The youth of today are part of a digital generation that are growing up in a world dictated by technology and the internet.
With the ToyNews Retail Advisory Board in September stating that wearable tech is destined for a phenomenal Christmas, it will come as no surprise that many kids this month will be asking their parents for the latest piece of technology such as Amazon’s Fire HD Kids Edition.
However for some parents, this can be a rather daunting prospect.
A common theme amongst many of the older generation is to view technology as potentially detracting from the ‘essence of childhood’, and parents will therefore want to be reassured on a number of factors.
For instance will the products genuinely offer an educational benefit instead of being just another gaming device which it will be impossible to drag their children away from? Similarly, are the products properly secure and built for children in the sense that they are tougher and less likely to be damaged.
Another common worry is whether the child version of, say a tablet, isn’t a compromise on the latest technology, i.e. you’re not paying over the odds for a lower spec machine than the adult version just to have a child orientated design.
Finally retailers need to be able to reassure parents that their investment in such products isn’t going to be wasted because, firstly it is this year’s craze, secondly their child will grow out of it and finally that newer products will rapidly render it an antique.
Living in a market dominated by online retailers’ promises of low prices and easy shopping, bricks and mortar stores are able to step up by offering parents the in-store ‘human touch’ while reassuring them about the safety measures which can be taken.
Brands therefore need to be confident that store staff are informed on their products and know how to sell technology products aimed at children to parents and relatives.
Manufacturers can further assist by investing in dedicated, knowledgeable brand representatives, who can make a connection with shoppers and guide them through the plethora of choice to find what is right for their child/family and their budget. They can also be on hand to offer assistance, showcase the products and offer tutorials on how to use them.
These staff are in a position – one that can’t easily be replicated online – to demonstrate products which are tailored to each customer’s need and play a vital role in driving sales and boosting attachment rates.
Toys R Us for example has refitted its stores across the UK with a revised and simplified tech section featuring tablets, laptops and kids electronics. The chain has focused on clear and simple new layouts and signage to ensure children and families can easily find what they are looking for.
Middle Eastern retailer The Toy Store has already enhanced its approach and prides itself on in-store theatre, including product demonstrations, competitions, workshops and pantomimes. It effectively enables shoppers to ‘play before you pay’ whilst offering parents the opportunity to ask vital questions about potential gifts. Other retailers need to take note and step up this Christmas by offering a similar experience.
With so much choice on offer, parents who are thinking of buying tech gadgets this Christmas will most likely buy from brands that can offer expert advice or in stores which have simple, easy to understand tech sections.
It is therefore crucial for retailers to ensure their in-store consumer experience is up to scratch offering shoppers the necessary information to make a purchase.
Rupert Cook has been business development director at the Gekko Group (of which g2 is part of) since 2007. Prior to Gekko, Rupert worked in sales, marketing and training roles for mobile networks Orange and Three.