Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stick It to Shoppers with In-Store Experiences

In year 2008, the stick was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, headquartered in Rochester, New York. Thus, the stick joined the likes of Tonka Trucks, Mr. Potato Head, and Barbie, each one an inductee from an earlier year.
     I’m talking here about a plain stick. Not a pogo stick, a hockey stick, or a pool stick. Each of those others could be considered a plaything. But as the National Toy Hall of Fame induction announcement makes clear, so can the plain stick. In the mind of the child, the stick becomes a sword, a baton, a big league slugger’s baseball bat, or some other variety of magic wand. In the hands of the playful artist, sticks are a foundation for collages, sculptures, and structures. Plus sticks are often just outside the door, free for the taking.
     So why would anybody pay $30 for a stick? Well, people do when the stick is imbued with valued memories, making it more than only an object. And thereby is how this becomes an object lesson for you, the retailer. A recent post at Global Toy News marvels at the $30 tag on a Harry Potter wand—a basic stick in a simple box—for sale at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
     What’s being sold with the stick here is the value-added of the memories of a day at the amusement park, along with a dash of celebrity endorsement. Another example from the world of toy sales is provided by Build-A-Bear Workshops. With over 400 locations on five continents at last count, the stores can be considered testimony to the success of allowing purchasers to personalize their purchases. Each child selects from a range of items in the store to design their own stuffed animal, and upon completion of the toy, the child signs the animal's birth certificate.
     The cost of the bear? Maybe $20. The cost of the raw materials? Much less. The value of the experience and the memories? Much more.
     Sure, there are issues of business ethics here, particularly when selling to children. Is $30 ever a fair price for a plain stick in a simple box? Check that the experiences you’re providing to your customers—children and adults—in your store are distinctive. From the d├ęcor, the sounds, and even the fragrances to the sales staff’s sensitivity to the customer’s needs, ensure the experiences are memorable.

Click below for more:
Personalize the Shopping Experience
Celebrate the Celebrity Appeal
Educate Children as Consumers
Deliver Fragrance to Customers Who Like It

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