A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the annual National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. It’s a massive show for brands in the durable goods, hardware, tools, and electronics verticals.
Each vertical within the world of consumer goods has its own unique ecosystem and language. It was our first time attending, and a great learning experience.
Below you’ll meet four new friends that we made while attending the show.
Alyssa is overseeing all of the Paragron brands. Paragon is a family of brands in the electrical and outdoor space. It has its own brands Paragon Outdoor and Linked2Home. It also licenses products from Huffman, Black & Decker, and DeWalt. Alyssa is managing not only the product suite on retailer listings like Home Depot and Lowes. Etc, Paragon’s DTC websites which include some complex features like customizing your own pergola.
Creating a consistent experience for Paragon is a big challenge, as they have a variety of brands and operate in many retailers. For instance, Paragon Outdoor is a high-end product, and its needs to be reflected in copy and imagery. Still, they’ll choose different lifestyle images for different retailers depending on the buyer's demographics.
To drive sell-through in retail, she puts in a lot of effort to get product detail pages perfect on each site. This year she’ll also be testing ads in their platform (i.e. Home Depot ad platform).
Post-purchase, the experience varies from brand to brand. For instance, bigger products require a lot of setups, so they need instructions, etc. Moving into this year, she hopes to create their own educational videos. Each product also has its customer support team. She also manages social media, which often includes triage for public product inquiries.
In 2023, she’s most excited about launching Linked2Home X DeWalt electric vehicle charger. The product will be launched exclusively in Home Depot.
Scott has been in the tool category for 20 years and was at the show promoting a new battery-operated power tool from the sub-brand SENIIX. YAT is undergoing a lot of change,.
While YAT has been around for a long time in the OEM, SENIIX is only a 2-year-old startup brand within the company. The primary directive for Scott and his team is growth across distributors, dealers, and mass-market channels.
Scott is also investing in dealer partnerships. Dealers are also a unique element in the durable goods space, akin to a town equipment store. YAT sells in bulk to the regional distributor, and the distributor sells to individuals. It’s very similar to the car market.
And there is a focus on e-commerce with its own direct-to-consumer channel. That means transitioning from a catalog website (view only) to a shoppable e-commerce site. He’s also working on Amazon, and other tool and hardware-focused marketplaces that SENIIX needs to be on. The split across e-commerce and dealerships are 50/50, but there will be a big push into mass retail in 2023.
Customer service is a huge part of the brand experience. To that end, people on the YAT customer service team have over 30 years of experience and are well-versed in troubleshooting over the phone until the customer is happy with their product and service.
Brian invented the Twist & Seal in 2012, solving a common holiday issue - an outage of Christmas lights due to weather. He was inspired to create the first iteration during a holiday party when the lights suddenly went out. He left the party to make the prototype for a device that keeps moisture out of wires and keeps the electricity running outdoors. The business quickly evolved into powerstrips, power tools, and construction protection, and became a thriving business selling 22M units in 6 countries.
Twist & Seal is all the major retailers - Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, and many other chains totaling 35K locations. The product is also sold via its own website and Amazon with retail driving over 90% of sales.
To create a consistent brand experience, Brian starts with a focus on quality in the factory and warehouse. To that end, there are very few returns of the product, most of which are purchases of the wrong size. It’s no surprise that they get a ton of organic reviews and their team spends a lot of time responding to any reviews that require follow-up.
Building upon the success of Twist & Seal, Brian also started the RhinoCart and DrillDock, innovations on moving carts and tool carriers.
Brian’s biggest tip for those who want to be successful with tools and hardware, he suggests “paying attention to the details.” That means getting out to stores, hanging out in your section, watching people interact with your product, and talking to them. If you hang around long enough you will get a lot of amazing feedback. Brian and his team are constantly iterating on real feedback from the market.
Curtiss is a brand marketer at DK2. DK2 is a ten-year-old company that started with big car accessories like snowplows, winches, cargo carriers, and bike racks. In 2018, they branched out to outdoor power parts and air compressors. Despite the growth, the company remains very focused on customer service and education.
Growth in recent years has created some challenges for 2023. They’ve outgrown their manual ordering process and customer service team to create a better experience for customers.
DK2 goes to market via retail, dealerships, and it’s own website. And are specifically planning to improve the B2B aspect of e-commerce for smaller deals that don’t use automated reordering services and previously relied on a more manual process. They are also looking to improve UX on the DTC e-commerce site in 2023.
Another big focus in 2023, will be remarketing. Many of DK2’s products have parts that wear down and need to be replaced. There are already plans in the works to improve data collection processes that are required to be able to follow up with customers.
We had a blast at the National Hardware Show. It’s an ecosystem that most people in the e-commerce an retail space don’t talk about, but they are just as enterprising and tech-
as our friends in other verticals like CPG, appliances, and apparel. We made many new friends and learned a ton about the ecosystem. And we can’t wait to get back to the show next year!