The design of Toymate stores is hard to ignore. The iconic rainbow entrance leads to a store filled with colour, experiences and an extensive product offering. Light up displays section the store into categories, making it simple for customers to find what they're looking for.
When the business was in its infancy, Toymate director, Danny Bloom, says that he went overseas to get inspiration from other toy stores who were doing innovative things with their space.
“In terms of opening and trying to lift the look and feel of our stores – I'm very passionate about it – and I've been overseas and had a look at some of the great, iconic stores, whether it be the Toys R Us in New York or the FAO Schwarz in New York, Hamleys in the UK. There's some great toy stores in Asia [too], they are more interactive and more exciting.
“[So] we've tried to do our best to emulate that in a commercial manner because – I mean in some of those stores there's some amazing production that maybe wouldn't be feasible in Australia – so we've just tried to do our best at getting something that we think can work for the Australian market.”
What seems to work for the Australian market is the rainbow as the central design idea which helps to create 'worlds' within the store. Coupled with a maze-like store layout, Toymate delivers on design and shopping experience.
“So what's happened is, over the last five years, our main design concept [has become] the rainbow. About four years ago we opened a store in Penrith that featured the rainbow entry and a rainbow-type floor,” Bloom says.
“The idea behind the rainbow was to make shopping easy – you could basically assign a colour to a section of goods.
“So it started there and then the business evolved in terms of design. What ended up happening was, in one of our stores – by mistake – there was a section where it had a funny layout in that you had to sort of walk through it in a certain type of way.
“[Similar] to Ikea, you had to walk through a maze to get through it, whereby you had to walk into one section to follow into other sections.
“And once we saw it was a pretty cool shopping experience, we decided to purposefully do that in other shops.”
It's not just the store layout and 'worlds' that are unique about Toymate's shop displays. Each shelving bay is paired with a light-box feature that highlights the brand logo, as well as large character cut-outs which sit on top of the display and can be interchanged, making it easy to change the stock, while maintaining high levels of detail in the display's artwork. The shelving pricing strip is also colour coded to the section it is in. Small details such as this help to categorise and clarify the shopping experience for customers.
The floors also feature decals which tie into the 'world' that the floor navigates through. The vehicles section features a racetrack and the games section hosts game board decals. In other areas, the floor is rainbow, to mirror the entrance.
Toymate looks to be primed to face the future of retail through its highly detailed merchandising displays, as well as creating 'worlds' and experiences within its stores. The business will weather the shift to exclusively experience-based retailing with grace. ❉