Trade show season is once again upon us and the showrooms at markets across the country will again spring to life as retailers begin 2017 on the hunt for the new and exciting.
While the ritual of first quarter shows is familiar to many, the conversations had with housewares suppliers in the final weeks of 2016 were tinged with a bit of urgency. Most retailers took a conservative approach to their housewares assortments over the past year, but the time may be right to give shoppers something new and exciting for their kitchens.
One of the hallmarks of housewares has been the ability for suppliers to continually develop items that offer an intriguing feature that simplifies meal preparation. But in recent years, the growing risk averse mentality from many big-box retailers has had an impact on new product development.
Instead of investing precious resources on developing radically different products, most vendors have followed the lead of their retail customers and taken a more conservative approach. Housewares veterans have lamented that many retailers today want to know a product’s track record rather than being the first to market with something new.
As 2016 came to a close, several conversations had with housewares vendors revealed a renewed willingness to give retailers items that are different from what they currently carry on store shelves. Let’s hope that a few gutsy merchants are willing to give these housewares an opportunity to shine in-store or online.