WHY TOY STORES RUIN CHRISTMAS

Think back to your childhood.
 
When you’re a kid, Christmas is the most magical time of year.
 
As it should be. You get heaps of gifts just for existing.
 
(If you’re good…I was always good!)
 
There are some stresses involved however.
 
For one, the anticipation.
 
You spend weeks looking at those wrapped boxes sitting under the tree. Wondering and hoping that your favorite toys lie wrapped inside.
 
Two, there’s the uncertainty.
 
It seems that every year there is a high-demand toy that stores just can’t keep in stock.
 
It’s the toy on every commercial. It’s in the news.
 
When the stores do get a few in stock, parents fight over the few parcels like hyenas on a wildebeast hide.
 
Everyone wonders why they can’t just manufacture more of the toy…
 
“Supply chain problems!” say the toy stores.
 
When you’re a kid, you ask Mom and Dad every five minutes if they’ve found The Toy yet.
 
Eventually, you bug your parents so much that they promise to buy you one…If they can find it.
 
Every year!
 
Want to know why?
 
Toy stores have a problem.
 
Around Christmas, they make much of their money for the entire year.
 
Being in business, they want to sell products every month!
 
The Winter months after Christmas are particularly bad for toy stores.
 
Kids still want new toys (that demand is inelastic).
 
But parents are unwilling to buy. The wallet shock of Christmas is still fresh on their minds.
 
What’s a toy store to do?
 
How can you get a parent to buy an expensive, new toy three weeks after he or she just spent half a month’s salary on Pokemon?
 
Make them promise their children.
 
Every year the hot, hard-to-find products dominate the marketing cycle leading up to Christmas.
 
Every year parents promise their children they’ll buy the toy for them.
 
Every year parents cannot find the toy.
 
Instead, parents spend just as much — if not more — on other toys to make up for it.
 
Every year on Christmas morning, Mom and Dad tell Johnny and Jill that they’re sorry. As soon as they can find it, they’ll buy that shiny toy. They promise.
 
Every year that toy magically appears on all the toy store shelves in mid-January.
 
And every year the toy stores get a nice boost in sales during the Winter months.
 
P.S. This insight into Toy Store marketing practices comes from Robert Cialdini’s book “Persuasion: The Psychology of Persuasion“.
 
It’s not widely known, but everybody who is widely known has read it.
 
I cannot recommend it enough. You may find it life changing.

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