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From finding new places to sell product to downsizing vendors and staff, those that responded to the GOURMET INSIDER® State Of The Industry survey are becoming increasingly savvy about their business in order to maintain margins.

Industry experts noted that independent gourmet housewares stores are moving into other retail areas that are complementary to gourmet, including pet and travel items. Several retailers have also expressed their success with socks, lotions and soaps. Wine, cheese, popcorn, fudge and gifts have also been bright spots for independent gourmet stores in 2017, as many have expanded into these segments.

E-commerce sales are changing, said gourmet insiders, as the platforms retailers are selling on now include social media sites. A majority of those who responded sell product on their own websites, but noted that Facebook and Instagram have become e-commerce tools. However, 42.2% of respondents predict that 2017 sales from e-commerce will grow, while 53.3% said they predict it will stay the same.

Product is coming from less vendors than in 2016. Last year, 10% of respondents said they order product from 400 or more vendors. This year, only 2.2% of respondents said they receive product from 400 or more vendors. Carrying goods from 200 to 299 vendors seemed to be the sweet spot, with 31.1% ordering from that amount.



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