Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing messages from the ASTRA Board of Directors, the 14-member governing body of ASTRA represented by a group of retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives and industry partners. Learn more about the members of ASTRA Board of Directors here.
These are unique times we face as we go through the coming days as a country. As a retailer it can be extremely difficult, wondering what will happen with what we have worked so hard to build. We have continued to discover that when times get tough, we can quickly implement ideas we previously felt were too difficult to start before.
Here are a few of the things our company, Legacy Toys, has been working on that have worked for us. I hope they can help inspire ideas for your business:
1. Website Sales
We were already planning on making e-commerce a big part of our vision for 2020 so we had made good progress on it, but we quickly learned the need to get it completed much faster. We launched our website two weeks ago with online orders, helping to increase sales when our local malls decided to close their doors and, hence, our stores inside them. We feel the push for us to get online and add that to our ordering capabilities will be a huge strength coming out of this as we will have another outlet for selling our products.
2. In-Store Pickup
We quickly launched in-store pickup which people have taken advantage of and appreciated, we used the term curbside delivery to let them know we would bring the product out to their cars, this is a great feature to offer every day and now that we have it up and running we plan to build our reputation and have it as a valued service to make it easier for customers. We advertised this on our social media pages and website as well as gave instructions about how it worked. I saw some other stores offering to wipe down product before it goes into the bag to give additional confidence to customers.
3. Local Delivery
Shortly after we started offering in store pickup, the malls we’re located in told us they were shutting the doors and we wouldn’t be able to have this service. We didn’t let this get us down — we decided to try offering local delivery within a 10 mile radius of a few of our stores. Since our staff live near the stores this wasn’t too hard to implement after confirming that staff was comfortable with figuring this out. We may not keep this as a long term solution like some of the bigger outfits, but we have come to learn that there are companies that provide this service as well for a fee, such as deliv.co in certain markets. Customers appreciate the service and have been shocked when they’ve ordered something online and a few hours later a happy toy store employee is greeting them at their door. This clearly isn’t the most cost-effective measure but builds loyalty and relationships with customers during difficult times which hopefully will lead to a lasting relationship in the good times as well.
4. Bundled Packages
We have seen really great success in offering bundled packages to our customers on social media and on our website. We decided to have some fun with it and made packages that were themed, such as a Family Game Night bundle with a few games to try and candy for a family night of fun. If you don’t currently sell candy, running to your local warehouse supplier is fairly easy to get a few fun items to add to the bundle. Our customers have loved them so far and we keep creating new ones. You can see some of our examples here: Legacy Toys Bundles.
We had always been pretty bad about this and it’s not my personal passion but we have found incredible opportunity with creating some simple blog posts to get people visiting our site and learning about us. We’ve leaned towards creating posts about things to do at home with the kids (“How to Prevent Cabin Fever”). We even talked to some of our vendors and they provided some content for us to be able to get a few posts out quicker. We then shared these on our social media and our customers loved it! We got many emails from people thanking us for giving them some ideas during this and in turn it helped sell bundles on the website for us.
I’ve seen the posts on the ASTRA Connect message boards about shipping and selling online — it can seem overwhelming. To quickly be able to offer all of our products online, we decided to offer Flat Rate Shipping. This way, we didn’t have to spend additional time getting all the product dimensions and weights to calculate shipping costs. We plan to do that at some point in the future, but the goal here was to start selling online as fast as possible to get families at home fun things to do so that they could create memories.
7. Standing Out as a Specialty Toy Store Online
In an effort to keep our specialty toy store touch, we quickly created postcards (click here to see the postcard) to go with each package being sent out letting them know who packed it and a fun little note. It also gives information about our toy stores so customers we gain from online sales can learn and hopefully visit our retail stores as well. We attach a small treat to it as well as a little something extra, like a small gummy bears bag. This makes a difference to the customer and helps build a relationship that makes them want to come back again. Through our online efforts, we have had multiple customers immediately place additional orders once their first shipment arrives and we’re building repeat business.
These times call for thinking out of the box and pushing ourselves to do things we previously felt were too difficult to do. Get creative, come up with new ways to grow your business and I believe as we expand our minds to come up with new ways to run our business as times are lean, that when we get past this point we’ll be much stronger for it and be grateful that we didn’t just sit around.
We are entrepreneurs — it’s in our blood, sitting around is for everyone else, we go out and get things done, we make it happen and together we will help the world see how the power of play can strengthen families and what better opportunity than right now to show people we’re here to help them with that.
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes that we encourage all our staff with and put in our stores: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax
ASTRA Board Member