Testing 1, 2, and 3: A Pop Up Test for Toy Expansion

The retail landscape is changing, as we all know. The lines blur between different sectors. Workplaces are becoming shops, sporting warehouses become clothing stores, and fashion retailers experiment with designer food.

The toy industry is now following their lead. A huge gap was created by the demise of Toys“R”Us. While toys are still needed, the market is changing in how they’re bought. This opens up a new avenue for retailers to test their toys aptitude with a popup test.

Explore new opportunities

Target and Walmart have joined the toy train, expanding their offerings. But it’s retailers such as Party City, the bastion for celebratory paper goods and goody bag trinkets, that truly innovate. It makes perfect sense. Party City can supply gifts for holiday and birthday parties. Even if the idea is sound, the retailer must ensure it’s worth the investment before expanding.

Party City is launching 50 pop ups in their Halloween City locations. The sites will then be rebranded as Toy City shops for the holiday shopping season.

Party City is not the only one. Ellia Kassoff is the head of KB Toys. She wants to see the brand rise from the ashes, jumpstart it, and start with 1,000 store for this holiday season.

Dollars versus Data

A Party City spokesperson stated that the pop-up tests are not about profit. They’re about “really testing, evaluating, and assessing Toy City strategically in a controlled manner.”

What’s the point of data if they don’t drive profit? Data is the answer. Brick-and-mortar retailers have learned from e-commerce that data is more valuable than sales. It’s gold for refining or safeguarding initiatives. This data can be used to generate a lot of sales if it is strategized and analysed. Toy City and KB Toys will have invaluable insight into which toys are the best, most popular and who is buying them. They’ll also be able identify failed products, which are toys that nobody buys and reduce inventory costs.

They will be able to evaluate whether toys work together beyond the product level.

The answer will vary depending on where you are, what season it is, and who you ask. A pop-up store in Omaha might make huge sales, but a Boston location is barely making ends meet. They could decide which markets are best for the launch, rather than closing down all toy stores.

It seems easy to tap into the holiday rush. They’ll want to see how the business performs for the remainder of the year. Toy City’s November success does not mean that August or April will be as lucrative for KB Toys.

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Instant, immediate intel

Toy City and KB Toys will be able to get immediate insight and inputs, in addition to the dollar data. A pop-up test provides real-time information, unlike surveys that were in the past.

The shoppers are giving honest, unadulterated feedback without even realizing it. This includes information on messaging, display, product array, individual purchases, and messaging.

This information can be gathered in a number of ways. Cameras can be used to track which products are gaining the most attention. HappyOrNot buttons have a large following because of their simplicity for both retailers and consumers.

Tech-based data does not have to be the only way to do everything. The dollar data can be interpreted qualitatively through live conversations with shoppers. It is important to have a well-trained sales team that can interact with shoppers without being annoying or pushy.

It will be fascinating to see how these pop-ups succeed and which retailers decide to expand their permanent stores. They will choose the same path. Will each pop-up offer unique insight into the way forward? Buzz Lightyear famously exclaimed, as he pulled out the toy box from his mouth, “To Infinity and Beyond!”