April 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 4
Retailing Tips: Get the Most Out of Earth Day
Try Out New Products and Eco-Friendly Activities
Given the barrage of environmentally friendly products hitting the market, now is the perfect time to capitalize on “green” by celebrating Earth Day not only on April 22, but all month long. Aside from sporting earth tones and attaching seed packets to your business cards, what can you do? Read TDmonthly Magazine’s 12 tips below:
1. Notify Press Early. Contact local media in early- to mid-April and let them know your store is “a source for kids to start thinking about being ecological … and [has] toys and educational products that will reinforce this,” advised Jon Schallert, retail marketing consultant and president of The Schallert Group Inc.
2. Create a Special Section. “Thematically organize products that are green-oriented into a section of the store,” Schallert suggested. Products by Imagiplay and Uncle Skunkle Toys feature sustainable rubberwood, for example, and Kapla planks are made with wood from renewable pine forests.
3. Involve the Community “by having a wall of art from a local school — with environmental messages,” suggested Executive Director Trish Poe of Kids For a Clean Environment. Doing so may encourage visits from kids who want to see their artwork on display.
4. Try a New Earth-Friendly Line. “I think [Überstix] would be a nice product to bring in close to Earth Day,” Donna Frederick, manager and buyer for The Play House Toy Store in Durham, N.C., told TDmonthly. The company makes “scavenger” craft kits that encourage recycling.
5. Blog About It. In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, feature one eco-friendly toy a day — on your blog, on your website, or in an email to customers. Not only does the press gather story ideas from blogs, Schallert told TDmonthly, but “a blog immediately elevates you in search engine rankings.”
6. Become a Donation Post. “[Toy stores] could be a collection point for toys ‘gently used’ and offer a percentage discount for items received per family,” Poe told TDmonthly. The toys can then be cleaned, disinfected and donated.
7. Help Customers Shop. “Create a shopping list of the top-50 green-oriented games and toys [you] sell,” Schallert recommended. “I'd teach every one of my sales people to put these lists in customers' hands: ‘Here are 50 toys we've highlighted around the store that are just great for teaching kids about ecology.’”
8. Recruit an Expert. Bring in a schoolteacher or environmentalist to talk to your customers about steps they can take to help protect the environment. Have them award small prizes from your store to kids who answer questions correctly.
9. Partner With Manufacturers. See if any of the companies you work with are having special promotions. More than 150 retailers, for example, are participating in an in-store contest with Plan Toys’ Balancing Cactus Game, awarding prizes to players who balance the most branches.
10. Reinvent Your Window Display. Spotlight eco-friendly products and, on a sign next to them, indicate why they’re so designated. Or, build a dollhouse out of recycled soda cans. Get creative!
11. Teach a New Game. Children attending Earth Day festivals in major cities will learn to play Matter Group’s Xeko adventure game. What can you teach in your store?
12. Read About the Earth. Host a day with arts and crafts activities and a special story hour, Poe suggested. You can find a couple of earth-friendly book options in TDmonthly’s Eco-Friendly section, along with several other “green” products.
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Writer's Bio: Julie L. Jones has written articles for both newspapers and magazines. Before joining the staff of TDmonthly Magazine, she worked as a communications writer and provided editorial support for a market research company. Read more articles by this author
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