Are you familiar with “ShopToyFair365.com”, the Toy Industry Association’s B2B ecommerce network? If not, you should as I think it has the potential to have an oversized impact on how business is done in the toy industry.
Marian Bossard, Vice President of Meetings and Events for the Toy Industry Association and Kim Carcone, Senior Director, Trade Show and Event Marketing at Toy Industry Association, invited to the TIA offices to hear about the program in depth from its creators, Peter Koch and Jonathan Breiter of Balluun.
What I learned is that “ShopToyFair365.com” is a system that allows retailers to purchase directly from suppliers by visiting virtual showrooms. By becoming a “real world” Toy Fair exhibitor, a company qualifies for “ShopToyFair365.com”. The website is colorful and certainly supplies a compelling way to source and purchase products. It allows buyers to see and purchase products on their own time schedule (and its available 365 days a year). Importantly, they have taken all constituencies into consideration and the industry‘s independent sales reps have been integrated into the program.
What struck me more than anything was that the TIA is positioning itself to resume an importance as a gateway to the toy industry that it has not enjoyed since the 1970’s when Toy Fair lasted for weeks and orders were placed on-site. In those days, you had to go to Toy Fair if you wanted to be in the toy business. Carter Keithley is retiring next year and this could well be the ultimate legacy in his time as President.
Take time to check out “ShopToyFair365.com” and when you do so study it closely. It’s important now and it’s probably going to get even more important.