Variety product pallets are really hard for retailers to resist. They take up less shelf space, their products cross-promote themselves, and they create in-store excitement. With all these ticks in the ‘pro’ column, it’s easy to see why companies like FAB/Starpoint are adopting a new retail strategy that folds in multiple categories
The New York-based manufacturer, whose major offerings encompass tween and juvenile accessories, home décor, art & activity products, gifts, travel and back-to-school, is launching its first multi-category programs at major mass retailers this fall. These include a Hannah Montana pallet of licensed backpacks (US$5 to US$15) and school supplies, and an endcap program for Disney’s Camp Rock property that will feature room décor and gift items (US$10 and up).
FAB/Starpoint EVP Jeffrey Fisher says this type of program maximizes popular brand exposure during back-to-school because it essentially allows the company to cross-promote Disney with its own product, while also driving sales. ‘This type of buying allows the retailers to maximize floor space without affecting their regular business and merchandising plans,’ he says. ‘Putting a variety of product on a pallet creates excitement, like an in-store boutique, and that should drive consumers to make multiple purchases.’
The strategy also allows FAB to break into channels outside the mass market; more specifically, two mid-tier department stores will merchandise FAB’s stationery sets near its backpacks in the fall. Fisher says these channels hadn’t previously carried traditional back-to-school product, but building these sets of multiple pieces (which only take up one peg on the shelf) and placing them adjacent to similar product should generate more sales. He also says a higher price-point for the sets doesn’t deter the consumer, who appreciates prepackaged options for shopping convenience.
FAB is actively seeking other retail opportunities along these lines, particularly with warehouse clubs, which might benefit from back-to-school super sets of 80 to 100 pieces.
Other growth plans include getting deeper into slumber, lighting and seating products based on high sell-through in these categories, particularly for licensed product. To handle the expansion, Fisher is looking to manage each sub-category as a small business unit, with plans to staff up internally in its New York, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices.