January 5, 2015

We spoke with Diane Balzer, co-owner and chief merchandiser of Yap USA in Scottsdale, Ariz. about the toy merchandising and bestselling toys.

Rebekah: Can you tell me a little about Yap USA? Where are you located? What pets do you cater to?

Diane: Yap USA was started in San Francisco in 2005 as a designer and manufacturer of dog harness systems. We finally felt it was time to expand and this past November, we opened our newest location in Scottsdale, Arizona. We still design and manufacture all of our own products right here in the U.S.A. We also carry products from other conscience companies that share our standards and values. We are located at 15147 N. Scottsdale Road, Ste 130, Scottsdale, Ariz. We cater to dogs of all sizes and their owners.

Rebekah: Can you tell me a little about Yap USA’s toy section? Was there any specific influence for how it is laid out?

You can find all the toys in a specific section but we also tried to spread them out around the store so customers who might not have been looking for a toy that day may come across something that catches their eye. We found that the toy is actually one of the most emotional and passionate purchases that dog owners make and more often ends up being an impulse buy as their owners imagine their loved pet playing with something the see in the store.

Diane: Our Scottsdale location has only been open for about a month so too soon to tell but so far so good!

Rebekah: Do the customers shop the toy display? Do you get any specific comments or feedback about it?

Diane: Yes! Our display areas are meant to be shopped. We provide a small amount of extra info about the toy on the bin such as “100 percent wool toys handcrafted in Nepal” for example. People love the story behind the toy

Rebekah: What are your bestselling toys?

Diane: Our YAP exclusive Woof Loofs, made from organic vegetable loofah are a huge hit. The handmade wool toys from Nepal are also very popular and the Jax and Bones jumbo rope toys continue to exceed our expectations.

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