No one said it was going to be easy ... consumer shows and festivals are a lot of work. It's like owning a portable, traveling retail store. But the payoff is immediate, and the consumer data I collect is an invaluable source of information. Each and every time I add a new product to AltogetherAnna.com I am committing to building a new brand and creating a winner.
So how do I do this? I believe in going narrow and deep in my product selection. I buy enough inventory on my first order to ensure that I can make it a winner. You can't sell what you don't have. So I don't buy 3 or 6 of anything. I usually start with case quantities. Once I am confident that my "gut" instinct is correct, and that consumers will like the product as much as I do, then I commit to larger quantities based on sales activity and turn around times. Managing my inventory is as important for me as it is for any bricks and mortar store.
Where I have been particularly successful is in demonstrating products that I am building. Being able to speak to the features and benefits of the product or teach how to play a game in 60 seconds is really important. No one will give you more than that if you can't keep them engaged.
I attended ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Denver last month) with the sole purpose of starting a Family Games category on AltogetherAnna.com. I knew I was going to be attending many outdoor festivals and markets this summer and SCRUBBY Soap and Swedish Dish Cloths would be a strong focus for me. But I also know women, they are always looking to buy great new items.
So my top 5 ASTRA items are:
1. Mobi Math Game - plays crossword style, each person plays their own "pod" but it is numbers and equations instead of alphabetical characters.
2. Tenzi - dice game which is hugely popular and has been well recommended to me by industry friends as one of their very best sellers.
3. Last Mouse Lost - great item for little people and adults. This one demos well and sells at a high rate. I sold out of my first 24 units in less than two weeks. Waiting for next weeks order.
4. Spin-balls - this is an active play item. The POP unit is what sold me. It has a little TV that shows people the product in use. I am starting to get the hang of it. Watch my video live on AltogetherAnna.com or Facebook.
5. Smencils - a great display, with lots of options and no adult will say no to a smelly pencil for their little person. $2.00 is a great price point for an impulse item.
The key to making a product sell is engaging the consumer. Training and developing your teams on how to share the pertinent information in a way that makes the team and the consumer feel good about the product is the biggest challenge. I find that once they have experienced my products, and they have had fun with them, then the objections take care of themselves.
I never sell a product I don't personally use or love.
I'm Anna Longo,