GET OFF THE SHELF – INNOVATIVE TOY MERCHANDISING WORKS!
One of the things we all tend to take for granted after cycle after cycle of toy development is packaging formats & merchandising. The vast majority of products ship in ‘standard’ packaging, to mostly standard dimensions with very standard merchandising solutions e.g. board games boxes are mostly the same formats, collectible or pocket money toys so often ship in cardboard display units which sit on the shelf with differing graphics but basically the same display unit format.
When there are so many toys on sale – the biggest challenge is how too stand out from the crowd and to grab consumer attention. Outside of the purchase venue we can communicate via various medium to stimulate demand, but in store, we often rely on just the same old standard approach. There are several reasons why we do this:
HABIT – humans tend to stick to the same old behaviour patterns, so of all the things we question, many times we don’t challenge our misconceptions on how our products should be merchandised!
PLANOGRAM AUTHORITARIANS! – some retailers will insist on modularity to make their shelf space usage more efficient. Clearly there is a sound rationale behind this…but that doesn’t mean they should stick with that approach 100% of the time, or that we should never challenge tthese ‘mandatory’ modularities.
COST – for some reasons marketing people (of which I am one, so this is partly self criticism!) find it easier to spend money on shotgun blast marketing which may or may not pay back in terms of sales, despite huge cost, than they do on investing in encouraging purchase at the point of sale. This is not logical! Many times companies run their POS marketing as part of their trade marketing departments, at the whim of their customers, which clearly presumes that our customers always know/demand the best way to invest our marketing money…clearly this is not always the case!
Speaking from personal experience, some of the most successful toy products I have worked on have been primarily driven by strong merchandising and point of sale marketing. For instance, one of the best selling products I ever worked on did not fit on the retailers shelves, as they did not usually sell our kind of product. So the only place they could put it was stacked on the floor, creating a de facto queue barrier upto the checkouts. The product absolutely flew out of the store since every person in store queuing to purchase saw the product, and before long we ran out of stock and could not supply the customer! In this instance there was no extra cost for this initiative, so it doesn’t always have to be prohibitively expensive. Sure the retailer has limited space, and an opportunity cost for this kind of space, but if you don’t ask you don’t get!
Where your product sits in a very crowded space, or where you have not managed to secure listings, can your retailers take extra product & drive extra sales via off the shelf display? How can you help them to do this?
Earlier today while perusing a toy aisle in the UK, I saw the below product display from Flair Leisure/Giochi Preziosi for their Pikmi Pops line. Here’s what I love about this – the retailer can’t stick that product on the shelf with everything else! The concept itself needs an innovative higher visability display solution.
So, as we head towards crunch time for 2019 products in the next few months, could you use off the shelf merchandising to help drive better sales…?
by Steve Reece, CEO of Kids Brand Insight www.KidsBrandInsight.com, a leading toy expert consultancy to toy companies around the world. Services include Sourcing/factory finding especially in India & other ‘new’ manufacturing economies, toy business consultancy and product representation