March 12, 2015
In each e-Bulletin over the next few weeks, Sue Warfield, ASTRA's Director of Member Relations, will focus on one of the retail trends for 2015 and contextualize it for the toy industry.

Trends for 2015: Stores with Omni-Channel Strategies Will Continue to Thrive

Omni-Channel: What does that mean? 

Essentially, it means selling your products through multiple ways or "channels." Channels can include your brick and mortar store, your website, and outside events where you sell your products. In our current digital world, having multiple channels can increase your chances of making the sale.


As you offer more channels where customers can buy your products, it is important that all of these channels sync seamlessly together. Here are some tips:


  • Make sure your store staff are fully aware of how your website works. Note any differences on what you sell through the website vs. what is available in the store.
  • Give customers multiple options for how they can pick up their online purchases. You can ship the products directly to the customers or offer in-store pick up. 


  • Train your staff to offer the store's amazing customer service not just in-store, but over the phone. They can offer services such as setting aside a product that a customer is looking for or recommending a similar item that is available in store.  
  • Provide staff training for selling products over the phone. Once the sale has been made, staff can wrap the purchases and have it ready for the customers to simply stop in and pick it up curbside.  

Outside Events

  • Attend consumer shows outside your store or promote your store by speaking at community group events like parenting groups and school functions.
  • Bring items to sell and have a mobile payment app to ring up charges on the spot.
  • Keep your staff in the know. Communicate which outside events you will be at, what you are bringing to sell, and any coupons you are distributing.  
  • Print flyers or cards that include your store information and website address. Consider including a calendar of upcoming events or including a special coupon.  

Miya Knights, a Senior Research Analyst from the International Data Corporation (IDC), puts it this way: "Consumers don't distinguish between channels. They are channel-blind; therefore they expect the same service, products, offers, and pricing online as they do in-store and on mobile. This is why merchants need to make sure that their retail propositions are consistent across all channels.


How many channels do you use to sell your products? What tips or tricks have you found work for you? Learn from others and share your tips on the discussion board post Thrive Through Multiple Sales Channels. 


Sue Warfield
(312) 222-0984 ext. 800 


Best Toys for Kids Award
Best Toys for Kids Award 
Best Toys for Kids Logo

Calling all retailers! Make your voice heard and nominate your favorite toys from the past year for the Best Toys for Kids award! The award highlights new, innovative, and educational products that are voted on and endorsed by ASTRA retailers. 

Click here to find out more about the awards program and submit your nominations today! 
Industry News
Stephen J. Pasierb Named President & CEO of the Toy Industry Association

The Toy Industry Association has announced that Stephen J. Pasierb will join TIA at the end of April as President & CEO. He will succeed current President & CEO Carter Keithley, who will retire at the end of April. Read more...  
ASTRA Webinars

Trade Secrets for Retailers Promo Video

Trade Secrets for Retailers
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 11AM CST/12PM EST
Presenter: Dan Jablons, Retail Smart Guys

What are other retailers doing to successfully grow their business? Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys is in different retail stores every single month and has collected the most successful techniques and secrets that retailers are using around the world to be successful. He'll give you the insider info in this webinar, including the answers to these questions:
  • What are the best ways to manage your employees so they stay productive?
  • How can you market your store in the most time and cost efficient manner and still drive traffic to your store?
  • What are the key statistics that you can easily get which will help you optimize your inventory?

Click here to register. 

Driving Qualified Booth Traffic
Wednesday, March 18 at 2PM EST
Presenter: Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge

Today, no exhibitor of any size can afford to just show up and hope the right attendees find their exhibit. Effectively pre-marketing your exhibit is a "must do" to get your fair share of qualified booth traffic. If you're serious about getting big-time results, you can't afford to miss this upcoming webinar. 


Preeminent tradeshow expert, Jefferson Davis of Competitive Edge, will walk you through an eight-step pre-show marketing planning process that will put your company "in the mind" and "on the agenda" of attendees. 

Register by clicking here


ASTRA Exclusives
Order Your Exclusives Today!
Get your orders in now for the ASTRA Exclusives line of preschool products, presented by Plan Toys, Outset Media, and Snapo! 

Manufacturers are now accepting orders with products available to ship no later than the end of June. 

Click here to find product sell sheets and product information.  
Welcome New Members
Join us in extending a warm welcome to these new ASTRA members:

Brackitz, Denver, CO

Logo Loops, LLC, St. Louis, MO

Lollaland, Monrovia, CA

Mister Alphabet, Los Angeles, CA

OTB Imports LLC | MoYou Nails, Las Vegas, NV


Pinwheels Toys & Games, Glastonbury, CT

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