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3 Marketing Ideas for Independent Toy Stores

Sep 24, 2016

 Most people think that toy stores probably don't need marketing. After all, with a plethora of toy commercials on television, toys should practically sell themselves, right? Unfortunately, most toy store owners know better. If you're not a major retailer, you will have to put some effort into marketing if you want to ensure that you have a constant stream of new and returning customers. While your marketing tactics will vary depending on your budget, the size of your business, and other details, you can use the following ideas to kick start your marketing to help grow your customer base. 

1) Use In-Store Events

In-store events can be a huge help for marketing your store, simply because they draw crowds, and as you probably know, having crowds in your store typically means selling more toys. In addition, in-store events can also help you to attract new customers, who might otherwise not have known about you, or realized what you offer. In-store events can vary a great deal: 

Game Nights – Sponsored game nights based around popular games. These parties involve introducing new games, demonstrating old ones, and having fun. 

Collectible Nights – Sponsored collectible nights where you host events for collectibles like Shopkins in your store. These allow kids who are already in your customer demographic to visit and bring their collections. By giving a small "Collectible Night" discount, you can also offer parents an incentive to add to their kid's collections. 

Seasonal Events – Seasonal events for Halloween, Christmas, and other holidays. These are useful for selling everything from the most popular toys to collectibles, and everything in between. 

Toy Releases – Release parties for highly anticipate and popular toys. 

Parenting Classes – Shopping for baby, shopping guides, and other parenting how-tos will go over well, and they will likely help you sell, or at least build customer loyalty so that parents will come back when they're ready to buy toys. 

Each of these can serve a different purpose, and will likely draw different crowds. For example, holiday-themed events are suitable for helping parents find popular toys, while collectible nights are suitable for selling more from a specific collection. This means that most themed events should involve a significant amount of planning based on local interests, and on the wholesale toys that you can order to meet those needs. 

2) Get Involved with Charities 

There are dozens of charities that involve children and teens, and many of them revolve around toys. Getting involved is a great way to get your name out there, improve your brand, and do some good. Toy based charities are seasonal and year-round and are held for different reasons ranging from helping children in hospitals get toys to help kids from underprivileged families get things for Christmas. What you support is up to you, but you can use it to advertise your brand while actually helping people.

Another great way to help local charities is to host a Toy Drive. Organizing a toy drive can be simple, easy and fun!  You can run a successful toy drive with a minimum time commitment that will make a great impact on your community.  

3) Leverage Digital Marketing 

Digital marketing, or internet marketing, is a great way to market to your existing customers and reach new customers through them. The basics of digital marketing are simple, you have to establish a presence online, update it regularly, and maintain what you post to offer interesting and relevant information to your customers and potential customers. Most toy stores and gift shops should start off with a Facebook, Google + Local Page, and a Pinterest page. 

Facebook – Facebook allows you to offer customer service, share product photos, market new products, reach your customers, and connect through a virtually free service. 

Pinterest – Pinterest is often used as a shopping app, and if you have good quality photos of your toys, you can use Pinterest to attract the interest of parents in search of gift ideas. Note that location tagging is extremely important, especially if you don't have an online website. 

Google + Local – Google Local allows you to set up a business page, confirm the location, and then have it show up in a search on a map, with your address. Confirming your Google Local address will also allow people to find you when using Google Maps, which is extremely useful. 

There are dozens of other ways to use digital marketing, but for the most part, you should start off with these basics. 

License 2 Play is a licensed wholesale toy manufacturer and distributor, and we're happy to help our customers succeed. If you have any questions, please contact us today!