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July 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 7
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Signs Point to Sales

Small signs on the shelves at my grocery store direct customersī attention to important information.
Toy shopping can be overwhelming, especially for people who donīt have children of their own. Parents have an advantage. They?ve seen thousands of toy commercials sandwiched in between ?Blue?s Clues? and ?Dora the Explorer.? They?ve read parenting magazines listing top holiday picks and gotten the scoop from other parents.

But what about people who aren?t bombarded by toy info 24/7? When Grandma is standing in an endless doll aisle selecting a gift for a granddaughter who lives 1000 miles away, how does she choose?

Confused shoppers could ask a salesperson for help, but do they? Not often. Would you want to announce that you have no idea what your 10-year-old godson likes? And the latest craze changes so often it?s impossible for anyone except those living with a child to keep up. In addition to that classic inquiry, ?May I help you?? I believe stores should offer a little undercover assistance.

?Buy One/Get One Free.? ?Low Carb.? ?Locally Grown.? Small signs on the shelves at my grocery store direct customers? attention to important information. Toy stores should adopt this method of subtle communication to help their customers.

Small shelf signs could show customers in a glance which toys won the Family Fun Pick Awards, which Barbie was just released this year, or which toy can make a long car ride bearable. This system would be inexpensive and flexible. Owners could change signs to address the needs of different seasons: award-winning pool toys in summer, educational but fun toys as school begins, and the latest releases for the winter holidays.

Signs could be tailored to fit the location. The latest craze in Farmington, Conn., is probably a lot different from the new big thing in Dallas. Having a "Staff Favorites" sign could even help create a better relationship between customers and toy store workers.

If you do decide to install some undercover assistance in your store, could you let me know? I?ve got a cousin with a birthday coming up and I have no idea what 11-year-old boys are into this month. Maybe your shelf signs could direct me to a great gift.

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Jodi M. WebbWriter's Bio: The mother of three children ages 13, 10 and 2, Jodi Webb started out as a toy seller. She´s happy to find a job where her accountant will let her write off her toy purchases! Read more articles by this author

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