In 2016 the retail toy category was primarily focused on children. As the gaming segment matured and gamers aged, toys that support the interests of gamers evolved. At that time nobody was working with suppliers, quality of products was inconsistent and pricing ranged from $1.99 others $199.00. Retailers saw an opportunity and needed a resource to sort out the complexities of what was possible.
One retailer came to us for help. With 10+ years in the industry and 20+ years in retail merchandising we agreed to develop a statement that met retail expectations. We engaged suppliers and on-boarding goods began. We drew upon many aspects of our business; buyer relationships, inventory planning, advertising, marketing and product development.
In the fall of 2016 there were 5 suppliers in our network. Our product offering was less than 20 at launch. We moved quickly. We tested and evolved at speed, navigating price points, in-store vs. online. We developed assortments that were too fringe and others too mainstream. We found a mix for the consumers our retail partners wanted to attract. Collectables quickly developed into a program that mirrors retail objectives and introduces them to a new consumer.
We’ve refined our processes and expanded our product development and inventory planning capabilities. U&I complements the touch points between the suppliers that innovative and drive the market and retailers that serve gamer interests.
Together we maximize both retailer and supplier potential. Strategies involve product exclusives and the management of category segments.
The outlook for licensed collectables is exceptional. There is a true thirst for physical products that celebrate the characters and valued assets of a virtual sphere. U&I continues to onboard new suppliers to give them the opportunity to meet and be part of a national retail product story.
Mike Moes at CITIES