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Merchandising


park owners have come to rely on them as an added revenue source and a way to augment the customers' experience. CEO Index Promotions’ Charlie Gaffney talks merchandise and marketiing Think about the feeling patrons get when they walk into a


Working your brand M


erchandise and novelty items are a staple of the theme park experience. Customers have come to not only love them, but expect them, and theme


theme park, when kids step foot on their first ride or get in line to meet their favorite super hero. Now imagine creating a way to generate those same feelings with fun and memorable merchandise and novelty items. You want visitors to take a piece of the theme park home with them, a physical reminder of treasured memories – and hopefully keep it around long enough to remind them to return. It can be challenging to accomplish all those goals and consistently come up with creative ways to develop note- worthy merchandise and novelty items, so here are four ways to ensure they remain engaging and successful, hitting the bottom line and giving your park an edge you’re your competitors.


1. Stick with what consumers want Customers want only the best these days. For merchandise and novelty items, firstly make sure they are innovative. You don’t want to replicate what others have done. Choosing a design that is unique will give it longevity and sustainability. Cutting edge and truly original merchandise and novelty items will also allow you to stay ahead of the curve and make you stand apart from other theme parks. The second priority is collectability. Products that consumers perceive to be valuable to a collector have a built-in demand. Consumers are looking for items that they can either add to their collection or resell to a collector. Lastly, and probably the most important, is multi-purpose functionality. Products that have different functionalities and can be used in fun ways after purchase, is something to always have top of mind. A popcorn bucket for example can double as a sand pail or have wheels and long strap to drag as a vehicle. The more you can do with the item, the more it will engage the user and be used in and out of the home for a longer period of time.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


2.Seek guidance from the experts Look for a promotions company which shares the same passion for theme parks as you do and specialises in this area to create products to best meet your goals. You want to partner with a company that has a strong licensing background and familiar with all the top brands. Having experience in this area will allow them to take creative to the next level. Think about what will have the biggest attraction. Think Star Wars and The Simpsons, and the fun and engaging merchandise and novelty items that can be developed to excite consumers and increase revenue. The partner you choose can work with you on a vision and develop products that will make a lasting impression and fly off the shelves.


3.Coincide with what is trending in pop culture Cleverly utilising and cross-promoting a popular movie, television show, and/or video game characters are all good ways to get the creative juices flowing. While there are many things that are trending in pop culture every day, you want to be strategic in choosing something in line with your brand and that will engage your target demographic. You also want to choose a theme that will remain popular longer than a week.


4.Choose your supplier carefully. You’ve worked hard to develop an innovative product and now you have to rely on the supplier to finish the job. If the product is poorly made or late on delivery, it could reflect back on your brand and reputation. Vet your suppliers ahead of time and choose your partners carefully. Done the right way, theme park merchandise and novelty


items are a win-win. The theme park benefits by making the visitor experience more memorable, by getting its brand highlighted in front of thousands of people, and by creating another source of revenue. The customer, meanwhile, gets a cool item to take home as a way to treasure those memories. When the day is done, it’s the item in the kids’ hands on the way home that will be at the front of their minds.


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Four ways to make your merchandise and novelty items successful


Charlie Gaffney is president and CEO of Index Promotions Inc., a leading promotional product agency. The company specializes in the design and manufacturing of high quality premiums, promotional merchandise, and toys for many of the world’s leading brands. www.indexpromotions.com


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