Spielwarenmesse: Improving the shopping experience for families

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Wie das Einkaufserlebnis für Familien verbessert werden kann
  Marketing

Marketing

Improving the shopping experience for families

from Maria Costa

Different kinds of distributors, from specialty stores to big retail brands, are making efforts to implement actions to improve the shopping experience of the various members of a family. In this article, I am presenting and describing some interesting strategies retailers are carrying out by having families with children in mind.

Shopping becomes a question of convenience

Family parking area, Carrefour
Family parking area, Carrefour

Families have specific needs for each step of a trip to the store. For instance, some retailers have paid attention to the fact that some mothers visiting the establishment have to breastfeed while in the store, so they are creating specific areas to feed babies. As dads on the other side, encounter issues when they need to change their babies’ diapers, there has been an increase of changing stations in men’s restrooms. Others have realized that parents with strollers require more space for parking, so they have designated more spacious areas for families parking a car.

Once in the store, many parents feel overwhelmed by having to do their shopping with little ones in tow. It is common to see children freaking out and parents getting very upset. Some distributors are trying to solve this problem by offering a supervised nursery-playroom. While kids play there, parents can go shopping efficiently.

An area where parents and children can actually spend time together, mainly playing, reading or doing other fun activities is another idea for family-friendly shopping. A good example is “The playroom from Fatherly”, a pop-up store in New York that focused on promoting the dad-child relationship.

In the last few years, more stores acknowledged the need of adults to rest and relax a moment. While shopping you find more areas with couches, TV, water and coffee, some stores even facilitate areas for people to work with their computers or mobile devices. The store becomes much more than a place to buy things. By establishing shopping locations as places to hang out and enjoy, stores develop a relevant strategy to improve customer loyalty.

Point of Sales turns into Point of Entertainment

No doubt, children and adults will have a better experience in a store if they have fun. However, shopping is not always easy, especially for little ones. Noting this issue, retailers are being very creative trying to engage children into having more fun time while in the stores.

You can experience different approaches while shopping. In some cases the action is simple but effective, for instance offering children little treats such as candy or balloons. Some retailers have even changed part of its store to accommodate new areas for children to interact with products freely.

I certainly like what the French hypermarket Carrefour is implementing. Last time I visited one of its stores they were giving children the option to have their own little carts to go shopping around. Moreover they were offering bikes for kids to ride around the store. I couldn’t help but notice the face of happiness some children had on their faces, and how they were asking their parents to come back soon.

Carrefour Madrid, Spain
Carrefour Madrid, Spain

In the same store there were other possibilities for older children to have fun as well with a billiards table and a table soccer. In this case, I loved to see a grandparent enjoying time with his grandkids. It was great! And it is nice for them to know that those options are going to be part of the hypermarket from now on.

Carrefour is also placing some playful branded areas where children can play with specific brands, which is great for children and parents to learn about new toys that they might really enjoy. 

Toy’R’us with the claim “Forbidden not to touch” launched a very interesting and fun initiative: areas where children can play freely and interact with toys and games. Some stores incorporated a digital photo call, holograms and interactive screens, while others offer a Geek zone, a place with products based on the series with the largest audience, with limited and exclusive editions.

Imaginarium’s new store in Madrid is market as “the playroom”, the name says it all. El Corte Inglés, one of the main toy distributors in Spain, is also reorganizing its toy section, creating themed spaces where children are able to play with products, as well as test them before deciding to buy. One of the most interesting proposals is the area “Distroller” where children can live the experience of adopting a Ksimerito’s doll, a process that might take a couple of visits to the store. Corners to play with toys from specific brands such as Play-Doh or Nerf are hugely appealing for children as well.

Distroller, Play-Doh and Nerf play areas, El Corte Inglés
Distroller, El Corte Inglés
Play-Doh and Nerf play areas, El Corte Inglés
Play-Doh and Nerf play areas, El Corte Inglés

Interestingly, this trend influences all sorts of business. It is becoming more common to find toys and play areas in pharmacies, banks, or even car dealerships.

But not all the actions distributors are implementing are permanent. Several retailers are presenting appealing playful experiences available only during specific times. For instance, organizing workshops, competitions, raffles, activities as appealing and popular at the moment as an escape room, et cetera. This is also a wonderful way to create fidelity.

In conclusion, distributors who implement strategies to make the shopping experience more convenient and fun for the whole family are definitely going to improve the loyalty of their clients. This way the customers are greatly incentivized to visit the establishment much more often.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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