Toy stores have to market to two distinct audiences-children, who are the end-users, and parents, who are the purchasers. Having only one marketing strategy won't prove to be very effective for your toy store, as you'll only be reaching a portion of your market. It's best to use a mix of mediums and messages to attract children and their parents. At least one of these suggestions could be a great choice for your toy store.
- Wish lists– Every child has a list of toys they want for Christmas or their birthday. Encourage your customers to bring their child in to create a formal wish list, be it on paper or electronic (like a bridal registry). This is a fun process for the child, and it gets customers in your store at-least twice (once to register, and once to purchase). They can distribute the list among family and friends, which could bring you even more customers.
- Birthday specials– Similarly, every child likes to feel special on their birthday. Print vinyl decals to display at your checkout station that let parents know you'll email them a special coupon on their child's birthday. The child can come in and take their pick of merchandise which they'll receive for free, or at least discounted. This makes the child happy, and the parents even happier, because they're saving money.
- Used toy drives– Show you care for the community by hosting used toy drives in your store or even around town. By donating gently-used toys, potential customers will then have the need for a replacement, and since they're already in your store, they're likely to buy! If they need a little extra encouragement, offer them a discount coupon for donating.
- Parenting seminars– Here's another great way to attract the parents. Host lectures and seminars in your store that parents will want to attend. Make sure to feature these classes in your store with large, easy-to-read banners so parents will know when and where the classes are. Use your employee's knowledge, or even work with your vendors to inform parents of the latest products for child safety, current recalls, or even fun ideas for party planning. Of course you'll need to provide child care during these events, but this is an advantage for you. What parent takes their child to a toy store and doesn't buy them something?
- New toy release events– There's an “it” toy every season. From Furbys to Tickle-Me-Elmo, toy manufacturers work very hard to create a “gotta-have it” mentality in the minds of children, and their parents! Use this to your advantage. When the hot new toy is about to be released, throw a party in your store. Customers will come hoping to be the first person in the area to get their hands on the new toy. Print window clings to display in your window showing pictures of the toy and when it's going to be released, so that customers will be well-prepared for the launch.
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