When a big licensing launch lands – make sure you take advantage
There are very few initiatives in the craft sector that drive the same level of hype, excitement and sales than launches that involve a high profile show, character, book or movie. I'm of course, talking about the introduction of a licensed product launch into the market. Due to high levels of existing brand awareness, mass interest and a genuine affection from the audience, craft collections that involve licensed characters tend to be a huge hit. With this in mind, it's absolutely a necessity for craft retailers of all sizes to maximise licensing opportunities around such launches when they come onto the market.
The huge success of licensed ranges in recent years is why, I believe, we're seeing more and more of them in our industry. While some tend to be fads, arriving with a bang and disappearing relatively quickly, others tend to deliver longevity and collectability over a longer period of time. Often the availability of licensed product ranges will coincide with a wider launch to strengthen their impact. For instance, Crafter's Companion has just recently unveiled the Downton Abbey paper crafting collection that tied in with the eagerly anticipated final series of the TV show launched September 2015. In addition, we brought out a further Beatrix Potter collection to coincide with its 100th anniversary and, as The Snowman is synonymous with Christmas, we strive to bring something new each festive season with this brand. Given your customers are likely to have been exposed to the mass advertising and exposure that goes hand-in-hand with these launches, you must ensure your store is prepared and ready with the relevant ranges in-store to take full advantage.
An issue I've seen on numerous occasions is retailers going out of stock very quickly when dealing with blockbuster products. They underestimate how powerful these brands are in terms of driving sales. So, if there's a major launch on the horizon, do make sure you have enough stock to deal with the demand.
Another key area in which licensed ranges can be very effective is when they're promoted as gift ranges. For instance, if a craft customer has a friend or sister that loves Downton Abbey, then you just know they'll want to get their hands on the official range so they can craft something very personal for someone special. So again, think about this with respect to how your range is merchandised and promoted in-store.
More often then not, licensed collections tend to be just that, several complementary products to make up the collection, so bulk deals and offers to entice customers to purchase a few items in one go make a lot of sense. Last but certainly not least, make sure you communicate all of this to your customers in advance of the launch in the form of posters in store, posts on Facebook, and perhaps an email newsletter to inform them of the launch to make sure they know your store has the latest launch in-store. So there you have it, benefit from the mass marketing might that goes with these launches by delivering to your customers at a store level. Believe me, you won't regret it. And once you've experienced the customer engagement and sales uplift first hand, you'll know what to do for the next one.
Sara Davies is a Durham-born craft entrepreneur and the founder of Crafter's Companion. For further information, visit www.crafterscompaniontrade.co.uk
Date Posted: 8 February 2016
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