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Just how much does the holiday toy biz mean to retailers? According to a recent article in Retailing Today, Wal-Mart has already taken proactive aim at its pricing on some of the hottest toys of the season. In October.

Pushing hot holiday toys early and having a selection at price points of $5, $10 and $15 sounds like a pretty sound strategy given the weak economy. Making sure to have lots of other toys on the “want list” also scores points.

According to an article in Media Post’s Marketing Daily, Wal-Mart may not have been the first to cut prices. The article “Target Fires First in Toy Wars” states prices at Target have been slashed on more than 1,000 toys, including 250 Target exclusives. And lowering prices on some of the hottest toys of the season seems like another smart strategy.

Can Toys R Us be far behind? Speaking of the specialty toy operation, it is planning to aggressively roll out some pop-up stores with plenty of hot toys themselves. So the toy wars have officially begun. An offensive has been mounted in October that will last through most of December.

So what’s the secret to becoming the top dog in the toy biz?

"We know moms and toys better than anyone, and we're serious about making sure we help families spread more Christmas cheer by offering the hottest toys and brands at unmatched prices," says Laura Phillips, senior vice president of toys and seasonal merchandising at Wal-Mart, in the article. "We have conducted ongoing focus groups throughout the year to ensure that we stock our toy shelves with toys that'll make kids scream with delight at low prices that'll make parents smile."

You can bet their competitors have done this as well. So what makes one retailer better than the next? They’re all focused on owning the toy business at retail. They all have great assortments of toys. They all stock the hottest in-demand toys of the season. They all focus on lowering price to attract more frantic, searching parents who are on tighter budgets than ever.

Is there anything else that elevates one retailer over the fray? You tell me.
• Do you shop at the big box stores for toys or do you prefer locally owned toy stores?
• What matters most to you when shopping for toys during the holiday season? Selection, price or both?
• Does customer service matter to you when toy shopping?
• Are there any other little pluses you’d like to get when toy shopping?

I’d love to hear from you.

Continue reading "Retailers Duking it Out for the Holiday Toy Biz" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (www.designforceinc.com), a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.