Thames & Kosmos celebrates the resilience and creativity of retailers to weather this most difficult time, as many retailers begin to reopen their doors. The team speaks to Louise France at the boutique toy, craft and gift store Craft4Kids, based in Nottinghamshire, about the measures that have been implemented to ensure customers can safely be welcomed back in store. Plus, don’t miss the very latest offer celebrating the reopening of brick and mortar retailers!
Today marks the day where “non-essential” retail shops can reopen their doors to the public in England.
It’s been a very long two and a half months for all high street retailers, including the independents, escape rooms and game shops. Throughout this period, Thames & Kosmos, sellers of board games and science kits, have tried to come up with ways to support their valued customer base.
Jo Drage, sales director at Thames & Kosmos, says: “Brick and mortar shops, alongside nationals, are at the heart of what we do and why I love this job so much. My team and I have supported our customers by offering discounts, running competitions and at times, just lending an ear.
“The resilience and creativity to weather this difficult time has been inspiring and where we have seen a massive increase in demand for board games and science kits in particular, the trade has adapted to fulfil this demand. We have seen customers selling via their social media channels and offering home deliveries. And others have opened “drive-through” game shops or incorporated their toy sales with other services.”
When the Government announced that “non-essential” shops could open (we don’t quite agree with the term non-essential, after all, playing board games most surely kept a lot of us sane during these uncertain times), it felt like a new lease of life was given to the independents. The bricks and mortar shops started announcing their reopening via social media, and the excitement and buzz around it has been infectious.
Everyone is ensuring that they will follow the guidelines by creatively rearranging shop layouts to adhere to the current two metre social distancing rules and ensuring they can accept card payments rather than requiring cash.
Jo Drage says: “Our customers tell us that, whilst they are eager for business as usual, their first priority is for everyone to be safe.”
Thames & Kosmos has seen an increase in customer enquiries for their board games and range of science kits of late. This has been aided by the company’s cooperative trick taking game, The Crew being nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres award, and then coming back into stock in May after it first sold out in February. The company has also been inundated with requests for My City, nominated for Spiel des Jahres, which is due to hit the warehouse in mid-July, just before the winners announcement.
Louise France at Crafts4Kids, says: “We are so excited about the reopening of our boutique toy, craft and gift shop. We really have missed seeing our lovely customers, helping them choose the perfect gift for their friends and family, and seeing children explore all the exciting products – particularly the Thames & Kosmos range.
“It may be a little different inside the store, but we will continue to go over and above for our customers to make sure they feel comfortable and can shop, knowing we have taken all the necessary precautions.”
To follow Government guidelines and ensure the safety of customers, Crafts4Kids has simplified the shop layout to allow for a one-way system and easy viewing of products. A plastic screen has been installed at the till and stickers have been placed on the floor to remind people of the two-metre distance rule. A sheltered waiting area outside of the shop allows the team to limit customers inside if needed.
Louise France adds: “Most importantly the newly laid out shop is full of exciting products that ignite children minds with the Thames & Kosmos games and kits always being a huge hit with customers.”
Thames & Kosmos is today introducing another offer, supporting brick and mortar shops to celebrate their reopening. Customers who place a carriage paid order (MOV of £250) between 15 June – 15 July will receive one of their cool Ooze Labs Filled Display units free of charge! RRP for these CDUs is £100 (25 units per display).
Ooze Labs are fun and simple science experiments in big chunky plastic test tubes making it a perfect pocket money toy for children of ages eight and over and they are a great eye catcher for any counter. If you would like any more details on any of the above, please give Julia, the company’s Science Kit guru a call on 01580 713000 or email email@example.com.
The next few months won’t be easy, but the toy trade community is resilient, and we are certain that any obstacles along the way can be overcome with that positive attitude and energy the toy industry is known and admired for.