KB Toys Targets Grandparents Shopping For The Holidays

In an effort to boost sales as it moves into the critical fourth quarter, KB Toys is trying a marketing trick

After an eight-week test at a Boston store, KB Toys next week is going national with its Grandparents Rewards Club, said Geoffrey Webb, director of advertising and sales promotion for the Pittsfield, Mass.-based retail chain.

The program gives grandparents who shop on Tuesdays a 10 percent discount. Tuesday is typically the chain's slowest day, "which means grandparents can get more attention from the associates," Webb said. The Rewards Club, which also includes some couponing, increased sales "four to five times in some cases," he added.

While other companies--including Disney and a number of travel marketers--have long targeted the youthful, generous Baby Boomer grandparent, Webb said this is a first for the toy business. But it's a growing market: There will be 80 million grandparents in 2010--up from 69 million in 2000, Webb said, "and we all know how grandparents like to spoil their grandchildren."



Unlike other senior citizen-oriented discounts, age doesn't matter to KB's. "Most senior specials target people 65 and over, and we recognize that many grandparents are much younger," Webb said.

KB, with more than 600 stores, is the nation's largest mall-based retailer in the U.S. It typically does 50 percent of its business in the busy fourth quarter, and while grandparents tend to buys toys year-round, they also increase their purchases around the holidays. Grassroots promotion efforts will focus on community centers, and malls with walking programs. Print ads will also appear in both AARP The Magazine and AARP Segundo Juventud.

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