Top 11 Ways to Improve Your Hardware Showroom Display


Retail continues to become more vibrant. Consumers respond psychologically to visual elements and merchandising displays that catch their eye, which ultimately influence them to make a purchase. 

Our brains give preference to processing sight as compared to other senses. Lawrence D. Rosenblum, an award-winning professor of psychology and author of See What I'm Saying, says that of the information our brains process, 83% of it comes through our sense of sight

Yes, you read that right.

With that in mind, in-store retail displays play a pivotal role in driving your sales. If you create displays aimed to please your customers, you've already won half the battle. 

Do you want to learn to create stellar displays that skyrocket your sales? Do you want to drive your retail growth and success this year? In this article, I'm going to share 11 actionable tips you can use to improve your hardware showroom display.


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11 Ways to Improve Your Hardware Showroom Display

1. Draw in New Customers With Unique Window Displays 

Displays don't need to look exactly alike, but they should have a consistent theme or blend well with each other.  A window display can make the difference in whether a customer enters your store or continues walking by.  A unique display (as shown below) has the power to differentiate you from your competitors and grab the attention of passersby.

Any retailer with a storefront window should pay attention to their window display. They make for powerful advertising stations. Cole Hardware in San Francisco created a display, which they titled "Louvre," made from yellow-rimmed circular saws in a yellow vase. They create displays from products they carry in the store. 

hardware showroom display

image credit: Flickr 

Cole Hardware window displays, "Exude playful creativity that makes people feel good."  It shows off their unique personality and cleverness. When it comes to this type of marketing, think outside the box and use storytelling as your tool. Identifying themes is an excellent way to get started. 

2. Establish a Theme that Unites Your Merchandise

 We keep our sports fans happy by supplying their favorite NFL and NCAA team keys.

#3 NFL & NCAA Regional Keys

You can also pair items that complement each other.  Having keys, matching lanyards and carabiners grouped will increase sales and keep customers engaged and wanting more.  

lanyard and key holders

Products need to be displayed in a way that your customers are enticed to purchase. You can tell a story with product groupings.

Stories help to engage your customers and build trust. They can also play a role in upsells. 

3. Lighting can Influence a Shopper 

Lighting can draw a shopper to a specific area of your showroom. Lighting has a proven impact on customer behavior.

In a field research project, the study concluded...

"Customers spent more time in areas lit with warmer light settings than those with cooler ones. Moreover, the average sales per customers increased by 1.93% when lighting was applied."

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Jandorf  shows a great example of how lighting can make a difference. They designed a space that makes you feel welcome and at ease. Showcasing products in this manner can make them more appealing to your consumer. Use lighting to highlight focal points.

Research also recommends some ways to improve sales with lighting.

  1. Retail lighting should have high contrast
  2. Use diffuse lighting
  3. Consider your color temperature - for example, cool white lighting creates a feeling of a more spacious area
  4. Use targeted accent lighting

The commercial lighting you choose will impact your design and influence the way your customers feel. 

4. See What Your Competitor is Doing and Emulate

You might have heard the saying, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

See what is working for your competitor. See what appeals to you. Note what you like and don't like.

Create your version of it, but try to think like your customer and imagine how they would feel. The vast majority of buyers base their purchases on emotion. They decide to buy something when it feels right. 

5. Engage Your Trade Show Audience and Get on Your Customer's Radar 

Tradeshows are optimal for networking, branding, and training. They are also great opportunities for competitor research to see firsthand what your competition looks like.

Hy-Ko attends a variety of tradeshows a year. We recently participated in the Ace hardware show in Chicago and we were excited to share our LED message boards, new security signs and more.

Here's a peek at what we displayed at the tradeshow.


Tradeshows provide the opportunity to get on your customer's radar as well as keep tabs on your industry. Camille Candella, Vice President of Marketing for Emerald Expositions, says...

"A trade show environment allows retailers to see product in person, establish what's trending in their marketplace and get comprehensive product information in one contained location." 

