Follow The Signs To Retail Artistry

The International Home + Housewares Show honored 30 home and housewares retailers from 29 countries for their merchandising excellence during last night’s annual gia gala.

Passion & Flair

Since the 2000 launch of gia (for Global Innovation Award), more than 430 retailers from 47 countries on six continents have collected gia accolades. HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® was among the founding national gia winner sponsors, and we are pleased to be affiliated with the gia program again through our sister publication, Gourmet Insider, new sponsor of the gia for U.S. housewares retailers.

This year’s U.S. housewares winner is Cincinnati gourmet kitchenware retailer Artichoke. Like Artichoke, many gia honorees this year and during past years are independently owned specialty retailers.

To hear these retailers describe their stores is really quite inspiring. They’re effusive in their passion for distinctive products and carefully curated selections; their flair for creating inviting, engaging settings; and their zeal for informed, responsive customer service.

But in this salute to this year’s winners is not a message they need to hear. These retailers already have demonstrated the resolute creativity needed to succeed in an era that has threatened their very existence by marginalizing long-standing merchandising values.

Instead, this is a message for retailers even the slightest bit guilty of such marginalization during the past several years. Many such retailers now find themselves, often desperately, trying to reestablish characteristics that restore the visit to a store as a special experience, if not always necessary.

Breaking Barriers

Yes, that is possible in this digital age (as the cover story in HomeWorld’s March 1 National Show Issue examines). But let’s for a moment try to put aside the digital part.

It starts with good, old-fashioned merchandising adapted for today’s consumer. And perhaps that starts by breaking down traditional barriers that restrict the in-store experience— taking a cue from independent retailers who can pull together stories from all parts of stores without territorial buying conflicts.

The gia program reminds us each year on the most important trade shopping and planning stage of the year that— despite the financial, operational, logistical and digital mandates of retailing success in all channels these days— consumers still crave artistry on the selling floor.

Inspiring Stories

Learn more about the 2019 gia-winning retailers in a special spotlight section beginning on page 14A of the March 3, Sunday Show Daily issue. Look for a special display of national winners in the Hall of Global Innovation in the Lakeside Center Lobby. Follow the banners presenting each gia winner in the walkway connecting the Grand Concourse and the Lakeside Center.

Their stories just might inspire you to find new ways to tell yours.