Baby & Children's Product News

APR-MAY 2018

Baby & Children's Product News™ is dedicated to the needs of the juvenile retailer, whether "big box" or independent specialty store. Reach juvenile retailers with new product information through our pages.

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10 APRIL/MAY 2018 BABY & CHILDREN'S PRODUCT NEWS ™ B y sharing ideas and pooling busi- n ess resources, independent re- tailers, manufacturers, and sales representaves who sell toys can help each other thrive in the marketplace, ac- c ording to Kimberly Mosley, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing As- s ociaon (ASTRA). This is a fundamental principle that has guided the American Specialty Toy Retailing Associaon (ASTRA) since its founding more than 25 years ago. The vi- sion behind ASTRA's founding was "we are mighty together." Many ASTRA members extend thee same helpfulnews they offer their cus- tomers to their fellow store owners. The ways that ASTRA retailers share "what works" ranges from the online ASTRA Connects community to a quick phone conversaon to ask for advice. ASTRA members can also learn and network at the organizaon's annual Marketplace & Academy—this year to be held June 10- 13 in New Orleans. With 500+ exhibitors, over 30 hours of educa+on, and more than 1,300 retailers in a,endance, ASTRA's Marketplace & Academy is a one-stop place to find the year's best toys, on-target business strategies, and the top toy retailers in the business—the ones a retailer should make an extra effort to meet. ASTRA can help retailers grow their toy sales through business educa+on, networking, product sourcing and dis- counts, and customer contact. Business Educaon At the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy retailers can learn from the best—quickly and conveniently. In addi+on, industry experts offer insights on new product adop+on and marke+ng trends in the in- dustry. Retailers can bolster their business know-how, from marke+ng to personnel t raining to merchandising, when they be- come an ASTRA Cer+fied Master Retailer. A retailer can become a community's play authority with ASTRA's Cer+fied Play E xpert program. Available on demand sessions taught b y industry experts cover topics to help a retailer run their business profitably. Re- tailers can build business know-how and stay informed with the weekly ASTRA Di- gest, the quarterly ASTRA Toy Times Magazine, and special ASTRA publica- +ons. Networking ASTRA Connect, a business sounding board, can be used to reach a robust on- line community of specialty toy retailers who share ideas and informa+on. And toy retailers can catch up with old friends and new industry contacts at the annual Marketplace & Academy, at ASTRA Meet, Visit, and Play events around the country, and at ASTRA's pavilion at Toy Fair events. The ASTRA Member Directory allows members to find manufacturers, sales reps, and affiliates using the organiza- +on's online membership directory. Product Sourcing and Discounts ASTRA Connect also allows members to contact fellow re- tailers online and locate items not presently on hand for a customer request. In addi+on, ASTRA Toy Times Magazine al- lows retailers to keep up with new manufacturers and special deals in the quarterly publica+on. At Toy Fair, ASTRA members can par- +cipate in Share the Fair to spot the stand-out, don't-miss products they may not locate themselves. Year 'round, ASTRA members can take advantage of specials, product support for in-store events, and staff training from the organiza+on's manufacturing members. In addi+on, ASTRA provides business service discounts by nego+a+ng for savings from vendors offering mem- ber discounts on shipping, payment pro- cessing, email marke+ng, retail consul+ng, and more. Customer Contact Among the organiza+on's many serv- ices for retail members is a 24/7 online store finder, a user-friendly store map on www.astratoy.org for every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or child care giver when they look for quality toys. Use of the ASTRA logo on retailers' doors and website reminds parents that the retailer is part of the na+on's best in- dependent toy seller network. Another service that works for mem- ber retailers and consumers is the Best Toys for Kids Awards, a list of top toys chosen by ASTRA retailers and viewed by millions na+onwide. Free marke+ng ma- terials are also available. ASTRA's annual consumer outreach program—Neighborhood Toy Store Day—starts the holiday season by pro- mo+ng local shopping and par+cipa+ng independent toy stores. Those independent toy retailers selling the best toys in the busi- ness were mighty to- gether back then, and are even more mighty together today in light of the many changes in the retail world. For informa+on visit www.astratoy.org. About ASTRA Founded in 1992, the American Spe- cialty Toy Retailing Associa+on (ASTRA) is an interna+onal not-for-profit trade or- ganiza+on that develops and supports a membership of independent retailers, manufacturers, and sales representa+ves in the toy industry. Inspired to change the world through the power of play, ASTRA's dedicated professionals are commi,ed to providing healthy, quality play materials that have a high play value and focus on what a child can do, rather than what the toy can do. For more infor- ma+on call 312/ 222-0984 or visit www.astramarketplace.org. ◆ ASTRA Can Increase Toy Sales

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