10 Tips for Selling Toys from Dr. Toy

Stevanne Auerbach, Dr. Toy offers her top tips for retailers. New York Puzzle Company

  1. Understand the power of play. Be as expert as possible about play and toys, and select products that fit a wide range of children’s growth and developmental needs. Select items that can be enjoyed by the whole family, including seniors who also mentally ans socially benefit from games and puzzles.
  2. Tailor the best mix of products. Your products should represent the entire range of ages, community, and diversity. Toys sell to a broad range of customers who look for the best they can find and afford. You want your customers to feel confident they made the right choices of gifts that will be enjoyed by the recipients.
  3. Know your customers. Welcome them, and ask them to register as a “valued customer.” Email a monthly or quarterly newsletter, birthday club, and gift “wish lists” including birthdays, holidays, and vacation travel. You can find out what they want, and then do your best to provide those products. Your customers will appreciate this personalized approach.
  4. Enliven in-store experiences. Create a table or counter offering games and demos. Run special events to get customers more engaged in the store. They will keep returning if what you offer is unique, and not found anywhere else.
  5. Brand your store. Make your store more special by creating drawings for prizes, special sales, and promote monthly themes such as holidays, seasons, back-to-school, STEM learning, fantasy play, and nature.
  6. AuroraTrust your expertise. Grow your knowledge of play. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being, and more people understand its importance. Expand upon your skills in business, marketing, and enriching everyday experiences.
  7. Contemplate community outreach. Your sponsorship of local charities, services, groups, or offering prizes for events, provides benefits and increases your store’s name recognition.
  8. Participate. As an essential member of the toy industry, join organizations like ASTRA, TIA and WIT. Read trade magazines, and sign up for the free, long-standing source of industry news, The Bloom Report.
  9. Train your staff. You want your staff to be welcoming, knowledgeable and helpful as they are your store’s best representatives to your customers and they reflect your personal and business values. Train your personnel about age-appropriate toys; stock your store with good choices; and be sure your staff understands developmental milestones, toy appropriateness, and can easily and courteously assist your customers.
  10. Offer a range of playthings. Include variety of toys for all ages and reasons such as active toys like balls, and cars, Frisbee and hula hoops; Creative toys like art kits, Colorforms, coloring books, crayons, Etch a Sketch, sketch pads, pens and puppets; Educational toys and games like books, science kits, STEM products, tech toys, Monopoly, Scrabble and various puzzles.


Dr. Toy, Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts on play, toys, and children’s products. With 30 years of direct experience, Dr. Auerbach includes educationally oriented, developmental and skill building products from the best large and small companies in her four annual award programs. Many parents, teachers and toy buyers use Dr. Toy’s guidance in making selections.

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