What Toys Will Be in Your Store Window?

My friend Allison Collins is enjoying her new job at C.B. Fox. 

And how could she not? It’s her job to decide what toys will be in the kids’ department. 

You may not realize what a big deal it is to be the chooser of the toys. But I will say this to put it into perspective. We live in a small town, and often when you go to a birthday party you can tell from the familiar wrapping paper that over half of the gifts are from C.B. Fox. We have to get some new stuff in there otherwise kids will be able to guess what they got!
Plus, if people have been walking past the store window and things haven’t changed in a while, why go in?

The way she went about deciding how to spend the toy budget might help anyone who needs to decide what to put in their business’s window display. 

Gather Information

First she used a household budget template to keep track of what she was spending money on, and categorized the different types of toys. She printed out purchase orders from the past year to get an idea of what people like to buy already. She loves going through sales data and said, “I was giddy when I got to pull these reports.”

Challenge your own assumptions

When she first started, there was a sad display of Nano Blocks. It was like the bottom of the barrel and she assumed that they weren’t very popular. But when she started to look into the reports, she noticed that Nano Blocks actually sold really fast, but she didn’t notice right away because they were categorized under “misc.” 

Someone else didn’t think that the Klutz books were very popular for the same reason… the supply was dwindling. But once they restocked people bought them really quickly. 

“I needed to get over my own biases,” said Allison. “For example, sparkles are hot right now and I am not a sparkle person. And then a mother and a daughter came in and they were disappointed that there weren’t any sparkly handbags in stock. So I was sure to order more of those things.”
Allison also had to admit that she was at first pretty biased against girly little toys like Calico Critters. But those are some of the best selling toys. (My daughters love them). 

With my business, I think I know what people need but I’m probably wrong on several levels. That’s why I’m signed up to give a presentation for 1 Million Cups to ask a group of entrepreneurs for some feedback on what they really need because I don’t want to guess wrong. 

Get to know the suppliers

Some of the decisions that she made came down to the policies of the suppliers. For example, one supplier required her to order the items in bulk and she didn’t have the room.

Look ahead for special events and tie-ins

Every spring there is a kite festival in Los Alamos, and that had her browsing through the kite catalog. 

For any business, it is always a good idea to see what’s coming up on the calendar to see who you can partner up with, what holidays people will be celebrating, and what events you can line up with to bring more excitement to your business. 

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed seeing Allison’s analytical approach to buying toys for the store. 

I’m frequently in the process of evaluating and adjusting what I do for people. But I think that’s because everyone needs something different.
How do you go about deciding what products and services to offer in your business? Leave a comment and let me know. 


Getting Paid to Watch Ads

“Why didn’t I think of that?”


That’s what was going through my head the first time that I heard about AdWallet, a new company in Albuquerque that lets you get paid to watch ads. 

As marketers, we spend so much time trying to get people’s attention, find the people who actually are interested in the product and get them to actually remember what they heard.  

AdWallet has taken these inconvenient truths and made them part of the process. Rather than obstacles, they are part of the business plan. 

Business owners buy ads with AdWallet, and those ads are shown to the community of AdWallet users who have filled out a questionnaire about their interests and lifestyle. When the users see the ads, they fill out a quiz. When they answer the questions correctly they get paid fifty cents per ad. 
The ad viewers have an incentive to watch the ads and the people buying ads are more likely to reach their real customers. It’s taking off in New Mexico, and they are getting ready to roll it out in other parts of the country too. 

Check it out here
And let me know what you think of it. 

Valerie Martinez, the sales director for AdWallet, says that she has an introductory offer for new advertisers. 

With a committed spend of $3,000 (credits are good for 24 months), the advertiser will get all 3,000 credits to use on AdWallet and AdWallet will produce a commercial on us for the client (Animated or Live Action).

You can reach Valerie at 505-974-1996.  

See how easy it is to raise money on your birthday

I spent last week working with the high school marching band, and it was a fun and fulfilling experience.

The kids were amazing. In a matter of days they memorized a great deal of music, improved their marching and are on a great start for the season. 

I wanted to do something nice for them and support them. So I ran a Facebook birthday fundraiser for them. (Here is the fundraiser page. Please donate if you can!)
I want to tell you about this Facebook feature, because it was easier to use than I expected.

You can set up a fundraiser any time. But the birthday fundraisers are more effective because more people look at your profile on your birthday than any other day, and people will donate to your cause to be nice to you. 

You find the feature by going to the Home section on your Facebook account and click on Fundraisers on the left column under Explore.  

My biggest worry was that it wouldn’t work because the Band Boosters aren’t set up to accept online donations. But it doesn’t matter. The company that runs these fundraisers just sends the money to the organization. All I had to do was search for their Facebook page and it was ready to go.

Once your fundraising page is set up, you can invite your friends and share it on your wall, etc. 

One thing that was annoying. And I make this mistake with Facebook all the time. I got a little over ambitious trying to invite my friends. I was using my phone and clickclickclicking until I thought my thumbs would fall off. Then when I was done I got a message that said that I invited too many people and had to start over. So don’t do that!

If you’re in an organization that needs to raise money, I recommend trying this.