Licensing Expo: What's Next for Toy Retailers?

The ways in which the toy and licensing industries are looking toward the future shape of retail as well as how consumers will become exposed to and buy their products was a central, hot-button topic during yesterday’s panel presentation “The Shape of Toy Retailing in a Changed World.”

The panel presentation featured speakers David Conn of ThreeSixty Brands, which owns FAO Schwarz; Eva Lorenz, general manager, toys and games, Amazon.com; and Stephanie Wissink, managing director, senior research analyst, consumer products, Jefferies. Marty Brochstein, senior vice president, industry relations and information, International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, moderated the panel.

During the presentation, the panelists all agreed when it came to retailers shifting their focus toward a new demographic of parents, as well as using 360-degree touchpoints such as content, experiential activities and an omni-channel approach to reach consumers. The panelists also touched on social media influencers and how they can benefit brands in the ever-changing retail landscape.

“You have to recognize the demographic change in terms of today parents,” says Wissink. “You’re talking about a Millennial cohort, digitally native and certainly digitally savvy. They are looking for experiences that run the gamut across almost every touch point.

“The second thing is content convergence,” continues Wissink. “You can’t have an experience in the toy space today without some form of storytelling, whether that’s movies, TV or digital content. One of the things that we’re particularly focused on is this idea of ‘kidult,’ where we see entertainment expanding beyond the traditional kid range. For example, over the last two years or so, we’ve taken a slightly different view–it’s not online or offline, it’s online and offline. We think this is a new governing model that will really drive the industry over the next decade or so.”

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