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31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
It goes without saying that new products have to be well received by retailers and popular with manufacturers. However, the consumer is initially the main focus when developing a new toy. But who is the actual consumer?
The toy industry really has a key challenge to face compared with other sectors - the end consum-er is not necessarily the purchasing decision-maker, who is not always the buyer. Bought by par-ents, often with grandparents lending a financial hand in the background (when it comes to larger purchases), products have to impress children in the first place. Besides this, the product must also stand up to the critical scrutiny of the retailer, purchasing departments and sales staff on the ground.
Therefore, the consumer who will ultimately decide whether a purchase is made is the starting point when considering which products might capture the market.
So we have to define who this consumer is.
To understand children and their desires, manufacturers and retailers have to know the reality of their lives. Therefore, it’s worth spending time where children can be found. Increasingly, this is not only the material world but also the virtual one – in the form of blogs, social media and online stores.
Understanding customer interest is about reading the signs: observing where customers spend time, analysing why they do that – and the direction they go off in after that. Ultimately, valuable clues can be gained from the tracks they leave.
These are clues about social issues but also about trends and the reality of the customers’ lives – which flow in turn into a current and future product world. These findings can be strikingly represented using mood boards. You can get a general outline of a user group in the form of a “look and feel”, giving you the basis for new ideas and products.
We want to take a closer look at the baby/infant target group in this example of a mood board. We base it on a medium price structure, a high value placed on quality and sustainability and a “spe-cialist retail/boutique” sales channel with corresponding buyers. For better understanding, the goal of sounding out this target group for a new product line in this segment is visualised. The product range covers “early childhood sensory perceptions”, i.e. baby toys with sensory learn-ing value.
Armed with these findings, we will move to the creative process in the next issue: initial product ideas taking account of the fun factor and learning value, children’s needs, sustainability, produci-bility and standards.