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The constant call for reinvention has continued to inspire companies to inject creativity into their digital retailing efforts. A recent addition to that list of companies is Mattel’s Fisher-Price, who leveraged nostalgia and launched a virtual toy museum. Another example of enterprises seizing opportunities to increase direct-to-consumer sales, improve their margins, and re-establish loyalty with their customers.

Digital Retailing: What Is It?

Melanie Borden, VP of Marketing for Celebrity Motor Cars, called digital retailing the “Pajama Shopping” effect in her Digital Dealer article. “Pajama Effect,” she said, “is never having to leave your sofa and being able to order almost anything you want from the comfort of your own home on your phone, tablet or computer.”

digital consumerAnd it makes total sense during these turbulent times. This digital shift in retailing has been around for so long, its most famous application being in the automotive industry. Juliet Guerra, NADA Director of Media Relations, says “dealers across the country have been making strides to implement digital retailing at their dealerships for years, concurrently catering to customers who favor a traditional sales experience.” And while the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital retailing implementation, “dealers are focused on aligning with their customers’ wants and needs.”

Statista reports: “As internet access and adoption are rapidly increasing worldwide, the number of digital buyers keeps climbing every year. In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online. During the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.”

Adopting digital retailing tools can help companies increase sales in their direct-to-consumer channels, while helping build direct relationships with customers. Along the way, enterprises can utilize a little bit of creativity in their marketing efforts. Just as Mattel’s Fisher-Price brand recently did.

Digital Retailing, with a Dash of Childhood Nostalgia

Mobile Marketer and Retail Dive reports Fisher-Price launched a virtual toy museum on Instagram as part of their 90th anniversary.

The Mattel brand aims to leverage childhood nostalgia from classic toys to appeal to the inherent loyalty their customers have. They are encouraging shoppers to take a trip down memory lane as the shopping season for the holidays starts.

The target audience? About 19 million millennial women (55% of the US demographic) who have given birth to at least one child. Timely, considering most parents right now are wondering what gifts to buy for their children this holiday season.

The Fisher-Price Toy Museum boasts classics like the Snoopy Sniffer wooden dog (launched in 1938), Mattel roller skates (1983), and the Soothe & Glow Seahorse (2008). The virtual museum also features other nostalgic toys in static illustrations and animated clips, including the Corn Popper mower (1957), their cassette player (1981), and the Bubble Mower (1983).

The museum also includes a virtual gift shop selling limited-edition accessories, apparel, and housewares from the company’s e-commerce site. Relive your childhood with memorabilia such as Space Blazer socks, Doctor Doodle oversized T-shirts, and vintage Little People lunchboxes.

The Future of Retail

This digital shift in retailing is allowing customers to continue to enjoy shopping in the midst of uncertain times. This virtual exhibit space ticks all the boxes by providing a safe avenue for consumers to shop while triggering positive emotional responses.

As Customer Engagement Expert Howard Schneider puts it: “Nostalgia for more comforting times is a widespread feeling today, creating a fertile field for building emotional loyalty, and the museum serves up heaping helpings of happy memories and compelling stories.”

This, indeed, is the future of retail. Companies should learn to adopt digital retailing tools to boost direct-to-consumer sales and establish consumer loyalty at the same time. Sprinkling a little bit of creativity does wonders, as well, like how Mattel is leveraging the feelings of nostalgia in their customers. In these days of uncertainty, such pursuits can make a difference for an enterprise’s future.

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