Are new, exclusive toys key to Walmart’s Christmas success?
Back-to-school and Halloween displays are still up in stores, but it’s never too early to talk about Christmas as the season seemingly creeps up earlier every year. Yesterday, Walmart made the start of its season official with its annual release of 25 toys the company expects to be top sellers during the holidays.
Walmart’s list was developed with the assistance of hundreds of kids between 18 months and 12 years old who play with the toys and let the retailer know their favorites. Among the top toys on this year’s list include the new Hatchimals Surprise, Fingerlings and littleBits’ “Star Wars” Droid Inventor Kit.
Also, featured in Walmart’s top toy list are exclusives to the retailer including a “Frozen” sleigh. Of the 1,000 new toys Walmart plans to have on its shelves and online for the holidays, 300 will be exclusive to the chain.
Walmart rival Target offered 1,800 exclusive toys for the holiday season in 2016, according to CNBC. Toys“R”Us has also featured exclusives in recent years to create a point of difference with mass merchants and Amazon.com during the holidays.
This year, Walmart is bringing back its layaway service to give customers the option of paying for bigger ticket items over time. The chain has included the top 25 toys among thousands of products available for purchase on layaway. There is no fee to open an account. Customers need to put down 10 percent or $10, whichever is greater, to get started and have until Dec. 11 to pay off the remaining balance.
Retailers, including Barnes & Noble, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s, have expanded toy selections in recent years to draw more customers into stores during the critical selling season. In July, Penney announced it would open toy shops in all its stores while expanding assortments online. The shops are positioned next to the Disney Collection area in Penney’s stores. The chain is also adding play areas for kids to try out toys. Penney, which doubled its online selection of toys over the past year, plans to add even more for the holidays.
- The Kids Have Spoken! Walmart Reveals the Hottest Toys for the Holidays – Walmart
- Wal-Mart hopes to win this holiday season with exclusive toys, layaway – CNBC
- Can toys raise J.C. Penney’s game? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important will exclusive toys be to Walmart’s success in the category this holiday season? What role will layaway play? Are in-store departments and shops still as important in the toy category as in the past?