership in IHA, we would not have been able to observe and emulate this fantastic retail school. Without our membership in IHA, we would have been developing our program completely on our own.
Our IHA membership makes NRHA better. I would encourage each IHA member to find ways to use IHA in your own way. It’s a high-value organization that we are proud to support.
NRHA President and CEO
IHA Secretary General
Goran Sundstrom from the Swedish Building Material and Hardware Association provided a list of past IHA meetings, as well as past officers in the organization. As often is the case with a history that goes back more than 100 years, we have some gaps in the information. We would like to complete this history with your help. Would you take the time to review this list and, if you have any of the missing information, send it to us? We will update this list and publish it on www.ihaworldwide.com as we get new information. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your help.
Click here for a list of past meetings.
NEWS FROM CHINA
Submitted by the China National Hardware Association
China International Hardware Show
Continues to Expand
The 2013 China International Hardware Show (CIHS) will be held from Nov. 26 - 28 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai, China.
CIHS 2013 will make a huge adjustment in its strategy to keep up with its increasing size. As its scale expands to 140,000 square meters, show organizers anticipate that the number of exhibitors will increase 20%, while the number of visitors will increase 25%. In 2013, the show will include two thematic exhibitions: the China International Building Hardware Show and the China International Locks and Security Show. The show is intended to promote innovative products, advocate for environmental protection and improve all services for the exhibition.
CIHS was founded in 2001 and described as "market-oriented, technical, international and high level." It is honored as "a barometer of the China hardware market and technical development.” The show has been a part of China's hardware industry for ten years. CIHS 2012 attracted more than 50,000 visitors from 90 countries.
The 2013 China International Kitchen and Bathroom Will Attract International and Local Brands
The 2013 China International Kitchen and Bathroom show (CIKB) will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, Nov. 26 - 28, in Shanghai, China. Spanning 30,000 square meters, CIKB will host more than 420 international and local kitchen and bathroom brands from all segments of the industry, including Vatti, Haier, Sakura, Fotile, Robam, Sacon, Vanward and Macro, Bosch and German Showcase.
The show is the result of joint efforts between exhibition company Koelnmesse and the China National Hardware Association (CNHA). As China's only association serving the integrated kitchen and bathroom industry, CNHA enjoys great influence and appeal in the industry. Koelnmesse has an excellent track record for organizing some of the world’s most successful trade events, such as LivingKitchen, which is an exclusive trade fair for quality brands accompanied by a variety of events, including celebrity show cooking, presentations and workshops. Show organizers borrowed from this concept as they prepared the 2013 CIKB.
Products at CIKB will include a kitchen furnishings such as countertops, handles, baskets and slides; built-in kitchen appliances; sinks and pipe fittings; kitchen accessories and supplies, such as cookers and cookware; and bathroom furnishings, such as shower rooms, baths, toilets, urinals, water purifiers and accessories.
CIKB will also include interactive onsite activities, such as food tastings, a new product showcase and business networking.
UPCOMING IHA MEETINGS
Cologne March 2014
IHA Council members will meet during the 2014 Cologne Hardware Fair for a regular Council meeting. IHA members are also encouraged to invite their own association members to the fair and participate in a number of planned networking events. This is a great opportunity for member association staff to network with their own key members; and to meet retail colleagues from around the world. In addition, IHA members will have the opportunity to visit one of the world’s largest hardware exhibitions. Event details will be coming soon.
Paris November 2015
The French IHA member association, FFQ, has graciously agreed to host the next IHA Congress in Paris, during the Batimat hardware exhibition in November 2015. It’s early, but plan now to visit this wonderful city; visit Batimat, a leading trade fair; make new friends from around the world; and rekindle old friendships. IHA Council members will be making plans for 2015 during their meeting in Cologne. Start planning now about how your own association can take advantage of this opportunity to bring your own retail members to this exciting city and great event!
NEWS FROM THE U.K.
Submitted by the British Independent Retailers Association (bira)
Housing Market Recovery Could Boost DIY Sales
The housing market recovery is good news for DIY retailers, according to corporate health specialist Company Watch. It predicts that cost-conscious consumers are ready to start splashing out on home improvements, as they did in the USA when the housing market there picked up.
Nick Hood, of Company Watch, said, “As clear signs emerge of a surge in the housing market, there may be light at the end of the home-improvement tunnel. The major U.S. DIY chain, Home Depot, just reported stellar figures, with a 10% rise in like-for-like sales during the last three months off the back of a similar upturn in the U.S. residential market. We must all hope that what we are seeing is a sustainable housing turnaround, not a bubble.”
