Stay Focused To Find New Opportunities

greg sleter headshotAs 2019 has taken a turn into the home stretch, retailers will be focused on squeezing every dollar out of the holiday season whose start seems to inch closer and closer to Labor Day each year.

But this is also the time of year for retailers to bring 2020 into focus. In mid-September, we tied a bow on HomeWorld’s Forecast issue, our annual consumer survey conducted by The NPD Group. Copies will soon hit the desks of our subscribers.

Scrolling through the data always makes me think about the opportunities retailers continually have to engage with shoppers and tweak their assortments to meet customer’s current needs. Sometimes the Forecast data shows a continuation of trends. Other times it offers early insight into a change in behavior that a savvy merchant can use to stay ahead of the competition.

Forecast this year made me think about the opportunity for new opportunities. In a year where tariffs and talk of a possible economic downturn have retailers concerned heading into the holidays and 2020, proactive steps to keep shoppers engaged might help offset any possible drop in sales.

One such opportunity could lie in tapping into a hot trend that provides retailers an opportunity to sell consumers more than one item to meet a current need.

Let’s look at the coffee segment. For those consumers who see themselves as a coffee aficionado, having just one method to brew coffee at home is no longer acceptable.

For some, using a single-serve coffeemaker is the solution for those busy weekday mornings. A French press or manual pour over may be the solution for an after-dinner cup of joe. The weekends and parties with family and friends open the possibilities for high-end coffee centers that brew various specialty coffees.

The opportunity for retailers is to engage with coffee-loving consumers and provide them a broad selection of electric and non-electric coffeemaking solutions. Why sell shoppers one coffeemaker when you can sell them two or three?

This line of thinking extends beyond coffee and into a category such as air purifiers. If a consumer is shopping for a unit to use in their family room, might they also be interested in purifying the air in their bedrooms? Perhaps.

The key for retailers is to not only market and cross-merchandise products in stores but to also promote a broader online assortment and inform shoppers of features such as next day delivery or in-store pickup.

Doing so could avoid missing an opportunity.