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The owners of independent gourmet kitchenware stores have shifted marketing money from both major and local newspapers in favor of text message notifications, social media, e-mail marketing, television/radio ads and Internet ads in 2017.

According to retailers who responded to the State Of The Industry survey, all of those advertising venues saw an increase while advertising in major newspapers dropped 45% from 2017, standing at 2.2%. Local newspapers saw a 22.6% dip in advertisements, standing at 35.6% from 46% in 2016.

Industry insiders explained that online advertising is more cost-effective and enables storeowners to hone in on the audience it wants to target through marketing tools. In addition, online marketing tools oftentimes give analytics on response and reach, so retailers can make necessary adjustments for a continued return on their investments.

All respondents reported using social media to promote their store. While the use of Facebook stayed steady year-over-year, use of Instagram increased 11.2% in 2017 versus 2016.  The use of Twitter dropped 24.7% from 2016 and Pinterest fell from 50% of storeowners using it to 35.6%.

Instagram’s photo-centric style, as well as the increased use of videos in its “Stories” section, appeals to the consumer and makes the shop more interactive towards customers when they are in-between visits.

Trade show attendance has also seen a shift this year, with independent storeowners taking less time away from their businesses. Those who do not plan to attend a trade show at all jumped to 4.5%, while in 2016 all respondents planned to attend at least one trade show. However, those who said they would attend two to four trade shows increased 9.9%.

As for in-store merchandising, displays are taking a vintage turn, according to those who responded to the survey. Both vintage display pieces, like a hutch, and other furnishings are being brought into stores to add character and a unique look. However, many gourmet insiders have been turning to either self-designed/self-built displays to house merchandise or using third-party providers. Only 4.4% said they use vendor-supplied fixtures.

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