Mr. Hood’s comments followed news from the British Bankers’ Association that mortgage approvals to homebuyers were 31% higher compared with the same period last year and remortgaging approvals were 40% higher.
Retailers Surpass Waste Targets
Major DIY retailers including Homebase and B&Q have surpassed both waste to landfill and packaging targets as part of the Home Improvement Sector Commitment (HISC).
The voluntary agreement set a 50% target to reduce waste sent to landfill by DIY firms compared to 2007 levels of 108,908 tons and cut own-brand and direct-sourced packaging by 15% from 2007 levels of 113,627 tons.
However, last year the companies surpassed the targets and sent 14,810 tons of waste to the landfill, representing an 83% cut, and managed to reduce packaging to 74,632 tons – a 25% decrease.
Environment Minister David Heath said, “Cutting waste is not only good for the environment but can help businesses save money and boost economic growth. It’s fantastic to see DIY businesses working together to cut waste and unnecessary packaging and exceeding the challenging targets set in this agreement.”
The four year HISC was set up by the Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) to help the DIY sector cut waste and help consumers recycle more. Other companies involved in the agreement include Wickes, AkzoNobel UK Decorative Paints, Crown Paints and Henkel.
Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s chief executive, said, “The results delivered by the DIY sector are deeply impressive. I congratulate all the signatories on their achievements in what has been a testing time for the sector.”
NEWS FROM SWEDEN
Submitted by the Swedish Building Material and Hardware Association
No Upturn Yet for the Industry
The Building Material and Hardware Index for the second quarter shows a "zero growth" for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. The cumulative results for the first half, however, show an overall decrease of 4% for the whole country. Let's hope that trend during the summer and fall will be so successful that we blur the minus and in the best cases, gain a small plus.
Residential Construction Increased
in the First Half of 2013
During the first half of 2013, residential construction increased by 33%. The difference between housing starts in dwellings is great, however. Apartment buildings increased 41% compared to the same period last year.
Positive Noises in Trade
Sales should take off in the fall. Optimism felt in September has not been this high since 2010. Retail trade confidence has increased in September, according to the latest Trade Survey from Svensk Handel. One future indicator has increased by seven points, from minus two to plus five. Almost half of retailers believe that sales will increase in their own shop in the next three months. Only 16% predict a decline in sales. But there are few who believe that the number of employees in their own shop will increase over the next three months. Only 6% expect an increase in staff, while 19% believe that the number of employees will decrease.
What is Happening in the Environment and Security?
We are all aware of environmental rules and regulations that affect our industry. Some items are initiated within our country while others are a result of our membership of the EU. The Swedish association attempts in various ways to provide information about new rules, and we do this partly through our website and via the newsletter. It´s our ambition that we henceforth shall inform even more both about new environmental regulations but also on other legal news and developments affecting the industry.
The association is also cooperating with an Environmental Consultant, Per Baummann, who has many years of experience in environmental work in the retail sector, both nationally and internationally.
We would like to draw your attention to the following three issues:
- Waste management (focus on electric scrap )
- Flammable products (existing conditions and their management)
- Construction Products Regulation/CPN.
New Concepts Strengthen Nordbygg Further!
Swedish Construction Week and Sustainable Days are two new concepts at the Nordbygg Fair, launched at the fair in 2014. These will further strengthen Nordbygg's position as the leading location for business and development in the Built Environment in the Region. On www.nordbygg.se you can read more about these concepts and what they will offer exhibitors and visitors.
NEWS FROM EUROPE
Britains Spending on Home Improvements
Sainsbury Research recently reported that £5.6 billion was spent on home improvements in Britain during 2012, up an impressive 26%, so hopefully, British hardware stores benefited to some degree from those expenditures.
Online Purchase Intentions in the United Kingdom
Parcel delivery company DPD asked around 2,000 adults in the UK about their ecommerce purchases over the last year and about what they thought they would be buying online in the year ahead.
It found that in the last 12 months 63% bought books, 61% bought clothing and footwear, 54% DVDs and 43% CDs, making these the most popular online purchases.
Thirty-two percent had purchased beauty and healthcare products, 30% kitchen and home goods, 28% toys and games, 25% electrical and photographic goods, 25% garden and outdoor equipment and 23% software and games.
