Green Board Games: Sarah Wyatt, marketing executive.
“Products linked to the National Curriculum, such as Times Table Explorer, BrainBox Maths and BrainBox Science are at the core of our Back to School offering.
Toy shops should get on board with Back to School ranges because customers who find something fun that may give their child a head start at school are likely to purchase and become loyal customers.
Some licensed ranges are perfect for Back to School, such as our Roald Dahl BrainBox and toy retailers can definitely benefit from the ranges in months other than the lead up to school starting in September.
Children can benefit all year round with products that are fun and have appropriate educational content. It is well known by teachers that over the long summer break, children would benefit from reinforcing skills learned before the holidays. Some retailers, such as Fun Learning, know this market well and source products all year round with educational value. They have loyal, repeat customers."
Toy Essentials: Sandra Cambridge, business director
“Toy Essentials’ whole raison d’etre is to offer play opportunities with an educational angle. All of the ranges we currently offer are ideally themed for the Back to School period.
Back to School presents a huge opportunity for toy retailers and we believe that the build up to the start of the academic year should be part of the annual agenda along with events like Halloween and Christmas.
Educational toys play a huge role in learning. Not only do they genuinely fuel a child’s ability as well as their motivation to learn, but they can also really help children to understand difficult concepts by providing a practical and tangible explanation.
For instance, our Hoberman Spheres (expanding and contracting geometric constructions) have long been recognised as a teaching tool for geometry, enabling a child to understand spatial sense and reasoning.
While the start of a new academic year provides a timely and topical hook for retailers, the reality is that school goes on all year round. Pre-tests and exams in spring is also a great opportunity for retailers to muscle in on the Back to School act.
Parents can pack their kids of to school this autumn complete with a brand new, hygienic lunch box concept to be introduced in September 2014.
Our Kidzpod is designed to keep lunch boxes safe and bacteria free. Kidzpod, is constructed from strong plastic material which is coated with BioCote, an anti-bacterial protection proven to kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria.
Kids can also express their individuality by decorating the Kidzpod with their own graphics. A panel on the front of the box enables the easy insertion of a design of their choice be it SpongeBob, Doctor Who or even their very own personal work of art.”
Hy-Pro: Simon Pickavance, commercial director
“Hy-Pro International has various products which fit into the traditional Back to School ranges.
Holding official product licences for Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham, we have a large luggage range which includes backpacks, gym sacks, lunch boxes and boot bags.
Hy-Pro also have various scooter ranges from tri scooters to folding in-lines which are fun to ride and can make the commute to school easy.
One of Hy-Pro’s main objectives is to keep children active outside. Children are always after the latest craze and the Zinc Volt electric scooter range is perfect for children to use when travelling to school.
Toy stores are definitely missing out on scooters in their Back to School ranges.
Using scooters to travel to school is an easy alternative to walking or driving, it also motivates children to want to go to school so they can show their friends their new toy making the journey to school fun.
Additionally, when it is time to go back to school parents have to fi nd ways in which they need to take their child to school; the Zinc Volt electric scooter is ideal for this. It does not cause pollution and gives children a chance to learn the skill of independence once they know a route to school and can cross roads safely.”
Posh Paws: Lauren Hayward, group brand manager
“At Posh Paws, our Back to School offering has evolved over the last two years; we’ve won some exciting new licences for the development of backpacks and it is an area that we continue to focus.
We now have a wide selection of backpacks to suit all ages from pre-school to secondary school.
Our Disney plush bags are perfect for any pre-schooler and includes the most popular characters. In addition we have a fantastic backpack range of the ever-popular Minions, some of which will first hit the
shelves during the upcoming Back to School period.
Our Despicable Me bag collection varies in sizes to suit different ages and includes wipe-clean styles, which will be popular with mums, as well as high-quality bags with extra little details for all the Minion fans.
More children are looking for branded backpacks from a licensed TV show or movie and, therefore, there is definitely a market for backpacks in toy shops as it can easily be an extension of an existing range.
Due to the increase in our range of backpacks we’ve seen particular growth with major toy retailers in this market.
Whilst parents will tend to buy clothing at the supermarkets only during the Back to School period there is still a huge opportunity for a school range to remain present in toy shops all year round. Kids often look for new stationery items or a new backpack throughout the year, so there will definitely be a need or want for the latest items.
For any toy shop starting out with a Back to School range, I would recommend purchasing items from their top performing licensed toys in-store and monitor closely for a six to 12 month period.
Back to School seems to have been dominated by the supermarkets and M&S over the last few years, but you just have to check out the toy retailers who range back to school bags to see what an opportunity there is especially for the toy retailer and all the year round.”
LeapFrog: Emily Brown, UK and EMEA product manager
“Going back to school can be such a whirlwind for families and we at LeapFrog want to help make this time as easy as possible for both parents and children.
We are dedicated to creating innovative products that help children develop a passion for learning and support parents during this exciting journey and have a wealth of educator approved learning toys, such as LeapReader.
This clever pen like device is the number one learn-to-read-and-write solution, enabling children to build their
confidence in key educational skills.
LeapReader provides interactive guidance by reading aloud words and sentences when the stylus touches the story pages, whilst bringing some of the most popular children’s licences, including Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, to life.
Technology plays a key role in children’s lives and is becoming a key element in developing key educational skills – it is no longer just about having the right accessories.
LeapFrog’s Back to School offering recognises the importance of developing reading basics and other essential skills in preparing young children for school.
All of our products and content are created in conjunction with an inhouse team of educational experts to guarantee the best learning experience for children through technology.
Parents are increasingly incorporating technology into their child’s learning development, especially in the early stages, so it is becoming easier to prepare children for those Back to School moments.
At LeapFrog, we endeavour to develop products which help children build a passion for learning outside of school, which is relevant throughout the whole year.
Our LeapFrog Learning library has a wealth of content which lets parents easily personalise their child’s learning journey by choosing titles based on reading levels, favourite characters, or learning style, offering the most engaging, high-quality educational solution available to help children learn to read and write.”
West Design: Jo Bray, marketing director
“With West Design originally coming from more of an art and stationery background, we have long seen the benefits in the Back to School season.
This gives our customers an opportunity to stock a new type of product at the most critical time in the school calendar. It also falls outside of the normal buying period, enabling retailers to stock a range they wouldn’t normally stock at Christmas or indeed other times of the year.
It gives us as suppliers an opportunity to showcase new products that were previously not available for key toy fairs and buying shows.
Back to School gives the retailer another opportunity for additional sales outside of Easter/Christmas, which could in turn see increased orders.
It is also for an extended point of time. It can now start as soon as the summer term finishes in July and goes right through to the new term in September, enabling retailers to focus on it with window displays etc, particularly if the weather is poor and, therefore, outside toys are not selling.
Currently with the marketplace as it is, any opportunity for increased sales can surely only be seen as a positive benefit.”