It’s rare in this industry that we find ourselves stuck between the beginning and end of an era. The closure of Toys “R” Us spurred major discussions around what fun could mean without one of the most legendary brands in the mix. Though many inferred the loss would be the start of a domino-style closure, the impact seemed to be the antithesis. The media hype gave people all over the country a reason to buy again. Not only delivering a 7% category increase, as noted by CNBC, but also introducing an entirely new opportunity for toys in unexpected environments.
Presenting us with the question: What if we took a struggling market, such as toys, and integrated it into one that seems to be defying failure, c-stores? 79% of convenience retailers claimed in-store sales increased in the first six months of 2018. Could it be time to interject a little fun in the c-store experience?
Understanding the target c-store consumer is imperative to successfully introduce toys into the environment. Especially given that 80% of convenience store sales come from just 20% of its customers, according to Convenience Store News.
Creating an experience that seems habitual, never out of the way, is just how this consumer likes to shop. Individuals between the ages of 25-34 have a higher chance of buying store merchandise after purchasing gas, and those between the age of 35-44 are more likely to visit daily or weekly than other age groups. While 57% of consumers with at least one child under the age of 18 reports visiting c-stores on a daily basis—an appealing segment toy retailers could be attracting.
Not that different from traditional retail, c-stores just place the emphasis convenience. Introducing toys though creates an opportunity to make them more relevant and experiential than ever before.
What if endcaps and in-aisle experiences were created to perpetuate interest?
Because the c-store journey is shorter than most, incorporating in-aisle hubs for products that could work in small, medium, and large-scale environments would create a more cohesive and curated overall approach. Taking it a step further, the implementation of lively endcaps iterations could generate interest and forge profitability, encouraging visitation again and again. Imagine toys sitting atop fanciful endcaps, transforming the way daily visitors become privy to products. This concept would conserve square footage, but deliver an experience incomparable to convenience store competitors.
What if merchandise was flexible enough to keep up with the seasonal purchases?
Flexibility is key in any environment, especially one where shoppers spend such a short amount of time making quick decisions on what to buy next. Translating this easy-to-flex concept into an environment with heavy foot traffic could be just what the toy industry has been looking for. Envision a space during the holidays where the Hatchimals and Legos of the world sat adjacent to gift bags, cultivating the next-best stop for shoppers who decided to wait just a little too close to the gifting season. Being that most c-stores are open 24 hours a day, the potential to market to a group of people whom procrastination is inevitable could prove to be a value proposition. Gifting hubs within stores for every holiday could be just the avenue they need to merchandise multiple brands to many consumers, translating the very definition of convenience.
We work to connect people to the world’s best brands and, in many cases, that takes an insurmountable amount of creativity. Our work propels the future shopping experience, infusing what’s current and what’s to come to create powerful store environments. Excited to learn how to stand out amongst the rest? Check out our recent toy publication to attain the success so many toy retailers are striving for today.