After 50 meetings and trips up and down the aisles, Holly Kaye and I made up a list of five things we saw at this year’s ABC.
The hard thing about being an exhibitor at ABC is that it’s hard to get away, walk the aisles, and see what others are marketing to new moms. Some people go years without realizing there’s a me-too product being sold 4 aisles over. That’s why we put together this list of things and trends we saw at this year’s ABC.
Every year we judge the JPMA Innovation Awards. Some years we see amazing things and others the innovation is only around the edges. Here are some innovations, big and small, we noted at this year’s ABC:
In addition to a lot of stroller color collections in bright solid primary colors (the Yellow Armadillo for example), many manufacturers have discovered grey. Whether you call it “heather,” “grey tweed,” “marle grey” (Valco Baby) or “Cloud/Thunder” (Clek), the look is an attractive one. While grey is usually considered drab, it also looks refined and elegant.
We also saw a few examples of faux leather accents, notably on the Cybex Priam. We wonder if we’ll see more of that next year.
Again this year, we saw a lot of owls, from wooden toys from Skip*Hop to the new Woodland Friends swing from Fisher-Price. Owls are one of those creatures that are far cuter in stuffed animal or toy form.
Please think twice when you use this as your tagline or promo heading whether you really want to just be one of hundreds or thousands using a variation of this nostalgic expression. We saw the following and they all are meaningless:
If you still think you have an original idea using it, do a Google image search of “keep calm and.” You’ll fine an almost infinite use of this.
Usually, we also have a few ideas of features we’d add if were manufacturers or smart entrepreneurs. This year we had only 2 ideas, one bigger and one very small:
1. Why aren’t there hooks on the back of all the fold able gear including tubs and new collapsible activity centers. PUJ finally got into hooks this year, but I always lift collapsible high chairs and other gear to see if you can hang it behind a door. Isn’t that what people do once they can collapse something? Or is this mostly meant for sticking under a bed or into a car?
2. BIG IDEA – Why has no one developed removable accent panels for strollers and car seats so that you can change out your fashion, or even just have a replacement panel when one is in the wash? This seems like a simple addition with easy to zip out pieces that change a stroller from feminine to masculine for the new baby boy, or just from blue to yellow to reflect the day’s weather. Chicco just added the NextFit Zip to their car seats, but that’s just for ease of cleaning. (NOTE: Britax informs me that they have this option including Affinity Color Packs for $99.99 each and B-Agile Fashion for $39.99.
So, that’s it for another ABC. All we have left to do is scan about 75 business cards, send notes to the folks we met and plan how to include all this great stuff into our February buyers’ guide. For other posts on ABC, check out:
We’re all about marketing to pregnant moms so feel give us a shout if you ever want to discuss what we’re seeing out there and what works best. And don’t forget to add your favorite product innovations in the comments below.