Get the Scoop

Experts dish on how to build sales of kitchen tools and gadgets
By Jessica Harlan

If it’ll make a cooking task easier and can brighten up the kitchen at the same time, chances are your customer is going to want it. And for retailers who want to build their kitchenware selection, there are plenty of options. 

Form and function
Gene Marham, principal at Synergy Sales Associates says kitchen gadgets that are colorful and make life easier seem to be selling best. Don Turano, North American president of Joseph Joseph, says nest storage and cutting boards, among other core kitchen tools and gadgets, represent bestsellers in this retail channel. He suggests retailers collaborate with their suppliers to finesse their kitchenware assortment. “While the retailer knows their consumer best, the supplier should know their product ranges and channels well, and can [recommend] the products that are meaningful across multiple categories based on sales results.”

Good, better, best
Meanwhile, Deb Flynn from Tovolo says specialty baking tools, as well as craft cocktail products, are among the company’s bestsellers at specialty retailers. Flynn emphasizes that smaller retailers can’t worry about what the big guys carry, but instead understand that they can’t be everything to everybody. “Focus on a good-better-best assortment for every category,” she says. “If a customer comes in the store and asks for a brand that you don’t have, you can easily sell them into something from your assortment if you can point out the features and benefits. Sell what you believe in, and customers will believe in you.”

Inspire home cookin’
“Color in the kitchen will always be an important way to drive new sales of products, but what is more telling are those items that speak to certain lifestyle trends,” says Laura Everage, director of PR/social media marketing at Harold Import Co. “The healthy eating trend continues to drive demand for products that make preparing home cooked meals easier and more convenient.” She adds that the interest in making food from scratch is spurring interest in the tools – from basic utensils to specialized tools.

Savvy Merchandising
Here are a few display tips to promote this already hot category and help even small retailers compete with larger specialty and big-box stores:

  • Create a dedicated area or section of your store for your kitchenware products, but also outpost the same products in a themed or seasonal vignette.
  • Everage suggests creating a visual story with a variety of products, whether it’s about color, grilling, food prep or coffee. “By bringing together similar products, the customer can better envision the product fitting in with their lifestyle.”
  • “Using products in the real life environment is always a key, so any food demonstrations always work well. Getting the consumer to use the product vs. watching a demo is always preferred,” says Turano.
  • “The more you change your displays, the more frequently you will bring in your regular customers,” says Everage. “And use email blasts or newsletters to complement what is happening in the store.”

For more information: Synergy Sales Associates 800.766.6994 synergy-sales-assoc.comJoseph Joseph 917.338.0900 josephjoseph.com; Tovolo 206.603.6066 tovolo.com; and Harold Import Co. 800.526.2163 hickitchen.com.

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