HICAGO - Supermarkets are not doing enough to make consumers aware that they sell housewares products, said A.J. Riedel, senior partner, Riedel Marketing Group, Phoenix, after a presentation at the International Home and Housewares Show here this month.
Riedel coordinates the HomeTrend Influentials Panel, also known as HIPsters, for the International Housewares Association, Rosemont, Ill. When Riedel asked a HIPster panel of consumers where they think first to buy housewares, they seldom said supermarkets, she told SN.
Instead, they mentioned mass merchandise and specialty home goods stores as their first choice. "Supermarkets probably need to promote the fact that they have housewares more," Riedel said.
Most supermarket advertising focuses on foods, yet supermarkets are the most convenient channel for consumers to buy housewares. "That's the store she is in weekly, or more than weekly. The consumers go through that store pretty fast so you really have to reach out and grab them, and supermarkets are not doing a very good job of that," she said.
Supermarkets can carry better-quality housewares goods, too, she noted. For example, "they do not necessarily have to take the bargain line of bakeware," Riedel said. "They probably would be better off taking the middle or higher price point bakeware item" because consumers with experience in buying these products don't want to replace items like cookie sheets every year, she said.
These shoppers are spending more money, she said. "When they talk about value and they talk about being price conscious, they are conscious about prices but they are not bargain shoppers. They are looking for the best price for the best quality products available for them," Riedel said.
Some retailers still have the idea that they can't sell products above a certain price point, she said. However, with most stores accepting credit cards, "I don't think that's true," she said. "Supermarkets have a great opportunity for higher-priced merchandise."
The HIPsters have also told Riedel that supermarkets can make more sales by cross-merchandising housewares with related food products. Some chains are doing this and "that is a very positive step. Do the cross-merchandising and don't keep housewares as a completely separate area. It's really going to increase impulse sales," she said.
Among the housewares trends identified by the panel were multifunction products and products that help simplify their busy lives. "Multifunction is a really big thing as long as the products are not gimmicky. They can't put two functions together that don't seem like they are going to work together," Riedel said. One example she cited was a utensil for spreading peanut butter and jelly that kept the two foods separate.
The HIPsters also look for products that are either easier to clean or make cleaning less of a chore, she said. One of the panelists said she is now looking for environmentally friendly products for cleaning and organic foods.