You also get the opportunity to notice the displays of other vendors.

6. Browse Trade Magazines to Improve Your Displays

We are part of a creative economy. Your hardware showroom displays will play into your customer's purchasing decisions and should be up to date with current trends. 

By browsing trade magazines in your niche, you can discover ideas to make your displays more impactful. Your goal is to increase the sensory appeal of your product, so it appeals to your customers.

According to the Mequoda Magazine Consumer Study, "36.8% of U.S. adults read at least one digital magazine per month, with the average person reading more than 2 issues. Likewise, 70% also report reading one or more print magazine issues in the same time period."

Customers are savvy. They are smart shoppers and looking for the best of the best. Think of the impact you can make if you give them exactly what they've seen in a magazine.

Trade magazines are a great resource to create active hardware showroom displays.

7. Make Use of Movable Displays for Flexibility and Interest

   KA Displays

Movable displays are flexible, make your store unique, and prevent your customers from looking at the same displays over and over.

A mixture of permanent displays and movable displays typically works best. The 4-Sided Floor Spinner and Bucket Tree from Hy-Ko are great examples of active displays to keep any retail showroom looking updated and fresh.

8. Optimize Retail Space for Smooth-Flowing Traffic

Create customized merchandising systems that maximize your retail space. Use your area wisely and consider the need for natural and smooth-flowing traffic.

Focus on space planning to provide a better shopping experience for your consumer. Every inch of your store costs money. Don't settle for unappealing, ineffective, or average showroom displays.

Give your customers a reason to come back. 

9. Use Cost-Effective End Cap Displays to Influence Sales 

Displays located at the end of aisles are great for grabbing attention. According to the National Retail Hardware Association, end cap displays can move product faster — as much as eight times faster — than the same display positioned within an aisle.

Tips for Creating an Effective End Cap Display

Step 1: Make sure they don't disrupt traffic flow

Step 2: Make the end caps engaging and noticeable

Step 3:  Place products at the knee, hip, and waist level. Avoid going higher than eye-level

Step 4: Keep themed products together for cross-selling

10. Accelerate Your Social Media Strategy

Use social media as proof of your impressive displays. 

Let your customers see your display. With the rise of Instagram stories, FB Live, and messenger apps  -- you can tell stories and engage with your customers immediately and in real time. 

Your customers are your best advocates to gain insights into what works and what doesn't. Listen to their comments and feedback.

11. Take Your Customers on a Buyer's Journey

Customers come to your showroom because they want to experience the product firsthand - in person. Your showroom should flow and naturally lead your customer from one section to the next, making it easy for them to find the right products for their project.

By keeping your floor and displays organized, consumers are adequately guided through your store. Don't forget about signage! Proper signage is appreciated by customers and can help easily direct them.

Now it's your turn...

Your showroom is an opportunity to connect with your customers. Create a space and display that give your shoppers what they crave, while educating them on your product.

Which tip are you going to try first?

  • Re-design your window display?
  • Use more movable displays?
  • Get to more trade shows for ideas?

Retailers must adapt to their customers' needs through visually appealing showroom displays. Retailers that focus on creating a more personal in-store experience that is unique to their business will continue to succeed. 

Retailers that create in-store retail displays can drastically drive their sales.

As a premier supplier of numbers, letters, signs, keys, and key accessories Hy-Ko invests in their customers' success by helping them set up their stores with active displays to increase sales and by providing up-to-date training on the best performing merchandising programs.

Ann Ross

Ann Ross

Category Manager at Hy-Ko Products
Ann has been working in retail management, sales and marketing, and product development for over 25 years. Ann holds a BS in Merchandising Management from The Ohio State University. She has designed core and promotional displays for the hardware industry as well as rebranding signage and packaging. In addition to hardware, Ann has worked in women’s fashion, home décor, crafts and seasonal merchandise. She has the passion for innovation in all areas of merchandising and product design.

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