Industry Outlook

Industry Gears Up for Next Month’s Fall Toy Preview

Buyers from 23 of the nation’s top 25 toy sellers (based on The NPD Group’s 2009 list of Top Toy Retailers) are now pre-registered for next month’s Toy Industry Association-sponsored Fall Toy Preview 2010 at the Dallas Market Center’s World Trade Center. Now in its eighth year (and the fourth in Dallas), the annual by-appointment-only event brings toy companies and their representatives together with mass market retailers for a series of “closed door” appointments where new product lines are introduced nearly a year in advance of in-store delivery.

From Tuesday, October 5 through Friday, October 8, 600 long-lead buyers from more than 250 retail establishments in 28 countries—including powerhouses such as, Babies “R” Us, Big Lots, BJ’s Wholesale, Costco, Disney Store, Hallmark Cards, Meijer, Sears Holdings Corporation, Target, Toys “R” Us, Walgreen’s, and Walmart Stores, Inc., among others—will have opportunities to meet with the 265 toy companies that have exhibit space in either closed (temporary) or permanent Market Center showrooms. Attendance will continue to grow through the show’s opening as TIA continues to focus on increasing the number of category buyers from each retailer.

This year’s introduction of an IT platform that enables vendors, retailers, and manufacturers’ reps to schedule appointments and conduct post-show follow-up is also bringing a heightened level of efficiency and effectiveness to pre-show planning. The Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) MarketGate Software Suite can be as little as a scheduling tool to as much as a database of products, depending upon how an exhibitor wishes to use it. Feedback from the major retailers has been very positive. Entire teams of buyers are relying on the software to confirm their exhibitor appointments. Free interactive webinars and new online tutorials for sellers/exhibitors, retailers/buyers and trade guests help all stakeholders navigate the system.

Additional information and current attendee rosters are available via the Fall Toy Preview website.

Marian Bossard is vice-president of meetings and events for Toy Industry Association.