We sat down with local retailer Kim Ramsey of The Toy Room for her tips and tricks on holiday selling.
How can indie retailers stand out this holiday season?
“Keep doing what indie retailers do best: offer the best service. Hands-on customer service is something you really don’t get at a box store. We have more of a story behind our products rather than someone just pointing to aisle three. So whether that’s free gift-wrapping or in-store events, keep doing what you’re doing.”
When do you start buying for the winter holidays?
“I attend ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) in June. They have really great shipping deals. So, I’ll finish 80% of my buying in the summer. These are core toys that will arrive in late September / early October.
The remaining 20% are stocking stuffers and impulse buys that we’ll fill in. I also keep some money put away for unexpected trends such as the Silly Bandz®, Squishees®, or fidget spinners.”
How do you advertise for the holiday season?
“Facebook: all the parents are there. I post as much as I can and do boosted posts. We also do a monthly giveaway or contest on Facebook. It’s always a challenge figuring out where to put ad dollars. A lot of times we’ll pool together with other local stores to promote shopping downtown: it gives us more bang for our buck. Overall, word of mouth is our biggest referral. But it takes time.”
Any final advice?
“Be involved in the community. Participate in local events. If something is going on I’m involved in one way or another whether its volunteering or giving donations. I’m also a board member on the Chamber of Commerce. Working with the community, you really build a network of people that all help each other. We’re not competitive with other downtown businesses. We all help each other and send customers each other’s way.”