However, the collection of items most frequently bought online looks set to change considerably, with DIY equipment moving fast up the list.
Asked about what they would consider buying online over the coming year, the number of people who said they would purchase DIY equipment rose by 67%, putting it second on the list of the top 10 fastest-growing product categories. It was overtaken only by sporting equipment, which rose by 69%. Garden and outdoor products rose by 58% and kitchen and home goods by 44%.
The other fastest-growing categories are software and games, PCs/tablet computers, electrical and photographic, toys and games, mobile phones and beauty and healthcare.
Mobile Commerce in Europe
Mobile commerce in Europe is growing fastest in the U.K., France and Germany where consumers have already grown accustomed to shopping online, and more slowly in Italy and other southern European countries where Web shopping is less prevalent, says Forrester Research's principal analyst, Martin Gill. Forrester's first m-commerce forecast for Europe calls for sales via smartphones to grow from 1.7 billion euros in 2011 to 19.2 billion euros in 2017.
The report from Forrester Research says that impulse categories like books, music and DVDs will be the most popular. By 2017, it is projected that m-commerce sales will reach $23.49 billion or 6.8% of all sales. It said there were 7.6 million mobile buyers in Europe in 2011, but is expected to reach 79 million by 2017.
Millennials, as this age group is now being identified, are on their way to replacing Boomers as the biggest consumer group. The potential problem is that Millennials have "strikingly different" attitudes toward consumption versus Boomers. Convenience and price are of utmost importance to this group. They also are much more willing to explore different distribution models (online shopping, mobile shopping, delivery, etc.) and spread their shopping across different channels (mass merchants, clubs, drug stores, convenience stores, online, etc.)
For many retailers, printed advertising of one kind or another has been the foundation of the independent retailer's marketing efforts. In the U. S. and Canada, where independent retailers generally operate larger stores than in most other IHA countries, wholesaler-provided circulars and catalogs, together with newspaper advertising, have long been dominant.
But growing in importance the last few years has been Internet-based marketing activities, such as social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and email marketing. In 2010, the North American Retail Hardware Association discovered that more than one-third of its members were using social media and nearly 6 out of 10 stores had websites and/or were using email marketing.
Since then, obviously, the numbers have greatly increased. Today, Facebook boasts more than 1 billion participants, so regardless of how small a retailer might feel his store is, it is important to have a presence on Facebook, if not other social media as well. But there are some basic rules that need to be considered for a social media presence to be effective, according to Tara Horner, who posted these recommendations on the Internet:
- Messages need to be updated on a regular basis, at least weekly and preferably more often.
- Messages should not always be sales-oriented. They need to provide information that will be of interest to Facebook visitors. Humor is often a good idea.
- Whenever possible, one's messages should support, explain and comment upon local community activities. You can share free resources you have found, for example.
- Mention customers and their activities, supported by photos whenever possible.
- From a sales standpoint, offer certain sales, coupons, discounts ONLY on Facebook to keep visitors coming back to your Facebook page.
Some of those same recommendations apply to a retailer's web site. Too often, some retailers have a website designed and then forget about it, considering it to be nothing more than a “billboard”, rather than an interactive communication with a wide audience of web visitors. There are inexpensive, easy-to-use web programs that enable anyone capable of typing to keep web sites up to date with current information. One is Adobe's Contribute.
NEWS FROM ASIA
Asian Retailers Focus on Customer Service
According to Retail Asia, a trade magazine serving all kinds of Asian retailers, increasing attention is being given to improving customer service in order to establish ongoing, lasting relationships with consumers, rather than simply making an occasional sale. And at the heart of those efforts is an intense effort to training employees, and especially secondary store management—i.e., department managers, for example. These efforts include in-store training as well as outside seminars, etc. The magazine cited store efforts in Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore specifically as examples of different approaches being taken to improve customer service. If chain stores in those regions are improving training efforts, it means independent retailers must certainly be sure they do likewise.
More Observations About Millenials
Millennials — a.k.a. Generation Y — are famously brand loyal, but there's a catch. Rewards have to fit their unique needs and desires. Studies show that Millennials will promote brands online and share personal information for rewards, but they expect benefits in return. Nearly 80 percent will choose a brand with a rewards option over a brand without one. Forty-two percent will choose a card for long-term benefits, but 78 percent also expect to be rewarded within three months of joining a program.
