Toys and creative offerings based on particular lifestyle themes must fit with the preferred lifestyle of the buyers – the adults, in other words. I imagine there are a lot of comparisons with the fashion world in this respect. Or am I wide of the mark?
U. W.: In general, toy product life cycles are much longer than those of the fashion industry. Adult buyers often subconsciously reference their own lifestyle when choosing a toy. If they like driving fast cars or have an eye for the luxury end of the market, they tend to go for sports car brands when it comes to toy models. As we are quite diversified with Majorette and Schuco, these buyers are as well catered for as retro enthusiasts.
Children like to play at being adults, and the more realistic, the better. Our Smoby kitchens come with lots of mod cons. For example, every aspiring young chef of today needs a capsule coffee maker so they can have their coffee to go. The Smoby workbench allows children to safely build and construct. Toys are marketed with Tefal or Black & Decker licences to match the adult versions.
Children know exactly what they want from an early stage and often greatly influence the purchase decision. They are not always looking to simply emulate the lifestyles of the adults in their lives, however, and toys with a fantasy theme are just as important for role play. Ultimately, a product must match the child’s interests but also tick the right boxes for the adult actually making the purchase in terms of play value, look and price.
When I visualise how many toy retailers run their business, I get the impression that some retailers use the shop design itself to appeal to customers’ lifestyles. I’m thinking here in particular of the typical Holzwurm stores or the pink doll corners of major retailers. Am I right in thinking this and is it a good vertical marketing approach?
U. W.: An engaging shop design with attractive product presentation is essential to offering customers a shopping experience, which then helps the store compete against online retailers.
Toy manufacturers have marketing specialists who develop strategies to help retailers sell their products. They want their brands and goods positioned where they will be easily noticed. They also want to reach the customer at an emotional level and make the quality and value of their own products the focus.
Shop concepts developed in close collaboration with the retail partners involved are the best vertical marketing solution. There are shop design concepts which are adapted to the children’s lifestyle according to the respective products and even presentations which appeal very specifically to children.
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