Imaginarium is a toy shop with a difference. Rather than selling toys purely for fun, it focuses on children's educational needs – and by doing so, the Spanish retailer has built a strong brand with 400 shops in 25 countries over the past two decades.
“Wherever playing has a role in children's educational process, Imaginarium finds its place,” says Cristina Hauke, the company's relational marketing manager. “As playing is a universal need, our concept fits nicely in many countries around the world.”
Hauke emphasises the importance of product design and quality to the business, which she says has helped the company make inroads into markets including Italy and Switzerland where these attributes are traditionally appreciated.
She adds that the store's typical customers are “less sensitive about price”, but instead they value advice and want reassurance that the toys will aid discovery and learning for their children. This has heavily influenced how Imaginarium runs its business – its model is centred on creating dialogue with its customers.
Imaginarium’s model is centred on
creating dialogue with its customers.
“Our founder and CEO was totally persuaded of the importance of building a close relationship with families everywhere, so we could leverage that knowledge to meet their interests, needs and expectations,” explains Hauke.
This thinking was behind the launch of the company's loyalty programme – the Imaginarium Club. Hauke says: “Rather than investing in traditional communications [such as TV and outdoor advertising], we prefer to create channels to foster one-to-one communication, so we can engage with our customers in a more personalised manner, as well as gain a deep understanding of what their concerns are. That is, for us, a long-term journey that generates not only know-how but also value.”
Over the past 10 years, club members have received a “Familycard”. This helps to identify them as members and boosts brand awareness, as well as providing Imaginarium with valuable data on their best customers. And, at a macro level, the data shows that their shopping frequency is three times higher than that of non-members; they are responsible for half of store sales; their average spend is a third higher than non-members; and the proportion that participate in promotions can be as much as 55%, compared to 4% among non-members. According to Hauke, members are also early adopters of new products and trends thanks to the trust they have in the brand.
“The catalogue is the second best
experience of our brand and spirit.”
With the help of Asendia, Imaginarium sends birthday cards as direct mailing to club members, which offer discounts in-store. It also sends four catalogues a year to more than 1 million homes worldwide – accounting for roughly half of the copies printed (which are otherwise distributed at points of sale). For each of these mailings, Asendia has developed a bespoke postal indicia (imprinted stamp) for Imaginarium, which features KikoNico – the toyshop's popular teddy bear.
Hauke believes the catalogue is one of the most important sales tools the business has. “After visiting our shops, we believe the catalogue is the second best experience of our brand and spirit. It also helps parents to further consult the product range, so it is a shopping facilitator,” she explains.
Location of company: Spain