“Toys data model fully embraced by toy industry”

Avatar for Laura van der Blom

Last Thursday, Rene Rozendal (Icecat) organised an inspiring networking event for the toys industry. Among the 150 attendees were leading toys players such as LEGO, Selecta, Intertoys, Van der Meulen, Wehkamp, Google, Maxi Toys, Planet Happy, 3sixtyfive, Hatch and many more others from the industry. The host of this event was Rick den Boggende, CEO of Caring Fieldmarketing, known from his past in Mattel.

René Rozendal from Icecat, who initiated the toys data model together with FUN and bol.com three years ago, talked about how the data model works and how it was optimised and rolled out internationally with new and existing partners. The toys data model is available worldwide and has been increasingly adopted by new brands and users. “We can conclude that the toys data model has been totally embraced by users” said René.

Laurence Herman from Google, addressed modern retail and the influence of quality product information on sales-conversions. Laurence Herman pointed out that a consumer looks at his phone an average of 200 times per day. One and a half years ago, Google Manufacturer center was introduced, which gives brands more influence on and consistency of their products in Google. “Product information can be uploaded automatically via Icecat to Google Manufacturer Center”, said Laurence.

Toys entrepreneur Mark Ligteringen spoke about how he creates online and offline experiences with Planet Happy. By choosing wooden toys and broadening the assortment, he has proven that there is still a future for physical retail as part of an omni-channel approach. In addition, he underlined how important efficiency is. “Content creation has cost us a lot of time. Automatised product activation is possible with Icecat data. We have to be as fast and efficient as possible.”, said Mark.

Ted Arends, responsible for the Content Centre of Excellence at Wehkamp started with an introduction of Wehkamp and its mission. The Content Centre has brought unity to the fragmented content landscape within Wehkamp. Ted explained how specialization and automation influences efficiency and the quality of product content. Next steps are image tags and the automatic creation of unique marketing texts based on specifications. Wehkamp uses toys, fashion, and tech product data from the Icecat database. Fashion is in cooperation with GS1.

Maxi Toys has recently become part of the Portuguese investor Green Swan and is constantly adapting to the changing consumer. Alain Hellebaut, CEO of Maxi Toys, gave a hint of how he and his team succeeded in reclaiming fast-moving market share. Alain presented priorities for 2019, including the further optimisation of a full omni-channel strategy. This strategy also includes the automation of product information upload using the toys data model from Icecat. Alain encouraged the brands in the room to get in touch with Icecat to make their product information available, and stimulates the brands who already do so to invest in great French content. 

Joris Kroese from Hatch discussed consumer expectations and how Hatch ensures that consumers can directly make a purchase from a brand’s website at a well-known web store or physical retailer (Where-To-Buy Local)

Award-winning influencer agency 3sixtyfive gave brands directions in an era in which traditional media have lost power and classic advertisement is becoming less appealing. The toys industry is however one of the fastest growing sectors where influencers play a major role. John Meulemans, Managing Director of 3sixtyFive, gave the audience insights into current trends and showed a number of best practices.

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