October 30, 2010
What’s Hot and What’s Not
Everyone is always looking for the next “Super Hot” toy or trend. This is true of redemption merchandise as well as the volatile retail market. As most of us in the amusement industry understand, we follow the retail merchandise trends. We all try to stay on top of the latest licenses and we look to the movie industry to provide us with the next SpongeBob, Spider-man, Iron Man, and other characters, who, pardon the pun, have “legs” or a relatively long life span in the merchandise business. And if we get really lucky, merchandise like a “Slinky” or a Monopoly Game, or a Barbie Doll are always good buys for our redemption counters because they are classics.
While all merchandise, retail or redemption, seem to go in cycles, some thankfully never come back to haunt us. But if a demand is created and sometimes re-created for something such as Pokémon, Pet Rocks or even the more recent Bakugan and Zhu Zhu Pets would we stock them again? You betcha! What the customer wants, the customer gets!
This year, so far, the hottest item has been some version of a rubber band bracelet. It has a multitude of names you will find whether you see them at a retail store, in the mall at their own special kiosk, or at the redemption counters. They may be called Silly Bandz, Zany Bands, Crazy Bandz, or something similar. You can buy different licenses such as MLB, NFL, Disney Princess, Barbie and any of the Marvel characters like the Super Heroes. Then there are all the various generic shapes such as farm animals, zoo animals, dinosaurs, boats, wildlife, sea life, any kind of life! You can even buy glow in the dark rubber band bracelets and promote them at your black light mini golf, glow bowling or laser tag facility. You name it and it’s been made into an inexpensive, collectible, rubber band bracelet!
But just like any other item you buy for your redemption counter, you have the option of buying quality merchandise or non-quality items. Even though the Silly, Crazy, Zany bands are inexpensive, that doesn’t mean they have to be of cheap quality. Anything that a customer wins as a prize at your facility shouldn’t break before they get out the door. Obviously, that only makes unhappy children, unhappy parents and ultimately an unhappy business owner because you cannot afford to get a reputation in your community of cheating your customers by providing poor quality merchandise. For example, did you know that the rubber band bracelets of the best quality are actually made of silicone? Did your redemption supplier tell you which one you were buying? Or did you know enough to ask that question?
The secret to providing quality redemption merchandise is of course having a quality redemption merchandise supplier. So do some shopping for your quality redemption merchandise supplier. Make sure that it is a full service company that will keep your counters updated with the latest trends and provide you with great customer service as well as great quality merchandise. After all, that is what you deserve and that is what you want to pass on to your customers, right?
(Sondra Doyle is the marketing coordinator/senior account representative of Sureshot Redemption.)