Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Small Retailers Can Take On The Retail Giants

How would you like to compete with the biggest retail chains in the country, but without the massive retail chain budget?

Toyota, Big W, Esprit, Westpac - all of them understand the financial benefit of keeping customers with children in the store or branch longer, as not only are they are more likely to spend, but they perceive better customer service and are more likely to return.

Small retailers and chains have the ability to do this too, at minimal cost (just a few hundred dollars) so it is deceptively simple to compete with the big guys and hitch your store onto the child friendly retail trend.

I am always amazed talking to retailers who say "But we don't sell things for children" or "We don't want children in our store" or the classic "We don't have parents shopping in our store."

Now, in some rare cases, this is true. I wouldn't take my toddler to Tiffany for example. Or Chanel. Heck, I don't even take myself there! My credit card wouldn't cope. Nor would my husband for that matter ("That postage-stamp sized handbag was HOW much?")

But the vast majority of retailers, from lighting stores to car dealers to clothing boutiques to vet suppliers are selling to parents, whether they like it or not. And parents, whether they like it or not, go shopping with their kids in tow. 88% of parents, in fact, go to the shops accompanied by their little darlings and 91% of them said they had been unable to make a purchase due to distractions from their children.

So my question to retailers is, do you really want to be missing out on 88% of your potential market?

Let's break that down. If one parent leaves your store every day because there is nothing to occupy their children, and your average sale is, say, $50, that's around $18,000 in lost revenue EVERY YEAR.

"Hold on," you say, "I could seriously make an extra $18,000 a year just by putting in a play solution that will cost me a few hundred bucks? I must be crazy! Bring it on. Where can I get one?!"

At least, that's what I would say if I were a retailer. And that's what the good folk at Esprit and Toyota and 700 other retailers have cottoned on to. Especially at Toyota because their average sale is more like $40,000. Even one family leaving the dealership every week without buying is costing Toyota over $2 million every year.

So I put it to you my retailing friends, whether you are selling barbeques or towels or books, the question is not "Why should I put in a play solution?", it's a resounding and very persuasive "Why haven't I?"

After all, you have at least $18,000 worth of reasons to!

You can find Child Friendly Solutions Play Panels, Play Tables and other play equipment, as well as lots of information on becoming a child friendly retailer, at

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hello 2010 - Are You A Child Friendly Year?

No, no, no . . . it can't be true. February already? Now listen 2010, you're messing with me. Slow down a bit. I need time to write this blog and send e-newsletters and twitter and sell play equipment to savvy retailers and clever doctors and it's impossible to do all that when you insist on marching on so quickly!

If you're like me, the year is racing past and your to-do list is already longer than the queue outside the Myer stocktaking sale a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, the Child Friendly Solutions customers are an organised bunch and we have shipped Play Panels to a lovely long list of shopping centres and medical practices and even a trotting club! I know! Apparently going to the trots is a great day/night out for the family and now you can cheer on your favourite filly at the Bankstown Trotting Club, knowing your toddler is happily and safely occupied with a Child Friendly Play Panel. Giddy up!

New Clients
The latest 'child friendly' gang include:

  • Shepparton Medical Centre
  • Mount Barker Central
  • Dalyellup Family Medical Centre
  • Monkey Mania, Chippendale
  • Stockland Wallsend
  • Stockland Glendale
  • Stockland Bateau Bay
  • Ark Vet, Lindfield
  • Harbour Town West Beach
  • Centro Toombul
  • Sunshine Centre, Greenacres
  • Alice Plaza, Alice Springs
  • Westfield Bondi Junction
  • Onslow Library
  • Union Street Medical Centre, Maclean
  • Frenchville Foodstore
Are you a twit?
Yes, we finally 'tweet'. You can find us at We are tweeting (hopefully!) interesting stuff every day, including retail information, parenting tips, play equipment ideas, inspirational business events I'm attending and sometimes really interesting stuff like what I'm planning to have for lunch (today it'll be tomato & onion tuna on country cheese crackers with a leftover-from-Christmas-shortbread chaser - scintillating huh?)

THE OCCASIONAL TIP - The mess-free way to keep play equipment clean & hygienic
An easy way to keep play equipment clean & hygienic is to use baby wipes! Keep a pack of wipes on hand to quickly wipe down toys or play panels after the child with the chocolate ice-cream cone has left. Quick, mess-free, disposable - love it.

If you're really serious and want the hospital grade variety, Tuffie Wipes, we just happen to sell them. These are the wipes hospitals use to get rid of germs from any and all surfaces. Click here to learn more.

And if you're really, really serious about preventing cross-infection, you should know that hospitals no longer use anti-bacterial sprays on surfaces because apparently the sprays just make the germs airborne. A simple soap-wipe gets rid of them all in one quick swoop. No fancy pants chemicals required. Good to know for home too huh?

You can find Child Friendly Solutions Play Panels, Play Tables and other play equipment at