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Article by Hugo Schrameyer on site deondernemer.nl

Kids’ corners: higher profits and a longer shopping time with happy children

Grocery shopping together with whining children? Bad idea! Change this to: going to a certain supermarket, restaurant or furniture store with children who are very excited. This is a major opportunity for higher profits. When children are happy, their parents tend to stay longer and spend more money. This is the concept of IKC, an abbreviation for International Kids Concepts.
 

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It is a Thursday afternoon in the Albert Heijn XL supermarket in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I ask the girl, who is about four or five years old: ‘Fun game?’ ‘A lot of fun’, she answers, while continuing the digital memory game on a touchscreen. The parents are nowhere to be seen. This doesn’t matter, because the little girl is having a great time on her own. International Kids Concepts (IKC) emphasizes that their aim isn’t to have children left unattended, but the kids’ corners with digital and physical games have a high entertainment value. The company currently supplies dozens of parties in their own country and abroad. Supermarkets, fast food restaurants, car showrooms, furniture stores, hospitals and DIY stores. Basically, any location where children accompany their parents fall within IKC’s target group.

New opportunities for IKC

Fourteen years ago, the company was acquired by the current CEO Marco Lankman. Back then, IKC already produced games for children, but not even close to the same level that they do now, with export to thirty countries, including Russia and the United States. IKC’s concepts are designed and developed at the headquarters in Dronten, the Netherlands, while production is located in the Chinese city of Jiaxing. Lankman is especially busy with exploring new opportunities, while the Managing director Frank Heemskerk (photo) is in charge of daily management. 

It has been calculated that one minute of extra shopping time results in 15 euros more turnover

Frank Heemskerk, Managing director International Kids Concepts

A kids’ corner as part of a total concept

The term ‘shopping experience’ may be an overused word nowadays, but according to Heemskerk it does depict the opportunities that lie ahead. “Back in the day, a kids’ corner was something extra you added to entertain the kids. Nowadays, a kids’ corner is part of a total concept. That a pancake restaurant wants to entertain children is obvious, but we are seeing an increase in requests from retail- and hospitality sectors. In the supermarket sector we have a market share of about 80 to 85 percent. The physical retail world is diligently looking for ways to add extra shopping experience in response to the rise of online retailers.”

No worries about children

The key of the business model is that parents don’t have to worry about their children that are playing and having fun. This way the parents can make purchase decisions in peace. “When your child is having fun, you are enticed to take more time to browse in a store. It has been calculated that one minute of extra shopping time results in 15 euros more turnover”, says Heemskerk, who also acknowledges that duration of a stay is not solely determined by play value. “Product demonstrations and the smell of freshly baked bread also add to the shopping experience.”

More fun for the children

Another example is restaurant chain Fusion Plaza, which has three locations. As a guest at this all-you-can-eat restaurant, you don’t pay per meal, but for the duration of your stay. The restaurants have a large play area for children with products from IKC and even a small cinema. “What happens when the predetermined time has passed, and your children are still playing? You just add another half an hour. This will cost extra, but, of course, you want your children to keep on enjoying themselves. Having children around, that are clearly enjoying themselves, always pays off, in a peaceful atmosphere for the parents and also in extra profits for the location.”

A kids’ corner is the deciding factor

Heemskerk does not deny that families select a store or restaurant based on whether they have a play corner or not, although this will differ per branch. “Imagine there are two cinemas in the same city that are showing the same movie. If one of the cinemas has a play corner, it can be a determining factor for a family.” This factor will be of less significance when purchasing car or doing groceries. “There are obvious Jumbo or AH fans. These customers won’t switch supermarkets because of a play corner.”

New double-digit growth for IKC

Since Marco Lankman took over, the company has grown immensely. Heemskerk won’t share exact turnover numbers, mostly because IKC operates within a small niche: all suppliers keep an eye on each other. However, the managing director does let us know that the turnover of the first seven weeks of this year is already at the same level as the complete first quarter of last year. It certainly looks like this year will lead to another double-digit growth for IKC. “You can correlate the turnover probability per country to the amount of residents. If you do this for the regions where we are not yet very active, like eastern Europe, there is a lot of opportunity for growth.”
 

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Schrameyer, H. (2020, 02 28). Kidscorners: met tevreden kinderen langer winkelen en meer omzet. Source: De Ondernemer: https://www.deondernemer.nl/marketing/kidscorners-kinderen-winkelen-omz…