Give Good Housekeeping its due. The venerable company published its first issue 133 years ago. Today, it can boast about having the 7th largest subscriber base of any U.S. magazine, more than 4 million.
Now the magazine is taking its iconic feature, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and opened a store in Mall of America called GH Lab. It's filled with 40 consumer products that have earned its Seal. A few of the products seem newer--a trash can that opens by motion or voice command or the Instant Pot--but others have been around for a decade or more, including Riedel wine glasses, a salt & pepper grinder set and a Roomba vacuum.
Can a store built around familiar products with a Seal of Approval that many younger shoppers have never heard of still pique consumers' curiosity?
In an informal survey of Mall of America shoppers on Tuesday, few had heard of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Bev Olson of Maple Grove is one person out of 10 interviewed who was familiar with Good Housekeeping and also wanted to check the GH Lab. "I'd go in there," she said. "I like the Amazon connection."
Maybe Amazon will get people through the door if a Seal of Approval can't. Consumers who decide they want to buy one of the 40 products in the showroom can pay for them only by using the Amazon app. Tap the camera icon, choose the SmileCode scanner and aim it at the item. The product page pops up and the consumers can add the item to their cart and then have it delivered to their home. Amazon has made no financial commitment to the store, according to Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Jane Francisco, but most sellers are subject to fees of 8 to 15 percent on their products,
Good Housekeeping may be counting on consumers' love of highly-rated products. Few consumers will give any product sold online serious consideration unless it gets a four or five star rating. Amazon took advantage of this idea in its new brick and mortar store in New York City called Amazon 4-Star.
GH Lab in Mall of America deserves credit for providing shoppers with valuable information. It deserves even more kudos for the 2-year guarantee that all products sold with the Seal of Approval receive. If any Seal product becomes defective within two years after purchase, the consumer may be eligible for a refund, repair or replacement. It's a guarantee that few people know about.
The GH Lab pop up store will be open on the first floor south between Macy's and Lego through Dec. 30.