TDmonthly Magazine
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Methodology for Selecting Products Highlighted at
The sections below explain the extensive research, data aggregation and internal processes used by, Inc. and TDmonthly Magazine to determine the toys, games and other products featured daily on the TOYDIRECTORY homepage. The information on new, best-selling and recommended specialty products is provided in order to aid specialty retailers in their buying decisions, help them establish direct contact with manufacturers whose products are ideal for their stores, and allow them to benefit from current research on best sellers and retailer recommendations. At the bottom of this page are definitions of “specialty store” and “specialty product,” for the purpose of understanding references throughout the methodology.
New Specialty Toys

New or upcoming product launches selected as options for specialty retail stores

TD actively interviews manufacturers and retailers, regularly views new product data and samples, and attends at least five industry trade shows annually to determine coverage of products on and TDmonthly Magazine. New product descriptions are typically added to TD's searchable database (of 25,000 products and growing) weekly, if not every few days. Many descriptions are submitted by the manufacturers themselves, then edited internally; others are written and uploaded by TD staff based on our monthly research, interviews and product reviews, with a particular focus on new items for the specialty market and items that exhibit potential to become best sellers. For the “New Specialty Toys” section, TD staff search through these hundreds of products added to TD each month and select items that are the most viable options for specialty stores. TD staff make an effort to include products from various manufacturers that encompass a variety of product categories, so as to capture the interests of our broad retail audience with products that speak to their diversified needs. In general, products are assigned one per day. Given the two highlighted spaces in the "New Specialty Toys" section, most items will be displayed on the TD homepage for two consecutive days.

Editors' Recommended Specialty Toys

High-quality products with positive review from retailers, consumers and/or TD staff; includes strong sellers and TD award winners

Editors’ Recommended products at fall into one or more of the following categories based on product quality, reviews, award status and retailer recommendation:

  • Product that has received a favorable editorial review or rating from TD Roundtables, experts, staff or other contributors. Vendors who participate in a Roundtable send their product to five families around the United States with age-appropriate children. The families spend two weeks with the product and share their reviews and ratings by answering a series of questions pertaining to the parents’ and child’s experience with the product. Their evaluations, which include what the children learned and recommendations for improvement, are compiled into an article sharing the overall star rating (from 1 to 5 TD stars) and results. TD expert reviewers include individuals who review books, children’s music and general toys and games for regular articles. Reviews also come from TD staff and local families who spend time evaluating select products for quality, safety, value vs. price, educational factor, presentation, play potential and more.
  • Product that has won a TDmonthly Top Toy, Top Seller, Classic, Innovations or In the Lab award. Most of these award-winning items go through the review process as outlined directly above. Top Sellers are determined based on comments and statistics provided by specialty toy retailers.
  • Product that has just debuted at trade shows or is fairly new to the market, but meets one or more of the following criteria: the product is from a company known for having items reported as best sellers by specialty retailers; the product comes from a line known for high-quality goods; the product exhibits exceptional quality and value itself; the product has a very innovative feature; the product has already generated “buzz” among specialty toy retailers.
  • Product that has been recommended or praised, either verbally or in writing, by specialty toy retailers. This includes comments that appear in top-10 most-wanted and other TD articles, resulting from our monthly research interviews of 30 to 60 retailers across the United States, as well as additional interviews on varying topics conducted at trade shows or in-house via phone or email, and data gathered online from store websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms where industry parties may share such information.

Best-Selling Specialty Toys

Products and vendors reported as best sellers during TD's monthly interviews of specialty retailers; often pulled from TD top-10 lists

Each month, TD surveys between 30 and 60 specialty toy retailers across the United States to attain information on which items are their best-selling toys and games (by category or overall), gather sales statistics on popular products, and acquire input on other topics pertaining to their businesses. The results from these surveys are tallied and finalized into TD top-10 most-wanted articles of best sellers, added to individual product descriptions in TD’s searchable database of 25,000+ products, and used in other articles and reports as appropriate. TD pulls its picks for the “Best-Selling Specialty Toys” from these sources, as well as from other interviews conducted at trade shows or in-house via phone or email, and data gathered online from store websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms where industry parties may share such information.


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Definitions of terms used above:
Specialty store: Specialty stores may include single or small-chain brick-and-mortar retailers dealing in toys, games, gifts, hobbies, educational items or juvenile products, as well as online retailers working with the same product categories. Specialty stores include, but are not limited to, traditional toy stores, baby boutiques, gift stores, museum shops, clothing stores, bookshops, hobby stores and teacher resource centers. They do not include mass-market chains, such as Toys “R” Us, Wal-Mart and Target.

Specialty product: A product may be defined as specialty or considered suitable for specialty based on one or more of the following criteria: the manufacturer has clearly categorized it as such; the vendor deals exclusively with specialty retail accounts; the product is not from a company established in mass-market channels (such as Hasbro, Mattel, Jakks Pacific, etc.); the manufacturer is brand new to the market and in very few, if any, stores; the vendor is currently seeking a U.S. distributor; the product is premium-priced and therefore suitable for more high-end accounts; the product is from a company known for having items reported as best sellers by specialty retailers.


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