The Power of Touch
I am looking forward to attending my first show of 2020 this week, as I visit the newly rebranded Atlanta Market at the AmericasMart showrooms followed shortly after by the Las Vegas Market. Touring the showrooms and temporary exhibits at these markets always uncovers some truly unique products and inspirational stories. I often have a chance to preview some of the new products prior to their introductions, and do my best to understand what makes the product special, so that I can transfer that knowledge to others that follow our publication. More often than not, I am pleasantly surprised how well these products are executed when I get to touch and feel them in person. That is to say, the pictures don’t always do them justice.
This observation always leads me to believe that many of the products you will discover at these markets are so much more sellable when seen for the first time by a consumer in a brick and mortar retail store than they would seem on-line. These are not commodity items with product attributes that can be easily understood or even envisioned without the benefit of personal inspection. In fact, the value proposition or emotional impact can even be improved if the product is placed in a setting of other complimentary products that make a compelling merchandising story for the shopper.
In this issue you will see a story authored by Mark Mechelse of GMDC/Retail Tomorrow in which the results of a consumer survey relating the online versus brick and mortar retail shopping experience are analyzed. Notice how almost half of the consumers when asked about their motivation for purchase in a physical retail store wanted to see the product in person? A large percentage also indicated that they were looking for something different than what they may be seeing online, meaning that the consumer was looking for something more unique.
As you consider your merchandise assortment in the coming year, I think you will find favorable results and product turns if you seek out the unique and beautiful. The draw of the visual appeal combined with the expectation of the product being unique will increase the likelihood that you make the sale right then and there when a visitor to your store falls in love with a product instead of having the customer feel the need to walk away and research the price or competitive options elsewhere. I encourage you to get out to the markets this month, and see these distinct creations in person.