If you’re around my age, you probably remember the thrill of getting the Sears Toy Catalog every year before Christmas. I’d spend hours pouring over the pages, carefully considering exactly what I wanted Santa to bring me. Sears is long gone, but the toy catalog remains fresh. Amazon, Walmart, and Target have all revived the printed catalog in an effort to capture holiday sales. (Print is definitely not dead, btw.)

One of my clients is a locally owned and operated old-school, brick-and-mortar toy store, and, like most other small retail businesses, needs to compete against the big box/online mega-retailers. Their selection of toys and games, in my opinion, blows away the competition. Unique items that you just can’t find in the impersonal aisles of Walmart line every shelf. Arts and crafts kits I wouldn’t mind getting under the tree.

Their mix of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce brings interesting challenges. The majority of their clients are repeat customers who enjoy the experience of walking through the store, talking to one of the owners about what makes a particular toy so engaging or what its educational benefits are. In fact, before Covid, the store didn’t even have an e-commerce platform! So while it is now available, it represents a smaller portion of their total sales.

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