When I first launched Benjo Bags five years ago, the ‘party bag’ market was very confused. There were a lot of businesses out there some doing it well and others not so well. I was surprised at how rigid it was; “you can have a box of this or nothing” or “we don’t have that but you can have this”. So, I put a lot of thought into the model of re-sealable, changeable, low minimums and bespoke items but not top-end bespoke, I just tailored to what the customers actually wanted.
The thing is next week’s delivery might be entirely different to this week’s. A lot of children go to several parties a year and if they are getting the same goodies in their party bags they won’t appreciate that. There was also an obvious opportunity to use voucher codes more, to drive footfall and secondary spend for our customers which are very popular.
I didn’t want to go down the line of saying we can do whatever every customer wants and just be a one-stop-shop, so we’ve split it down into three segments:
- Branded party bags; to my mind, anyone who offers parties should be using branded party bags in some form. I believe our solution ticks a lot of the boxes for both the larger player, multi-site operators and smaller independent single-site operators. That’s still the lead of the business, the model is still the same and we have the voucher codes on the bags, which come pre-packed with toys at a budget that is matched to the needs of our customer. That’s how we are introduced to most of our customers.
- Tailored party supplies for their package. So, to work with the customer to draw in effectively their costs and develop a model with them, depending on how far they want to go. You find that most sites would have ordered Spiderman, Peppa Pig and Marvel but then had overs and unders and be left with stock. I found a way to try and combat by going a lot more generic with colours. If you’re running a ‘Marvel’ themed parties, you go with a lot of reds and blues and pick out those colours, add in some Marvel balloons and a banner. But you don’t buy Marvel throughout because it’s more expensive. You may have to buy in larger volumes than you require and you can still create a fantastic looking party without having to go down the themed licenced route. We have set this up with a lot of customers and worked on package sizes related to their numbers and the volume they can hold, not what we say they must buy. Obviously, at a lot of play centres, space is taken up with footfall and not storage space, so we try to break it down so they can order in smaller amounts, more regularly and at a reasonable price, and that they have it when they need it, not in case they need it.
- Purchase Order System; If a centre has a Purchase Order system, we are offering a solution that we can either link into via our system or run through their own, so we can create a standardised shopping list. Instead of running down to the supermarket on a Friday evening to buy plates expensively for a party on Saturday, they are actually looking at a list of prices that has been agreed between us and the owner, that will not outweigh their budget or require them to buy in large quantities above what they need. Very much like the favourites in a supermarket online shopping experience, this tick list that we create can go onto the customer’s system, they just log on at their end tick off what they need and an email comes through to me. The cost is also agreed, they don’t need to worry about that – all they are doing is raising the PO and knowing that the price has been pre-set gives them a bit more flexibility than having to shop around for prices and check everything off against a budget.
Even though we’re in parties, we’re still talking to business owners and corporates, we don’t need to be singing and dancing about Peppa Pig and things like that, it’s more about what our products can do for them as a business and the relationship we have with them.
If you’d like an informal chat with Neil to find out more and how he can help your business, call today on 0844 477 4944.