Mark Grondin has over 15 years of experience in eCommerce, web and mobile technology, having provided eCommerce consulting to firms like the German Stock Exchange, Swissair and Johnson Outdoors, and managing web agency relationships with Hewlett-Packard, Disney, and Apple. He is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shopatron, responsible for business development, PR, demand generation and outbound sales for the #1 retail-integrated eCommerce solution in the world.
Consider this: according to The NPD Group, in 2011 “nearly 40% of toy shoppers used a smartphone in a store to scope out websites of other stores.” The question is, how can toy brands and their retailers make this trend work in their favor?
There’s no denying the awesome power and influence of the web, especially with the rise of mobile and smartphone usage. We are in an era of “no boundaries” shopping, where customers can virtually find anything, anytime, anywhere. In order to get their slice of the pie, toy brands also need to be available to consumers anytime and anywhere. They need a website, they need a mobile site and they need physical locations.
When eCommerce first came on the scene, it seemed like it might always be a sideshow to brick-and-mortar retail – a nice place for niche players. But new studies are showing a different trend, one moving toward integration. Customers expect a hybrid shopping experience, where the boundary between buying online and buying in-store virtually disappears. That’s where the importance of quality relationships between toy brands and local toy shops comes in. The brand can provide the name and eCommerce presence and the retailer can take care of the fulfillment and local service.
If toy brands and retailers can create this type of seamless shopping experience between the online and in-store channels, it will reflect in their overall sales. They will even be poised to compete with mega retailers like Amazon and Walmart because they can offer customers more: better product information, comprehensive product inventory and the personalized service of a local shop.
This “no boundaries” approach is going to become even more important when out-of-state, online tax legislation is passed, because shoppers will have less incentive to buy online when tax rates become standard. Even Amazon is considering a more robust, multi-channel sales approach, opening physical, showroom-style stores that allow shoppers to try and buy Amazon products, like the Kindle, in person. When the biggest online retailer in the world thinks about opening up a shop down the street, people should take notice. But if Amazon would take it a step further, and allow their retailer partners to take bigger part in order fulfillment, Amazon could start looking more like the Godfather of eCommerce rather than an online bully.
A retail-integrated eCommerce solution that allows toy brands and online retailers to sell online and have those orders fulfilled by a local toy store will play a big role in the future of retail commerce. Not only is it the solution that most shoppers crave, especially since consumers still prefer to buy in-store, but it also results in more sales for both toy brands and their retailers.
To learn more about Shopatron’s retail-integrated eCommerce solution, and how it works for the toy industry, visit: ecommerce.shopatron.com/toy or download the whitepaper Comparing Four Options for Turning Website Traffic into Sales.