aNb Media News, December 12, 2018

Spielwarenmesse Announces Toy Business Forum for 2019

Every day at 1-3 p.m. from January 30-February 3, 2019, experts at the Toy Business Forum in Hall 3A will show independent retailers and buyers how to equip themselves for changing markets.

Each day is devoted to a different topic area. The morning LicenseTalks from Wednesday to Friday represent a new addition to the program. The presentations spotlighting the trends at the Spielwarenmesse bring each day to a close.

Toy trends from all over the world
The presentations start on Wednesday with a focus on trends in the toy industry and retail trade. Toy trend expert Reyne Rice will shed a light on the latest toys and technical toys, while Richard Gottlieb, CEO of Global Toy Experts, will outline the global challenges facing the toy industry. Frank Rehme (gmvteam GmbH) will present retail trends from different countries.

Creating new retail experiences
On Thursday, attention will turn to the future of bricks-and-mortar retailers in the era of digitalization and online trade. Offering plenty of inspiration, speakers Christian Prill and Klaus-Dieter Koch will show retailers how to face off their competitors by offering engaging customer experiences. Claudia Rivinius, STI Group, believes in using the element of surprise to create new buying incentives at the point of sale. Kimberly Mosley, ASTRA president, will highlight real-life examples as well as the kind of creative activities and promotions retailers can use to captivate their audience and boost sales.

Customer centricity
On Friday, the customer is the focus. Axel Dammler, iconkids & youth GmbH, will look at how children play around the world, whereas Florian Klaus, K&A BrandResearch AG, will start with the generational difference between parents and grandparents making toy purchases. Karen Klessinger of Berlin-based dan pearlman will explain how retailers in the digital age can benefit from their customers in two different ways.

Transforming the retail trade
Saturday’s presentations revolve around the topic of change management. In his talk “Dynamite for Mavericks”, keynote speaker Dr. Peter Kreuz will encourage retailers to embrace new ideas. Known for his ability to think outside the box and motivate others, the best-selling author has some encouraging words for those wanting to make a real difference to their businesses. Lena Pieper unveils “Design Thinking” as an innovative method, using practical examples to illustrate opportunities available to trade and industry. Florian Dohmann, Birds on Mars GmbH Berlin, demonstrates how artificial intelligence can be used to enhance creativity.

Marketing in focus
Influencer marketing, storytelling and social media are on the agenda for Sunday. Belgian Joeri Van den Bergh, InSites Consulting, will present marketing strategies for the next decade. Heide Herbst, Team Lead Sales, blogfoster Berlin, will show how influencer marketing can be employed successfully. And because facts are no longer enough to gain consumer’s trust, Dr. Nikolaus Förster, publisher of business magazine Impulse, makes a case for storytelling.

First Walmart eCommerce Store Opens in Japan

The Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, officially launched on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall.

The digital Walmart store offers Japanese consumers access to U.S. branded products, including fashion apparel, outdoor goods, and toys. The store will initially offer approximately 1,200 products from a diverse range of brands. Orders will be fulfilled in the U.S. and air freighted directly to Japanese customers, with a no-surprises policy that includes shipping, duties, and taxes in the product price.

Walmart plans to continue expanding its product range and adding new product categories from its international assortment to the Rakuten Ichiba store to meet customer needs. Walmart’s Japanese subisidary Seiyu GK will provide customer support for the store.

The digital Walmart store on Rakuten Ichiba is part of a strategic alliance between Walmart and Rakuten announced in January this year, expanding consumer reach and enhancing the way customers are served in Japan and the U.S. The new deal expands on previous ventures that have already rolled out this year including the Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, an online grocery delivery service that leverages Seiyu’s experience in local fresh food and grocery segments to Rakuten’s roughly 99 million members, and Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, which give U.S. Walmart customers access to a comprehensive catalog of more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks, as well as the Kobo eReader and a co-branded free reading app for iOS and Android devices.