Industry Outlook

Planning Your Holiday 2011 Strategy? Think ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids

It may be the middle of the summer, but retail members of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) have their sights set on the 2011 holiday season: planning strategy, ordering products, and building marketing resources to ensure a successful fourth quarter.

One of those resources can be ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program. Twenty two top toys are chosen each year by “America’s Play Experts”—ASTRA independent retailers nationwide—to represent the best of what specialty toy stores have to offer customers who are seeking high play value for their children and grandchildren. These Best Toys for Kids focus on the features of the play, rather than the features of the toy. The list is designed to be a holiday marketing tool that independent retailers can use to build their brand and distinguish themselves from their big box, mass market competitors.

ASTRA supports the Best Toys for Kids award program with several tools that retailers can use in their local markets and in their stores, including:

  • A four-color, four-page, professionally designed flyer for use in mailings or newspaper inserts. All ASTRA retail members receive 100 complimentary copies with the option of ordering more. (In 2010, ASTRA members distributed a total of 800,000 Best Toys for Kids flyers.) Stores can get a personalized imprint on the flyer with an order of 3,000 pieces or more.
  • Template press releases promoting Best Toys for Kids award winners that retailers can tailor to their stores and distribute in their local markets
  • A range of tools sent to ASTRA retailers (free!) to help them promote Best Toys for Kids winners in their stores, including signage and buttons
  • National media support of Best Toys for Kids in parenting magazines and mommy blogs

Now is the time to start planning how Best Toys for Kids can help you sell more during the 2011 holiday season. We encourage retailers to use the list especially in conjunction with November’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day. For more information, check out ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids site at

Kathleen McHugh is president of ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.

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