Just like novelties and bestsellers, products in the toy sector surrounded by a great deal of hype, such as loom bands in 2016 and fidget spinners in 2017, have good potential to generate additional sales in the book trade as well. These products also “entice” young customers into the book store. It is important that such products show up on booksellers’ radars in good time.
The smaller the available space, the more important it is to uncover the hidden gems by visiting trade fairs and finding special toy products that will suit and strengthen the book range. Not least, this is also relevant in terms of sales price and margin.
Prepare customers for the new kinds of products on offer
Customers should notice that the store also sells toys before they ever set foot inside. Reading and play could already be linked in the shop window. Some reference to play might even be included in the name of the store. Depending on the size of the sales floor, a store may boast a table or entire department of toys. In any case, it is worth avoiding having exclusively books in one area and toys by themselves in another. Likewise, goods should be grouped according to target age and theme to spark emotion among customers and give them ideas for good gifts.
Checklist: How to successfully introduce toys in a book store
Don’t try to cater to all needs. Focus from the start on toys for a specific age group, for example.
Make sure that somebody is in charge. There should be one employee with overall responsibility for the toy range, from planning and purchasing through to presentation at the POS. Just like with books, your employees are best placed to sell games they have played with and enjoyed themselves. So let your staff try them out. Some toy and game manufacturers offer games training.
Trade fair visits are essential to discovering play worlds with a link to books and finding the hidden gems. Please take into consideration that there is usually no right to return toys bought directly from the manufacturer. However, it may be possible to purchase toys from wholesalers, depending on the product.
There are no price controls on toys. The manufacturer recommends a retail price. It is worth using the online price as your guide when pricing mainstream goods. For “hidden gems”, meanwhile, there tend to be markups of two times the purchase price and more.
- Sales promotion
Let your customers play in the store; set up a game station (e.g. near the checkout). Games evenings or combined reading/game events can also get customers buzzing about games ranges. Especially when first introducing toys, customers must be actively led to them. Therefore, promote your toys in all advertising media and channels, just like your book range, in order to raise awareness.
About the author:
Britta Meyer has undertaken various consultancy roles in the retail sector in the last 19 years. She is very familiar with the toy, book and specialist baby product trade and the needs of retailers, having moderated special interest group gatherings countless times. She works with retailers to not only analyse in depth various key performance indicators and market developments, but also create possible product range and market presentation change scenarios within the groups.