Baby Stores Are True Schools of Marketing For Game Developers

I’ve visited a baby gear shoppe a few times (first time that I can recall) and these stores sure know how to sell. We purchased baby bath (among other stuff) and it’s pretty amazing what these stores do saleswise. They are selling everything and anything. It was quite eye-opening and I immediately started pondering what opportunities game distributors must be missing.

Let me break down the “baby bath” (10 dunno how many euros it cost) sales.

  • The actual baby bath: there was several options ranging from 10 eur to at least 20 eur (and my guess is that there’s higher priced options as well). Some models had different plugs and their shape was different. This was bit like up-selling in games: “buy the basic version for 10 eur, but if you get the collectors edition for 20 eur you can have this nice thing with you”. Why there’s no collectors edition for indie games – like with some sort of extra perks or something to praise with others? Maybe even limited collectors edition or something. Could work?
  • Baby bath “thing that makes it stay higher so your back won’t hurt”. Cost (can’t remember) but let’s put 20 eur here again. So, after you purchase the actual product you can also purchase a thing that makes the baby bathing better for your back. This reminded me bit of a cross-selling in games (“buy this game, but also buy this other game because you want it”), but I wonder if there’s any other ways to do cross-selling in games. Selling mouse pads or game t-shirts is pretty tricky since the margins are probably so low that it doesn’t make much sense. Some sort of membership or additional things outside the game could be considered here. (Any ideas?)
  • All the other stuff… all sort of soap, rubber ducks and stuff – they’ve got it. People who go to the store to buy a baby bath come out with a truckload of stuff in their hands. I think some game distributors have managed to do something similar. In Valve’s Steam, at least for me, it’s easy to end up picking some games and just buy them. The process is painless, simple and… convenient. If I want to get some fun lil game, I probably can get it from Steam pretty easily. This is something that indies probably have hard time doing (if they don’t have a huge catalog of games), but definitely something that portals can manage. If they have things to sell… somebody will buy it.
  • They were not selling for the baby… they definitely were selling for parents. Babies probably know anything about some sort of squicky toy lying somewhere in the bath (room). Maybe at some point they understand this, but I kind of feel that 80% of the “nice stuff because baby needs it” parents buy are pretty much useless. And after people get their second baby, they end up selling tons of baby gear they thought they’d need. Not basing this on personal experience – just a hunch telling me after seeing all the baby bath stuff in the shop. -Game devs can benefit strong brands. I’ll give an example. I think I’m not a “true Tolkien fan(atic)” (really), but I do have the books (one of them tice), all the extended edition movies, Middle Earth pen & paper RPG (somewhere), Battle for Middle Earth video game (best multiplayer RTS ever made btw), Lotr Conquest video game (or something like that, can’t remember the game – tested it just once), Lord of the Rings board game (and one expansion to this), Lotr Confrontation board game, Middle Earth Quest board game (just bought)… and probably some other stuff related to Middle Earth brand. Stuff worth hundreds of euros. And seriously – I’m not a Tolkien fan fan. I don’t run naked around hills screaming “precious” or anything like that. I don’t know where Fangorn is located but I do like Tolkien stuff. So – if you can “brand” something… those fans will come buy your stuff. No matter what you sell. (Note to self: stop buying Tolkien stuff)
  • Loyalty discount: Store gives you credits that you can use later to get a discount. Pretty simple idea. “You get credits for your purchase, and can use those credits next time you come here”. I actually found it slightly irritating (I could have just got the immediate discount to be honest) but I guess that’s one thing to consider.

Bottom line: I’m so in trouble when it comes to baby purchases.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. And then when you get it home and have used it once you’ll realise that you’ll never use it again.

    Baby baths seem like a good idea (and are always brought by first time parents, or for first time parents), but the reality is the bath (or the kitchen sink) is a darn sight easier, less messier and there is already a system built in for the disposal of the water… 8-)

    Getting back on topic, what can we learn from this – the uninformed will buy anything they think or they’re told they need, and if you want people to recommend your product don’t make something that although might seem like a nice idea but in reality is a pain to use…

    (please don’t take too much offence at the above Juuso, if this is your first on the way then please accept all my congratulations and make sure you go out and buy all the big boy’s toys now because it’ll be at least 18 years before you get the chance again. Oh and my other top tip, is to do everything you possibly can to convince your partner to feed her baby naturally herself, that way at least you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to do warm bottles and do the feed – took me three goes to work that one out 8-))))))


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