Websites to watch: Hardware store edition

 

A rich company history makes for a rich user experience (and a delightful collection of brand-friendly Web icons). The site also features an events calendar.

 

San Francisco’s favorite hardware store speaks to its community with local services, a hardware hotline and a fun-first approach.

 

Lehman’s website's sharp slide-show format and comprehensive navigational structure will help any customer find what he or she needs.

 

Never underestimate the power of a visually beautiful layout -- especially when there’s plenty of practical advice and guidance to be found behind the veneer. The site also has a video and a hefty social media presence.

 

The hardware giant boasts one of the industry’s most visually arresting formats, coupled with magazine-quality ideas and how-tos.

You don’t need the Internet to recognize the value of your neighborhood hardware store, but in 2013, a well-executed website is pretty much a guaranteed ticket to competitive advantage. Here are five hardware store sites that made our list of "Website to watch" for their good looks, user-friendly interfaces and special features tailored to their core markets.

Visit each website:

1. Mcguckin.com

2. Colehardware.com

3. Lehmans.com

4. OSH.com

5. Lowes.com

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