Playcon is an annual toy industry convention, in which the industry’s biggest players gather to discuss the future of the business. This year, Playcon live streamed the Toy Association’s free industry open forum on retail disruption and a changing marketplace. On hand was founder of Strategic Marks, LLC Ellia Kassoff. Strategic Marks is the company behind the resurgence of KB Toys. Kassoff gave the crowd a little information about how KB Toys will be making their comeback.
If you want to read a synopsis without watching the video above, check out some of the highlights below!
Kassoff says that the goal is to bring back KB Toys so it is just the way that people remember it, while giving it a modern upgrade. He says that it will be an 80/20 split with the majority being they way you remembered it. They want the experience that adults had as kids at KB Toys, to be there just like they remember it.
They will start by hiring the key group of people at Toys R’ Us, which they have already been talking with. They will start with 300-400 pop-up stores during this holiday season. The pop-up store idea is twofold. It is a quick way to get out there, but also a quick way to test each market. At the end of January they will evaluate the success of each location and determine whether to keep them or look for new locations that might fit better. The goal for the next 3-4 years is to have 600-800 permanent stores.
They analyzed the problems that Toys R’ Us faced and KB Toys to see what failed and realized it was investors (Bain Capital). Big malls are going to provide the funding for these new pop-up stores. Kassoff said that in the past malls typically disliked KB Toys due to having product out in front and sometimes outside of their available space, but the malls have realized that they need the foot traffic from toys stores.
KB Toys will also be doing a lot of work with collectors, as well as roadshows with some of the toy vendors. They are looking at innovative ways of getting people into toy stores again. Each store will have a “Toy Nerd”, basically someone that is an expert at collecting toys. Someone that likes mint packaging, and knows what collectors want. Kassoff also said that KB Toys will host “meet and greets” to have autograph sessions with toy designers.
There will also be larger “Experience” stores that will have cafes for people to hang out, party rooms (which you can book), and registries for birthdays. This larger store will also be able to cater to smaller toy manufacturers, in that their product will have shelf space, unlike the smaller pop-up stores.
As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section about these upcoming KB Toys pop-up stores.