This holiday season is a serious one for all toy sellers. With Toys “R” Us now out of the picture, customers will be looking for new places to buy their holiday gifts. This is the first impression that matters most — it determines if you will create loyal customers who will keep coming back for more even after all of the holiday madness.
Amazon just might be cooking up something to steal the thunder from indie toy retailers: the retail giant is secretly planning a Toys “R” Us-like catalog for the holidays, according to Bloomberg. Cited from unnamed sources with a knowledge of the strategy, Amazon has plans to go conventional with a holiday toy catalog in a drive to win over customers after the closing of Toys “R” Us. The printed guide will supposedly be mailed to millions of U.S. households along with being handed out at Whole Foods locations.
The plan is not public right now and Amazon is not answering any press questions on the matter, but it does stir up some possibilities for competing retailers chasing holiday toy buyers. The Toys “R” Us catalog used to be 100 pages, but you don’t necessarily need to use that much paper to show your goods, especially if you are on a budget. With the attention span most people have today, a smaller, 20-page catalog is ideal.
Interactive Virtual Reality
Another fun additive you can “toy” with in a holiday catalog is interactive virtual reality. In 2015, Toys “R” Us made their catalog interactive with elements that live on the content-driven lifestyle spread pages, according to an article by Ad Age. Consumers who downloaded the Toys “R” Us app to their smartphones could use it to hover over one of the eight special spreads to get a 3D pop-up shuffle game, with Geoffrey and two other toys in wrapped boxes and mixed around for the player to guess where the iconic giraffe ends up.
A fun app could be a fun way to not only get consumers to read your catalog, but for them to recognize and spend time looking at the different products you offer. Think of different ways to make it more enjoyable than just a “wish list” that kids will throw away after looking through it once. Engage them and make them want to actually walk into your store to see what else you have to offer.
Party City Pop-ups
Amazon isn’t the only retailer trying to take advantage of the demise of Toys “R” Us. According to a Bloomberg article, Party City has plans for holiday pop-up stores. “Party City plans to operate 50 pop-up toy stores from September throughout the holiday-shopping season, possibly in former locations of the defunct chain,” executives said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The assortment will include top brands from Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. and plenty of Santa suits and stockings for Christmas.”
Party City is also adding more toys to their website, trying to expand farther than just a party and costume retailer. If the pop-up plan goes well, the company will likely expand the format next year. Customers will be looking for toy stores to fill the Toys “R” Us void, and Party City and Amazon are clearly on the hunt to bring them in.
These two retail giants surely can’t be the only two with plans to bring in the old Toys “R” Us customers this holiday season. Personalize your customers’ experiences even more so with a physical catalog they can take the time to flip through with their kids. Though their parents may always be “Toys “R” Us kids,” this holiday season we can start the new generation of “indie toy store kids.”