Given the recent spate of more recalls on products made in China, now may be the time to start promoting a Made in the USA message.
Remember the pet food scare? And the tainted seafood? And the contaminated toothpaste? Other products also include unstable hammock stands, kids jewelry with lead paint in it and more. I’m not trying to sound the alarm bell – you can find products coming from other countries that are dangerous. However, according to an article on Worldnetdaily.com, products from China were recalled twice as often as those of other countries.
These recalls have consumers starting to question whether the cheaper prices they pay on products made in China are worth it when the products are of sub-par quality and may cause sickness or injury in users.
A quick check of recalls on the government’s Consumer Products Safety Commission website include many which were manufactured in China. And the big issue seems to be shoddy manufacturing.
Many retailers I know are starting to figure out that there may be an
angle here to capitalize on. If they carry products that are made in
the good ‘ole USA, or import products from countries other than China,
they’re going to start making sure their customers know.
Consumers are most wary of products made in China — especially when it comes to food. I’ve seen customers in two different grocery stores asking where the seafood comes from. At one store the employee didn’t know – so the employee passed on the purchase. At another, the store was concerned and knew their customers were as well so they placed a sign at the seafood counter stating which countries their seafood came from.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
The issue of tainted products isn’t just a China issue. The responsibility should be placed not only on manufacturing, but importers, distributors and even the retailers that buy and then sell the products to the public.
But as we’ve all learned by now, the U.S. only inspects a small quantity of the products imported, insuring that the problems will only continue unless retailers begin self-regulating on the issue – an almost impossible task given the nearly infinite number of products that are now produced overseas.
So how do you capitalize on the trend?
- Know where your products are coming from. Customers are more likely to ask now so it’s up to you to be well informed. If you can talk with expertise about product origins, your customers will know that you care about what you’re selling and that builds loyalty.
- Promote the origin of your products. Just as the grocery store promoted the fact that their seafood did not come from China, you can do the same. Are you carrying products or product categories that have been recalled but aren’t made in China? If so, then insure you customers are buying non-China products from you versus going somewhere else.
- Market the message. This doesn’t have to be a Made In America campaign, it can be as simple as a “[store name] is proud to sell products manufactured in the U.S.A.” message in small type on all of your in-store signage and on marketing materials such as emails.
The hype around the issue of products made in China will continue so long as we continue to find and report unsafe products. And you can count on the media to do exactly that. Are we on the cusp of a renewed Made in America sentiment or is this too simply a passing fad? Only time will tell. But as long as the sentiment runs high now, it’s up to you to take advantage of it. That’s something any capitalist American would do.