Hyperconnected and intensely social, Millennials love variety and customization. They'll personalize anything from their phones to their bodies (at least 30 percent have tattoos). Since they've grown up with technology and get bored easily, Millennials are best reached through multi-channel (mostly digital) loyalty programs with simple, quick copy. More than 90 percent want to manage their credit cards, their banking and their rewards balances online.
Here's a peek into Millennials' mindset on loyalty and buying:
Loyal: Reward me quickly and make it easy.
Make it Fun: Ever on the hunt for a game.
Know Me: I'll let you in, but use my info to send me relevant information.
Researchers: Shopping is a highly orchestrated mission, and I rely on online reviews.
Money Managers: I'm anxious, but aspire to be responsible.
(As reported on the Internet by Retail Wire)
Information about Retail Competition
Retailers always need to keep track of competition, in some cases to compare prices but in other instances, to check them out for merchandising and display ideas, as well as to see what kinds of products they are selling which they themselves might want to add.
Lakeland is one of the United Kingdom's outstanding housewares merchants. An independently owned firm, it now numbers about 50 stores and plans to double its store count in the next five years. It also operates in the Middle East with stores in Dubai, Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and later this year plans to open in Saudi Arabia.
Spanish retailers will want to check out Carrefour's plans in Spain to open smaller Carrefour Express units, despite Spain's unemployment of more than 20%.
India, which has prohibited foreign retailers from setting up shop in that country, is allowing foreign interests to own wholesale units, such as Carrefour's Wholesale Cash & Carry store, although the UK's Marks & Spencer already operates in that country. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is partnering with an Indian company in its attempt to gain a foothold in India.
More About Mobile Marketing
(Some of this information can be modified by you to fit your own region.) Internet Retailer, the trade magazine serving web retailing, reports that m-commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $17.5 billion this year, up 64% from a year ago. It relates the tale of Moosejaw Mountaineering, an outdoor clothing and gear retailer with nine stores, which has outfitted its employees with web-enabled, credit-card-scanner equipped iPods which enable them to ring up sales on the sales floor and interact with customers on a personal basis. It also permits employees to search the company's website, where a broader inventory is available if the store's inventory does not meet customer needs.
A Deloitte Mobile Influence survey, reported in the magazine's August 2012 issue, says that 4.6% of sales in the home improvement/garden channel were mobile-influenced. As one might expect, electronics and appliances lead with 8.3%.
Retail consultants say retailers need to do more to counteract mobile-shopping trends and suggest greater use of QR codes on shelves and displays so, when scanned by a mobile phone, they provide product information, product reviews or even videos showing how the product should be used.
They also say retailers need to look at the mobile web as a sales-enabler, not an enemy, though that might be difficult for a lot of retailers.
Christmas in August
DIY WEEK, the UK trade magazine, tells of a UK retailer who brought in Santa Claus to his store in August to promote an August Christmas. The promotion attracted customers from several nearby towns as well as a lot of local customers.
Children saw him making toys and handing out sweets. The event received local newspaper publicity and the store's owner was even interviewed on BBC. Santa wore special Hawaiian-style clothing, plus his trademark red cap and, of course, his white beard.
It might be worth mentioning in member communications as an unusual promotional idea.
Help Member Stores Get Ready for the Holidays
Holiday sales are so important for retailers that anything our associations can do to help members will be especially important this year.
Here are some suggestions by Karen Klein, as they appeared in BusinessWeek.com recently, related to things retailers need to do to revitalize their websites in order to capture more online sales.
Holiday deals and discounts, especially free shipping offers, proved especially attractive last year. But what else can small retailers do to boost sales? First, get ready now: Hanukkah falls 11 days earlier than last year, so an early start to the season is expected. Here are 10 more things members can do before the holidays:
1. Go festive. The super-organized are already making their lists. They are getting their websites dressed up for those early birds, says Tallya Rabinovich, chief executive of ecommerce software provider IzzoNet.com. “Make some Special Holiday Offers banners or a Holiday Bestsellers section on the front page,” she advises, so customers don’t have to scour a site. Incorporating a holiday countdown clock on one's home page instills a sense of urgency.
2. Think promos. “Free” will always be a powerful word, says Mark Valva, president of Morristown (N.J.) marketing agency Revolution Digital. “Last year we worked with a small cookie company, and one of their hottest sellers was a free, decorative holiday tin,” he says. Emphasize in-store pickup saves shipping costs.
3. Make it easy. Retailers need to let their customers know how to contact them by telephone, email, online chat, in person or by mail.
