I was thinking the other day about the day we opened in August 1996 and how chaotic it was then—-well little did I know 21 years later what chaos really is! But, for those who thrive on it, this is the business for you. Here, I list my 3 most powerful changes seen in this industry from my viewpoint.
- The customer is now in the palm of your hand. That’s right, social media (namely Facebook for us), has allowed us to connect, compete and even beat most toy retailers in speed, direct communications and loyalty to our main consumer. Our location alone has over 32,000 fans and we can text some 2600 directly with news, specials, alerts and sales. Speed and directly communicating has changed the way and who we can compete with.
- Vendors, or as I like to refer to them(Partners), have never been more important to team up with to help each other. When I first started I was told what to sell and how to sell and pretty much at what price— today, we work together, many who call to discuss products, consumer needs and wants and also how we partner together– I am just a little old toy store, but when working together, we move a lot of product. Here are the key attributes of a high volume toy; Gender neutral, right price point, collectible/addons, no batteries(generally), and kids want to use their own money(not just a gift). It helps too when schools ban toys, the kids want them more!!!!
- The categorizing of specialty toys vs. mass retailers is over. Kids don’t care who sells the toy or what labels we put on retailers. To be relevant today you must carry what kids want and by that very fact these 2 labels go away. Yes, margins and sales strategies vary, but as the CEO of your market you need to pull the right levers in pricing, product, placement and promotion. Value pricing has never been more important and the term keystone so out of date. I am a toy retailer, making memories for my customers through 3 basic strategies–a great Team of toy experts, great Products(that kids want not what I want to sell) and finally, delivered in a WOW presence that invites kids and adults to return. A true treasure hunt in a physical location–a toy store.
- Thanks for reading and until next time…………………….spin on (the latest hot toy craze- spinners).