GEA Taps Existing Talent To Develop New Countertop Appliances

    GE, coffeemaker
    A GE coffeemaker.

    Although the GE brand has a long history in countertop appliances dating back to the turn of the 20th century, it has been more than 30 years since the company has had a major presence in the category.

    Today, GE Appliances (GEA) is back in countertop appliances having recently launched a 19-product collection that includes items familiar to consumers. They include coffeemakers, toasters, toaster ovens, blenders and food processors sold under the GE, GE Profile and CAFÉ brands.

    The line is currently available at Best Buy and is expected to roll out to other retailers in the coming weeks.

    While armed with a brand that has long a connection to the kitchen through its assortment of major appliances, the company nonetheless enters a crowded category that includes products from many well-known brands.

    “We took a deliberate approach when developing products for the countertop appliance category,” said Andre Zdanow, executive director of Small Appliances for GE Appliances. “We also studied consumer pain points to see what we could solve with our products.”

    The initial assortment of 19 new products was developed by teams of engineers based at GEA headquarters in Louisville, Ky. Although there is not a single team with a focus on countertop appliances, the company utilized talent from product development teams in key major appliance categories when designing the new assortment.

    Zdanow noted, for example, GEA tapped into the knowledge base of some teams for their expertise in product quality and safety and others for their expertise in technology or durability.

    “Being able to leverage that type of experience speaks to our cross-functionality and allowed us to get back into the countertop appliance category,” he added. 

    The decision to re-enter the countertop appliance business was done largely because of GEA’s long-standing presence in the kitchens of Americans through the company’s major appliance division. The countertop items also serve to complement the brand’s selection of major appliances.

    “Our core business sits in the kitchen and that is where people expect the brand to be. But it’s also where we have expertise,” Zdanow said. 

    GEA is also working on a consumer marketing campaign for its new line of countertop appliances. While not providing much in the way of details, Zdanow said the effort will largely be a digital-first approach to reach consumers.