Merchandise as Kindling!
Ahhh, summer! American writer Henry James wrote, “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” I couldn’t agree more! It’s the season of abundant sunshine, local farmers’ markets and an extravaganza of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Recently, I received a Williams–Sonoma catalog that celebrated this wonderful season right in the midst of it (as opposed to the Halloween merchandise I saw in a retail store's front window display last week!).
This wish-book catalog couldn’t have been better timed to further kindle my summer cooking passion. Chock full of 40-plus new items gorgeously displayed on the front cover and through the first half of the 100-page book, I appreciated how in sync the merchants at Williams-Sonoma were with their customers’ cooking needs and desires. The timeliness and temptation of pages and pages of both new and exclusive grill tools, food prep tools, fruit tools and clever ways to make frozen pops all supported not only the creative theme of “the abundance of summer,” but my personal desire to be more experimental and playful with new recipes this summer.
As a Williams-Sonoma customer, I felt this well-timed product offering ignited this desire and encouraged me to add new tools and techniques to my cooking repertoire — things I didn’t even know I needed! From the exclusive fine-mesh grill pan that makes it “easy to brown and sauté even the smallest ingredients on your outdoor grill” to the square slider press and slider grilling basket to the four-in-one avocado tool, the merchants at Williams-Sonoma fanned into flame my quest to do more with all my farmers’ market treasures this season, as well as gave me the tools and methods to try new foods on the grill.
How well does your merchandising strategy kindle your customers’ passions and dreams? Do your customers think of your brand as a partner in helping them meet their goals — stated and/or unstated? Is your product line strategically positioned and timed to take consumers to whatever quest they may want?