Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Big Box Stores And Niche Toy Manufacturers Enter The Toy Subscription Box Market To Leverage Sales And Increase Brand Awareness

February 7, 2019 Sarah Cavill

By now, most parents are familiar with the various project boxes for kids that include crafts, STEM building kits, toys and other creative activities to fight boredom and engage young minds. While the success of these curated subscription boxes has been mixed, they continue to flood the market. The project and toy boxes appeal to parents and kids who enjoy the subscription model and the fun of getting a package every month.

With the closing of Toys R Us, and the dominance of Amazon, toy manufacturers and stores that sell toys are looking for ways to secure their market share. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscription box business is one way to create brand awareness and possibly generate sales beyond the box. “There are now 3,500 [subscription boxes], an increase of 40% from a year before. And a full 47% of subscription boxes launched in the past 12 months,” according to a recent Fast Company article about the growth of subscription boxes of all types.

A long list of toy manufacturers, game makers and big box stores have entered the subscription box business, often with their own takes on crafting, collecting and family game nights. But there’s no time to delay, because the big retailers are reacting with kid-focused subscription services of their own.

Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys “Surprise Ride Subscription Activity Box” Encourages Learning And Creativity

Fat Brain Toys is primarily known for their fun catalog of unique and educational toys. They’ve since branched out into brick and mortar locations and subscription boxes. The Surprise Ride Subscription Activity Box includes an activity every month in science, history, animals, geography, fantasy or other kid-focused topics and include all the high-quality supplies needed to complete cool projects. Like products from Fat Brain Toys, the boxes provide kids the chance to engage through tactile expressions of learning and fun.  

Funko Inc. Offers A Monthly Subscription Service For Their Collectible Pop! Vinyl Figurines

Funko Inc. Offers A Monthly Subscription Service For Their Collectible Pop! Vinyl Figurines

There’s niche – kids, families, toy enthusiasts – and then there’s niche. For the uninitiated, a “Pop! Vinyl” sort of sounds like an album from the eighties. But they are actually 3.75-inch tall vinyl figurines from toy company Funko, depicting characters that have varying degrees of pop culture relevance. The offerings range from Voldemort to Morrissey. To the delight of collectors, Pop In A Box is a subscription service that delivers a Pop! Vinyl to customer doorsteps every month. Collectors choose the kinds of Pops they want and how many they wish to receive each month.

Unbox Boardom Knows Subscription Game Boxes Are Great For Family Game Night

Unbox Boardom and a long list of other subscription game services are keeping family game night fresh by sending new board games (or, in some cases, new dice, cards or add-ons) to subscribers each month. The high-end board game industry typically sells their products online and at retailers like Barnes & Noble. But, a monthly subscription service can create a separate revenue stream for game manufacturers . And as gamers tend to be loyal, game subscription programs can generate interest in a new series of games or specific game-maker.

Target Partners With Lillypost, A Book Service For Kids

Target Partners With Lillypost, A Book Service For Kids

Target is approaching subscription boxes from a variety of angles, including boxes of books for kids. Through a partnership with Lillypost, consumers can now subscribe online at Target to receive one of three boxes every month. Each option is for kids under the age of 7 and includes board books, picture books or a mix of both.

Amazon Enters The Market With Their “STEM Club” Toy Subscription Service

Amazon is often touted as one of the contributing factors to the closing of Toys R Us. Amazon is also one of the businesses most likely to benefit from the closing of the heritage toy retailer, and it appears they don’t plan to sit on the sidelines of the growing toy subscription market. The STEM Club Toy Subscription Service from Amazon offers three different box options, each one focused on a topic related to science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). With subscribers able to sign up for one month at a time, the Amazon toy subscription box service comes the closest to being simply a toy delivery service.

DTC subscription boxes for toys, projects and gaming are being introduced regularly and evolving as big stores enter the market and consumer interests shift. Leveraging the contents of the subscription box to generate incremental sales and creating a strong value add for consumers month after month will dictate which boxes are here to stay.

Reimagining Your Subscription Marketing Win? 

Contact Digital Media Solutions today.

About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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