Spielwarenmesse: Toy design: product implementation and store presentation

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Toy design: product implementation and store presentation

from Eva Stemmer und Jörg Meister

In a four-part series, we take as an example a product moving along this path - from target group analysis through to readiness for start of production. The two preceding parts examined the product’s target group - i.e. parents and children - as well as the product and its properties in relation to its users and production. This third part studies the product’s design implementation through to its adequate presentation in the shop.

From draft to product

Once the scribble and concept phases are concluded and depending on the material used, various approaches may apply when it comes to product development:

  • Textile products start from pattern construction and are ready to go into production relatively fast and without major tool costs.
  • Wood products also require few tools only, making them attractive in relation to their costs and development period.

But when it comes to products featuring plastic or metal parts, it is a different story. In a first step a three-dimensional mock-up is created whereby the design and construction go hand in hand and mutually condition each other.

After validating the construction and dimensions with prototypes, taking into consideration safety-related restrictions (this process often runs through repeat cycles during which the product is continuously optimized and adapted), the outcome is supplied to the toolshop.

In parallel with this it makes sense to develop a market positioning and market launch that is conducive to the product and the brand:

  1. The goal is to establish media support and placement that is sensible, feasible, and within budgetary limits. The packaging must be chosen accordingly.
  2. And even alternative placement options (island, special area, counter display, …) plus “hands-on” demonstrations and product demonstrations should already be taken into consideration here.
  3. It goes without saying that the display is naturally also defined by the type of customer address: Does the shape emotionalise the product? Or does it emotionalise especially in conjunction with the graphic element? Possibly even by tying it to a licence topic which creates the respective added value?

All of this is naturally always based on a comparison of the customer’s relevant set in terms of price as well as brand spectrum within the product category.

It takes more than the product alone

However, not every well-designed product is rewarded with the customer audience that it deserves. There are multiple reasons for this: in addition to the price, brand awareness and availability, the cause for this tends to lie in the design of the packaging and brand presentation as well as the positioning - at least for the traditional retail trade.

Here, the packaging and possibly the displays form the actual first-contact elements for customers. This is why the packaging must project the quality, statement, emotionality and the value of its content as well as of the brand to the outside.

New brands and categories should opt for a surprising placement in the shop, such as an island or the combination with items whose design or function complement the product, instead of placing it on confusing mural or rack solutions.

Customers like to be surprised and guided through the shop. They enjoy discovering things and being fascinated by correlations which they previously were oblivious to. Brands that are displayed out of their customary context stand out and are more easily remembered by customers. And if on top of all of this the price lies within the customer’s relevant set, there is no reason for the customer not to buy.

How to convey values and features: products and packaging

In the case of our touch toys and toys for babies and infants in the mid- to high-end price segment, the following values should be communicated:

  • The products are made in Germany.
  • Particular attention has been dedicated to product safety and the “experience value” for the child in terms of the different materials, feel and textures.
  • The packaging for the new “little big things” brand has been designed for the modern family which values quality baby items – as a gift or for their own use.

The last part of the series deals with product safety and a product’s actual brand image. Be sure to look out for the finale!


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