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Matthew Jarvis asks KD UK’s Paul Joyner how shops can pull in pint-sized punters

How to sell technology to children – KD UK interview

Tech retailers need to go back to school.

Despite a booming market for tech-equipped toys and cyber children’s games, many retailers are failing to get in the game with young consumers – and could be missing out on one of the quickest-growing technology sectors of recent years.

“At the moment, tech retailers are giving the opportunity in the kids’ tech sector away to the toy market,” Paul Joyner, head of technology sales for kids’ tech firm KD UK, tells PCR.

“But,” he adds, “they’re quickly becoming aware of much volume has been achieved with the toy departments with tablets. So it’s now in their interest to tap into that and take some of that share.

“They’re also becoming aware that the younger tech purchaser of today will become the older tech purchaser as they grow up – so an investment in kids’ tech can establish a connection between their retail business and the consumer.”

One factor that may put traditional PC and tech outlets off of stocking kids’ tech is the belief that such products are novelty toys, rather than ‘proper’ devices. But Joyner argues that children’s technology now has the same capabilities as that for adults – so much so that retailers should position products as devices for the whole family.

“At the end of the day, it’s the adults who are making the purchase, and they will make the purchasing decision based on what the child wants, but also what they are comfortable with,” he explains.

“It’s not just a tablet for children; it’s a tablet for families and for parents – if they can get their hands on it.”

Collaboration between vendors and retailers can also maximise the in-store experience for families searching for a suitable product – and secure a sale.

“In the past, we’ve had people going through, talking about and presenting the product, and that worked well,” says Joyner.

“It created a good conversion rate to sales, because if a consumer can have it in their hands, see how easy it is to operate, set up the parental controls and see the benefits of parental controls, it’s a no-brainer – they purchase it and walk away.”

Joyner praised the recent rise in customer experience-driven ‘stores of the future’ as a way for retailers to combat online competition, as well as inspiring a higher rate of impulse purchases.

“They bring products to life,” he says. “These stores are a joint venture – we know that a product will sell itself
if it’s given the opportunity to be put out there and demonstrated.

“You will get more retailers opening up their tech areas to live products, which is right.”

One of the prominent kids’ tech vendors in the market, KD UK maintains a number of partnerships with major license holders – such as Peppa Pig, Disney Princess, Postman Pat and Poke?mon.

The firm’s flagship brand is the Kurio range of kid-focused tablets, launched in 2012, which provide children with an Android tablet experience, while allowing parents and guardians to utilise integrated parental controls and the family-friendly Kurio App Store to keep their children safe.

The firm has recently begun to expand further into the technology sector, releasing a smartphone equipped with its tablets’ safety technology, allowing parents to block internet access, set the handset to shut down during school hours and keep track of their child using geo-sensing, among other features.

It has also released one of the first motion tracking accessories designed specifically for kids – the Kurio Motion – which allows children to play games using their body’s movement.

Paul Joyner, head of technology sales for KD UK, tells PCR that the company is currently in talks with education bodies to implement KD products as part of a school curriculum.

“There’s no reason why Kurio cannot be part of an educational platform as we move forward,” Joyner says.

He also hints at the firm’s upcoming move into the wearable tech market, advising: “Watch this space for 2015.”

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