Global distributors are being urged to partner with Golden Bear on worldwide distribution now, ready for when the next wave of Soccer Bot mania kicks in.
Golden Bear Toys is celebrating the unprecedented success of its 2023 launch Smart Ball Indoor Soccer Bot, which has become a sell-out line weeks ahead of the peak festive season.
The latest incarnation of the SmartBall range, the Soccer Bot is unique because it has been designed to play with indoors, using the latest smart sensor technology to move around a designated area whilst tracking the ball and trying to tackle. Equipped with three different skill levels, it is the ultimate test for any football fan.
Soaring to the top spot in Circana for Outdoor & Sports Toys across October and November, and becoming the No. 14 item in whole market (w/c 12th November), Barry Hughes, managing director at Golden Bear, says he’s been blown away by Soccer Bot’s sales figures – and that the company had to blow the whistle on its marketing activities mere weeks after the campaign for the range first started.
The innovative football training robot, which allows sporty kids (and grown-ups) to practise their footwork and dribbling skills without having to set foot outside during Britain’s dreary, wet winter, was showcased in Golden Bear’s Los Angeles showroom space back in September, where it generated huge excitement. It then arrived at independents and multiples, where sales almost immediately skyrocketed, thanks in part to a partnership with two of the world’s best football freestylers – Billy Wingrove and Isabel Watkins – who both created content and shared it across their respective social media channels.
However, it is popular independent toy store Fagan Toys that has had perhaps the biggest impact on sales: staff at the retailer made a video of Gary the security guard going up against Soccer Bot in the store. The video went viral and the comments under it – which can be seen below – are awash with consumers clamouring to get their hands on the toy in time for Christmas.
Carol Glennon, manager at Fagan Toymaster, told Toy World: “We first picked out the Soccerbot as a top toy at London Toy Fair in January: it immediately stood out as something that would appeal to all ages. It combines active play with fun and was not like anything we have seen out the market previously. We decided the best way to market the product was to demonstrate it on video. We then roped in our security guard, Gary, who stepped forward and showed off his skills.”
“After uploading the video to our social media platforms, we were inundated with queries and orders for the Soccerbot. Currently on our TikTok video alone we have over 4.3m views, 80k likes and 16k shares, and sales haven’t slowed down in the weeks since. It has driven sales in all departments on our website and brought footfall up in store, and is proof that with an excellent product, and the correct marketing, we can drive significant sales in our small independent toyshop.”
According to Barry, the idea behind Soccer Bot was to create a football toy parents would let their kids play indoors. With that in mind, Golden Bear then undertook thorough research into the Sports category before launching Soccer Bot, tweaking the speed the robot moves at to ensure play is accessible for younger players, and retaining the £50 RRP price tag (despite parents reporting they’d pay more for the product) due to the cost of living crisis. This, combined with the company’s marketing efforts and support from its retail partners, has created massive demand and incredibly strong sales that look set to continue long into 2024.
While Golden Bear is working hard to restock key retail partners ahead of Christmas, including Fagan’s, the next major shipment of product arrives in January. The company is urging all interested distributors to get in contact now if they want to secure a slice of the football action for themselves.
“Some of our more established distribution partners have jumped on Soccer Bot already, having seen it in LA earlier this year, but there is huge scope for distributors across most of the globe to get a foot in the game ready for the big New Year restock,” Barry explains. “Football is a year-round sport and Soccer Bot is therefore a year-round product with huge potential. We’re levelling the playing field by putting this out there and inviting any and all distributors to get in touch if they want to take this product. The goal is to see Soccer Bot’s success replicated in retailers around the world, because so far, we’re having a ball.”
To find out more, readers are advised to contact email@example.com/ T: 01952 608 308 for UK Sales Enquiries or Claire Vernon for Potential International distribution: firstname.lastname@example.org