With one of the biggest toy retailers gone, the opportunities for smaller toy stores abound. In addition to stocking wholesale toys from our great selection, you must have a marketing plan in place. Here we’ll explore some hidden retail opportunities for toy and gift stores. By implementing some of these suggestions below, you can increase your customer base and sales.
Pick a Niche
Big retailers have the funds to keep a large inventory on hand. For smaller retailers, it makes more sense to pick a niche instead of trying to imitate the big guys. You certainly don’t want to get caught in a war on price, because you’ll hit rock bottom sooner than you think.
There are many different options for picking a niche. You could appeal to a certain demographic, for example, you could sell toys to elementary age kids. The toys you sell may also reflect other merchandise in your store. If you sell specialty items or souvenirs, you may want to pick your toy selection to correlate with the other things you offer in your store.
Encourage Collectible Sales
The old adage is that your current customers are worth more than new customers. The cost of acquiring a new customer through advertising is often higher than encouraging existing fans to come back to your store. To entice them to come back again and again, you can specialize in selling collectibles. Collectibles have built-in features that make you want to buy more of them. For example, Shopkins are highly coveted toys because they’re part of an enormous collection. Your customers may collect different seasons of Shopkins, and they’ll also enjoy the additional feature sets we have to offer.
Place Similar Toys Together
If your customers like Shopkins, they probably also like Hatchimals. Both are tiny little creatures that have the element of surprise since you never know which one you’re going to get. Naturally, they’re collectible and easy to trade. By placing Shopkins and Hatchimals together, you can introduce a brand to a customer who’s not familiar with it but likely to be intrigued by it.
It’s a good idea to place similar toys together in your store for other reasons, too. If your customers see a lot of toys they like in one spot, they’ll spend more time browsing. You can also add special displays near the center of your store with similar toys grouped together, and don’t underestimate the possibility of adding a display of similar toys near your cash registers.
Market to Specialized Groups
With a small retail store, the role of marketing falls squarely in the owner’s or manager’s lap. If you have a limited budget, you can still make a difference by putting in some time. You can get the word out about your store to specialized groups in your area. For example, there may be educational co-ops, after-school playgroups and daycares, and soccer teams full of kids excited to shop at your store. By offering specialized groups a discount for buying from you, you’re gaining new customers for the low cost of printing a few flyers.
Get Active in the Community
As a small retailer, it’s important to get active in your community. You want to be known in your community to provide value to those who interact with you. Of course, people won’t know about your store and your offerings until you participate in the community. Whether you take part in the annual parade, partner up with other stores in your area, or donate time or money to local charities, it’s important to give back locally and enjoy the publicity that comes with doing the right thing.
Offer Great Service
You don’t want to offer the cheapest prices for the merchandise you’re selling. Instead, you need to differentiate yourself by offering exceptional service. In a world where everything is instantly available online, customers still crave the one-on-one interaction. Encourage everyone who walks through your store to make a connection with you by asking them about their day and how you can help them find something special.
It’s a well-known secret that parents don’t always want to buy the latest and greatest toy for their child. But many kids have other family members who’d gladly surprise them with the occasional present: the grandparents. It’s important to make grandparents feel welcome in your store by showing them your selection. You may have to explain the appeal of specific toys to them, but as long as you provide useful guidance on which toys may be appropriate for their grandchildren, you can rest assured that you have gained another loyal customer.