Here’s a transcript of our recent interview with Erin Fish of Mattel on the September 5th, 2017 episode of Focus on Suppliers:
What Has Toy Store of the Future and Endless Aisle Done for Mattel?
Erin: Toy Story of the Future was led by the Walmart merchant team: Some of the work that was done is really looking at both the adjacencies that they have in store for toys, but also looking at how they could integrate online.
There are three Toy Stores of the Future, one of which is here in Northwest Arkansas. One piece that you’ll see there is a flat screen that has integration to Walmart.com and allows you to search by play pattern or gender online for the product that you’re looking for, but that might not be in-store.
How Should Suppliers Be Thinking About Pickup Today?
Erin: Pickup Today has grown almost triple digits for us. I think it’s about the consumer having that anytime, anywhere access. One strategy that we have started to employ across the toy department, and Mattel specifically leading the charge, was with open stock. A lot of toys are done in an assortment. As a result, Walmart.com wouldn’t be able to see the inventory that’s available at a store. We’ve moved to open stock so that when you go online, and you see a doll that you want or a cars or vehicle that you want, if that item is carried in-store you’re able to buy it with Pickup Today.
How Does Mattel Make Use of Third-party Marketplaces (3P) ?
Erin: Third-party marketplace is something that is prevalent in the online space; It continues to grow, and it has a role. 3P is supposed to help in Endless Aisle, but also with the long tail – items that are no longer in production that consumers are still looking for. We see it specifically in our collector business. It’s big.
However, some of the challenges actually come from a consumer experience and the assets that 3P sellers put online don’t necessarily represent the way that we want our brand represented. Also, consumers have challenges as it relates to when the product gets to them. One strategy we have tested is actually becoming a 3P seller ourselves. We’ve taken our direct-to-consumer site and made it a 3P seller so that if for some reason a product goes out of stock because it’s sold above forecast, our 3P will pop up. We’ll also be able to provide the best possible experience for the consumer.
Focus on Suppliers covers Walmart, Sam’s Club, and the consumer product companies that are represented on their store shelves throughout the country and around the world. Our focus is on the insights, trends, and best practices to help suppliers grow their business.
The show broadcasts weekly on KNWA-NBC — Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. CST and Sundays at 5 a.m. All episodes and extended interviews are available on YouTube immediately after the TV broadcast (7 p.m. CST). The show is also available via podcast on iTunes.