The ability to find truly exceptional products in what can seem like a sea of options is what historically has separated truly exceptional merchants.
It’s even more difficult for products and retailers to stand out in this era of e-commerce platforms purporting virtually endless selections.
Indeed, to be truly exceptional in today’s market often requires a break from the norms that have guided marketing and merchandising strategy for decades but now can seem outmoded and ineffective.
Selling The Merits
That’s why it was refreshing— if somewhat surprising— recently when management of two-year-old tabletop company Gaia Group USA said they would prefer coverage in HomeWorld Business not on the company’s specific products but on the influences, culture and processes used to create and market those products.
To Gaia, selling the merits of its dinnerware goes deeper than the colors, patterns, materials, sizes, set configurations, prices and other conventionally touted tabletop attributes. There is a unique story behind Gaia— learn about it in the April 2 issue’s special Nouveau tabletop supplement. It’s a story Gaia’s team believes will resonate with today’s consumer if prospective retail customers are willing to listen to it and find ways to convey it to their shoppers.
Perhaps Gaia has an advantage as an upstart unburdened by tabletop marketing tradition as the tabletop establishment works to reinvent itself for today’s far-from-traditional marketplace.
It can be an advantage for all of tabletop, though, that story telling is in the category’s DNA. We created the special Nouveau tabletop section for the New York Tabletop Market nearly 20 years ago to spotlight the personalities, fashions, lifestyles and trends that inspire the finished products and make the tabletop business unique. The advantage can be lost when such backstories are muted by the race to saturate the market with product.
Don’t be surprised to see the next wave of tabletop companies focus as much on marketing distinctive stories about their connections to today’s dining and entertaining lifestyles as they are on marketing their actual product. And don’t be surprised to see more of that from veterans of the tabletop business if they haven’t already begun such a transformation.
Yes, the product details matter, and HomeWorld Business remains committed to covering the full scope of new tabletop products. But when we can help share the stories behind the products and the companies that create them— and when retailers are willing to embrace those stories in the choices they make from a sea of options— the tabletop business is in a better position to be truly exceptional.