Wednesday to Sunday!
31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
Spielwarenmesse®: Toys are increasingly becoming an expression of various lifestyles. Can target groups comprising parents and adult gift-givers be defined according to these lifestyle types and which lifestyle can be classed as mainstream?
Birgit Klostermann: Parents are exposed to many influences, especially their children's. And their children are familiar not only with the modern world of toys, but also learn about trends from friends, television, new media, and channels frequently completely unknown to their parents. Trends and decisions to buy arise in a quadrangle of parents, children, toy manufacturers and media. IT media and the world of technology are increasingly setting the pace, and it is virtually impossible not to succumb to their influence. On the one hand, toys are becoming more technical: mini-quadrocopter, talking pens, tablet PCs are now common items. However digital design aesthetes also create styles that are prevalent in the toy and fantasy worlds: even toys that are not per se digital are adapting to these trends.
Yet every extreme has its opposite. One is the glitzy glam trend, which of course bb Kostermann also represents. In recent years, perhaps due to the influence of casting shows and the like, an independent beauty and fashion style world has emerged. Dressing up and experimenting is part of discovering your identity. You compare with your friends. It's part of social education. It's alive and it’s real. On this level therefore the amazing success of fashion style trends can actually be seen as a counter reaction to digital hype.
How do toy retailers successfully appeal to their customers' lifestyles?
B.K.: We all love our toy shop round the corner, but these stores don't have it easy. People often go there for advice and then buy in the Internet.
You have to create new incentives for customers: creating play corners where you can try out toys, or theme or experience areas to make shopping more attractive. Promotions to act as a magnet.
However it is also important to align your assortment with new demands. Low- and middle-priced trend articles and innovative 'take and buy' items boost sales.
A well-designed relevant presentation with recognition value generates brand awareness. Dependable retail partners who bring a constant stream of new products to the market are remembered and ensure retailers continued success.
The design of toys is assessed completely differently by children (users) and adults (buyers) in terms of function and looks. A challenge for marketeers?
B.K.: It is very interesting to observe which of these two groups are focused on by different toy distributors. In the long term a brand can only be successful if it addresses the wishes of both children and parents. Basically, toys should be fun. However they should also be of good quality and promote a child's development. This has to be taken into account from the first, at the product development stage, then realization, and of course in sales strategies. Companies must consider what their fundamental concept is and how they wish to be perceived as a brand. Both retailers and customers expect and appreciate this. Advertising and marketing activities need such a solid base if they are to be successful and ensure sales and growth in long term.