19,000 Attendees Pack Sold-out National Hardware Show at Las Vegas CC

May 12, 2014
19,000 Attendees Pack Sold-out National Hardware Show at Las Vegas CC alt

With confetti in the morning and burgers in the afternoon, The National Hardware Show that took place May 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center had an impressive performance and is gearing up for even more growth.

Spanning 559,000 square feet, the show featured 2,675 exhibitors and attracted about 19,000 attendees.

“We’re seeing growth across all segments,” said Tracy Scarfi, marketing director for Reed Exhibitions’ National Hardware Show. “Lawn and Garden continues to stay strong and now takes up the entire North Hall. Hardware is as strong as ever. Black and Decker is back, and Stanley is here with a top products pavilion. We have a sold-out show.”

Scarfi said that it’s likely that next year the show will be expanding into South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and bringing the Lancaster Buying Show on site.

“Innovation drives business,” Scarfi said. “People are looking to remodel rather than move, to make better use of their space, a more interesting use of their space. The outdoor living is huge, as people want to have a vacation close to home with all their familiar amenities. There’s now even a word for it – ‘glamping’. Glamor camping.”

So what was different at the show this year?

Every morning started with a grand opening ceremony celebrating a different category of exhibitors: World of Home Improvement featuring international exhibitors, Made in USA with more than 425 U.S. exhibitor, and Innovation with new products around the floor.

Every afternoon closed with a reception at the North American Retail Hardware Association’s (NRHA) stage in the grand lobby of the convention center.

To help drive attendance to the featured categories, each day had a passport program, where attendees had to collect stamps by participating exhibitors.

The completed passport could be exchanged for a t-shirt and a drink coupon. The program was particularly popular with first-time attendees.

The show app got a major upgrade with a new GPS routing feature. Linked to the show map, it made it easy for attendees to find their way to exhibits they were looking for. T

he feature also has a Near Me button that allows exhibitors to offer deals to attendees that had selected their product as a category of interest during registration.

“We’ve had the highest download rate of the app this year,” Scarfi said. “Over 5,000 people hit the Near Me button during the first two days.”

To engage attendees through social media, select exhibitors were invited to get a free video made about their products. “Not everyone accepted the invitation, which was surprising,” Scarfi said. “but we’ll probably have about 54 videos by the end of the show.”

Another feature that helped connect exhibitors and attendees was the product review and vetting area, where manufacturers had chance to drop off their products to be reviewed by some of the industry’s leading buyers, including Sears, Distribution America, Ace Hardware and SkyMall, which provided the manufacturers with feedback about how they might best be able to move these products into the marketplace. It was a win-win.

“The new product vetting program provides a great opportunity for our members’ entire buying group to preview new merchandise as its being introduced to our industry, in one location,” said Dave Christmas, president and CEO of Distribution America.

He added, “One of the challenges to bring new items to market in our channel is the time it takes to make the right connections. The vetting program can shorten the process by facilitating those connections, providing manufacturers the chance to obtain immediate feedback from leading buying influencers.”

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