4. Engage Customers. Retailers need to differentiate themselves by piquing the customers’ interest: Curiosity is a key concept in buying,” says Andrew Sobel, author of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others. What can your retailers say about their products that will intrigue customers?
5. Speed up. Websites lose 10 percent of their audience for every second it takes them to load, says Alhan Keser, chief marketing officer at Blue Fountain Media in New York. A 3-second loading time is ideal. Members should reduce image sizes, remove tracking codes, and tweak front-end coding to speed up their sites. “It’s much better to go with simple and fast than complicated and slow,” he says.
6. Go mobile. Retailers need to make sure sites are visible and functional on mobile phones and tablets.
7. Get feedback. Small retailers should also use the holiday season to measure customer satisfaction, says Sheri Petras, chief executive of business analytics company CFI Group in Ann Arbor, Mich. They should give customers an incentive to fill out feedback surveys after they’ve placed orders and ask them to opt in to one's email newsletter or customer database.
Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers entrepreneurship and small-business issues.
Using Email as a Powerful Marketing Tool
One of the easiest and least expensive ways for your members to market their stores is through email. They can send coupons and advertising straight to their customers’ inboxes, but the first task is to build that list of emails.
There are numerous firms which offer suggestions as to how to do this. www.constantcontact.com, an email service provider, includes suggestions on its web site. Firms such as Constant Contact, which operate internationally, actually will handle the mailings for retailers and at remarkably low costs. For example, a retailer can send multiple messages each month to a list of between 501 and 2,500 names for just $25 a month using Constant Contact.
Email marketing lets a retailer pick his or her own items to promote, so the content can be related to seasonal or local timing. Firms such as Constant Contact also offer easy-to-modify templates so retailers do not have to “create” their own formats. All they need do is import their store name, logo or store slogan if they have one, address and other contact information. They can choose their own color preferences as well as type choices.
Emails offer a wonderful way to supplement and support existing advertising media such as items from direct mail circulars, or co-op advertising. It is easy to include pictures of products or store displays in emails. And what better way is there to introduce new products being added to inventory? Many retailers are using email marketing to tell people about the training they provide employees to insure always offering the best advice and service.
Some retailers are now sending out weekly emails with special-offer coupon discounts. One doing that is Cole Hardware, a four-store chain in San Francisco, which features several items each week in a Friday email. Others sometimes prefer to provide editorial content that informs customers how to solve DIY problems or encourages them to undertake DIY projects.
A recent study of online couponing reported that 22.5% of all US households redeemed some coupons in 2011. The study showed coupons boosted incremental sales, influenced brand decisions, and encouraged people to spend more. Retailers who were surveyed also noted that online coupons seemed to produce more sales than traditional printed ones.
An important point to remember in using email marketing is the vital necessity of an effective subject line. It must spark the consumers' interest by telling them the purpose of the message and, at the same time, entice them to open it. Yes, even with one's own email list, an effective subject line is needed.
With many newspapers suffering from declining circulation and Yellow Pages being supplanted by the Internet, email marketing is an excellent marketing alternative that should be explored and utilized by every retailer.
The U.S.'s Direct Marketing Association estimates that in 2012 every dollar invested in email marketing will generate $39.40 in sales, a powerful argument for the use of email marketing by all retailers.
It might be a new revenue source for IHA associations to generate editorial content that could be supplied to members regularly for a modest annual or monthly fee, which they could then simply copy and paste into their email templates.
Tips to Enhance Social Media
In many countries, retailers are participating in the social media scene by appearing on Facebook, Twitter or some of the other smaller social media sites. Too few, however, are taking full advantage of these marketing opportunities.
Here are some tips, which you might want to include in membership communications:
- Use smartphones or digital cameras to record new products added to inventory.
- Show them in-use or on mass display on a gondola end or shelf.
- Be sure signing and/or packaging spells out their advantages.
- Use photos of employees or departments to show what's special about your assortment, your people or your store.
- Ask your employees to contribute photos and information. Department managers can often provide good ideas and examples of how they and your products have helped customers solve problems.
- Ask your customers to submit photos of projects they've worked on, using your products, such as repainted rooms or houses.
- Take customers behind the scenes of your business by posting pictures of you and your employees working a buying market, for example.
- Provide pictures of employees, especially undergoing training or helping customers.
- Take pictures of happenings in your trading area that support local activities. Be a strong supporter of your trading area.