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April 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 4
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Retailing Tips for Spring and Summer


TDmonthly Magazine?s focus is on in-depth analysis and trend reporting to help you gain a critical edge in today?s competitive retail environment. Relying heavily on the expertise of long-time toy industry leaders, TDmonthly Magazine has been able to tailor its comprehensive editorial coverage of this rapidly changing industry, bringing to you vital information necessary to stay on top of your game.

TDmonthly Magazine?s Retailing Tips reports are practical supplements to your own experience. Reports offer the knowledge, anecdotes and advice of retailers from across the country to help you better your business and compete with dominant retailing mega stores.

Tips for Summer Retailing

Taking full advantage of seasonal trends is an important strategy for toy retailers, and as summer is just around the corner it is important to begin planning now about how you are going to tackle the warm weather. Summer has two advantages: the weather is great and kids are out of school. There are many ways to take advantage of this time of the year, from bringing in new clients to successfully marketing summer products.

? Expand beyond the confines of your store if space is available. Show off what your merchandise can do. If it?s water guns you want to promote, stage a mock squirt gun battle.
? Paint a picture with your product. Use your display window in an inventive way and spend some time being creative. You can create a beach scene or hang dozens of your hot sellers from the ceiling, for example.
? Take products out of the box so customers can test and play with toys. Shop your competition to know what they stock, especially the mass merchandisers. Let the customer see how a product might work in his or her home or backyard, and have a few items that you want to push displayed around the store for customers to play with. Ultimately, thinking creatively about which products to push is as important as thinking about how to push them.

It Takes More Than a Fancy Display to Sell Licensed Toys

This summer, moviegoers will be bombarded with literally tons of summer blockbusters ? ?Batman Begins,? ?Star Wars: Episode III,? ?Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? and ?Fantastic Four,? among others. More difficult than deciding what to see will be which action figures to sell.

Says Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, ?Retailers have to remember that just because it?s a licensed toy doesn?t mean that consumers will beat a path to your door to buy it.? So how do you ensure that licensed figures sell like hotcakes?

? Plan before you buy and know what your breakeven is.
? Only buy what your anticipated needs are.
? Make sure not only that the product fits your store, but also that your customers believe in it.
? Make your product unique and build a buzz around it by offering movie ticket giveaways, have sales people dress up like characters, etc.
? Donīt expect the product to do the work for you.
? Price what you think is fair and donīt try to compete price-wise with larger chain stores.
? Make displays fun, educational and interactive.
? Remember that your sales people and outstanding customer service drive sales. If your sales people donīt think a product is hot, apathy will kill a product while it?s still on the shelf.

The People Advantage: Staffing for Success

With spring in full force, there is only one other thing to do besides enjoy the beautiful weather: spring cleaning. Why not prepare your business for a successful summer by cleaning shop and stocking your store with just the right people?

Do:

? Recruit your regular customers. Roberta Bonoff, CEO of Creative Kidstuff, has found that her customer base is her best source of staff. Who better to hire than someone who already knows your products and enjoys your store?
? Create a bag stuffer about joining your team. Offer a generous employee discount and other fun-related benefits.
? Reward both employees and customers for referrals. Use the money you?re not spending on ?help wanted? ads.
? Have a sign in your store letting potential employees know that you?re always accepting applications from people who love toys and children.

Don?t:

? Put help wanted signs in your windows. First, it communicates to customers that you might be understaffed. Secondly, do you really want applicants who come in only because of a sign in the window?
? Hire someone solely for the sake of hiring someone. It?s important to hire the right person.
? Hire someone just because they have retail experience. Hire for personality and train for success. You can teach someone about your products but you can?t teach someone to smile and respect your customers.

Whether you are interested in reaching a greater customer base, finding a unique niche or improving customer service, TDmonthly Magazine?s monthly Retailing Tips reports offer you the opportunity to further your financial and personal goals.




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