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How can Toy Stores use Omnichannel Retailing to grow their business?

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The toy industry is truly fascinating in every sense – engaging products for a growing target audience (kids), global appeal & tremendous growth. The industry was valued at $94.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $103.8 billion by 2027. There would always be a staggering demand for toys in the market as it aids the kids in day-to-day learning, acquiring logical & reasoning skills, cognitive development & language development.

As most of the toy shopping for kids is done by their parents, there has been a drastic change in consumer behaviour post-pandemic. The opportunity to see & feel a toy in person before purchasing it is less important now than in the past. More and more customers are buying toys online. Moreover, the convenience of shopping online provides the benefit of the best price, quality, and shopping from genuine brands, affecting the walk-in traffic for brick-and-mortar shops. And that is why toy stores need to play well with omnichannel.

Here are some unique ways by which toy stores can use an omnichannel retailing strategy to grow their business:

Experiential retailing 

Experiential retail is a marketing approach in which physical retail locations offer experiences and browsing and purchasing things. Experiential retail stores leverage amenities such as advanced technology, limited-time in-store services or events, and knowledgeable employees to create memorable in-store experiences that encourage brand loyalty.

Hamleys is an international omnichannel toy brand that has invented the concept of experiential retailing because if a customer wants to purchase a toy, they can go online. But, if you're going to buy a Hamleys toy, it creates a theatre of toys for demonstration. It’s like watching a cartoon that is part of their secret sauce. 

Another excellent example is Hamleys competitor, Tablez, an Abu Dhabi-based toy retail brand, that plans to convert its toy outlets to family entertainment centres. ‘House of Toys’ by Tablez provides a holistic and technology-driven engaging, interactive, and hands-on experience for both kids and parents. This omnichannel approach takes virtual and augmented reality to a different level by including an exclusive, state-of-the-art 3D holographic experience center.

Convert existing website into an omnichannel platform

JouéClub is a French toy brand that offers a seamless purchasing experience combining mobile, web, and physical outlets.

JouéClub omnichannel platform is designed for unified commerce, integrating an intelligent order management engine. It enables the various cooperatives to centralize and manage a shared online offering of all their products.

The toy brand is equipping itself with a modern e-commerce site, which can combine delivery modes in a single basket (home delivery, click & collect in 2 hours), thereby minimizing friction points in the purchasing journey for customers.

It makes it possible to merge databases, centralize stocks, and facilitate access to products for users.

The omnichannel retailing strategy allows the toy and games merchant to handle a massive inflow of orders during the busy end-of-year season. It also helps them cater to client wants on time, enhances customer knowledge, and maximizes sales potential.

Use of Augmented Reality Solutions

Big W has partnered with Yahoo to create a new way for Australians to shop its annual toy sales - Toy Mania using Augmented Reality (AR).

Augmented Reality (AR) technology allows consumers to virtually interact with the product from their smartphone or other digital devices. Customers can use Augmented Reality (AR) to browse Big W's toy selection by scanning a WebAR code, which allows them to examine the products in their virtual area, in real-time, and at scale.

Benefits of using AR solution for toy brands

  • Allows customers to shop the toy range with more confidence
  • Offers genuine immersive experiences that allow customers to interact with a brand
  • Fills the touch-feel experience void in toy shopping with an interact-sense experience
  • Makes buying big bulky products less stressful and easier for consumers.
  • Drives direct trackable sales results for toy brands

Learn more about about Enhancing Omnichannel Retail Strategy using Augmented Reality

Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Every child has dreamed of having a dialogue with their favourite doll or stuffed animal since their growing years as they are their best friends that give them company from morning to night time. 

According to Mattel, the toy manufacturer and parent company of Barbie, "the most frequent request by girls is a two-way communication with Barbie." They've now made that possible through a partnership with ToyTalk, a San Francisco-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup.

Hello Barbie is the first AI-powered doll on the market that engages youngsters through speech recognition and progressive learning. The doll, which is more expensive than other dolls, is programmed with nearly 8,000 lines of conversation and 20 interactive games. Its speech recognition technology, including a microphone, a speaker, and two LEDs, is activated via a push-and-hold button on Barbie's belt. When the doll's speech recognition is activated, the LEDs illuminate.

Parents link the Hello Barbie doll to a WiFi network and create an account, which they can later use to access the child-doll talks. By touching the button on Hello Barbie's belt, children can initiate a dialogue, and the button must be released to hear Barbie's reaction. The recorded discussion is routed through a cloud system to a control centre. ToyTalk's speech recognition technology employs Natural Language Processing (NLP) to determine possible responses and choose the best one.

The Barbie and the ToyTalk control centre communicate back and forth, with all recording and data processing happening in the cloud system. The entire process takes less than a second (from the child speaking to Hello Barbie responding). The ToyTalk team uses the recordings to develop its speech recognition technology. They are also used to recall information about that child precisely so that Barbie does not repeat herself and is prepared to ask follow-up questions. 

For example, Hello Barbie can respond to inquiries such as "What should I be when I grow up?" based on past conversations. According to multiple stories, during one presentation, the doll advised that the youngster consider becoming a dancer or a "dancing politician" after discovering that the child enjoyed performing.

Use of Endless Aisle Solutions

In the toy industry, where products can come and go in popularity seemingly overnight, brands need to react quickly to consumer trends. 


That's where the endless aisle comes in: 

  • It helps toy brands broaden their product selection quickly and easily without investing in new inventory. 
  • Toy brands can offer more products without worrying about taking up valuable shelf space or running out of popular items.
  • It can provide an extra sales channel for different toy category products that may not have sold as well through brick-and-mortar stores. 
  • It also allows customers to purchase products that may not be available in their local stores or out of stock. 
  • Additionally, the technology can help brands better understand customer behaviour and preferences, making more informed product decisions. 
  • Finally, it can improve toy inventory management and reduce wastage.


Along with experiential retailing, Hamleys has also implemented omnichannel in its stores by offering endless aisles to its walk-in customers. Entire inventory for Hamleys can be browsed here. One can place the order in-store or online and get it delivered to their doorsteps, sourced from the nearest outlet. Such omnichannel services are available by SaaS platforms like Fynd.

Read Now: Fynd Store - More than an Endless Aisle Solution

Conclusion

As a toy store owner, you may have found that your customers are getting more and more used to shopping on multiple channels. They may be browsing your website but then going to the physical store to buy the products they want. They may even be going to a competitor's store to buy what they want. It can be challenging to get customers to come back to your store after they've tried buying from somewhere else. It's essential to use omnichannel retailing to reach out to the customer on any channel and assure they have 100% order fulfillment from anywhere and anytime.

Fynd is India's largest omnichannel platform assisting retail businesses in accelerating growth using technology. Hamleys, Mattel, Barbie, Fisher Price, Chicco, Mothercare are among a few toy brands  powered by Fynd’s omnichannel solutions.  Its one-stop solution reduces the complexities of adding new brands, channels, store locations, fulfillment centers, order management, centralized inventory, and more. Get a Demo now to fynd our how you can strengthen your toy business and fast-track sales on all channels.

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How can Toy Stores use Omnichannel Retailing to grow their business?
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