Finance Consumer Coles revives Little Shop collectables just in time for Christmas
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Coles revives Little Shop collectables just in time for Christmas

Coles' Christmas Little Shop minis are the latest collectable fad. Photo: Coles
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Coles has sent the nation into a frenzy with news its wildly successful Little Shop campaign will return with a festive set of collectables.

The supermarket giant’s latest collectables range includes mince pies, a pavlova slab, bon bons, a gingerbread biscuit and a limited-edition gingerbread ice-cream.

Coles revealed the return of its popular campaign in an email to staff on Monday – just in time for the festive season. The email was leaked and shared by thousands on social media.

A Coles spokeswoman said Santa’s little secret was out of the stocking.

“The Little Shop supermarket surprises that took Australia by storm are making a mini comeback for Christmas,” the spokeswoman told The New Daily

Customers will receive one free Christmas mini collectable for every $30 they spend in store from 7 December, while stocks last.

There will also be a limited number of special-edition Christmas stocking collector cases available for purchase for $4.

A Coles internal email that has been shared widely across social media. Photo: Coles

Competitor Woolworths launched its own range of Christmas-themed collectables earlier in November, with experts predicting it will be just as successful as Coles’ Little Shop campaign.

The Christmas Pop-Outs campaign features 12 cardboard characters, including Santa, reindeer, elves, a gingerbread man and a snowman. Three characters will be released each week.

Customers will receive one for every $30 they spend in-store or online 

Collectables craze

In the past two years, retail collectables have earned a cult-like following with families being sucked into marketing ploys created by major supermarkets. 

There’s been the Coles’ Little Shop range, where shoppers scrambled to get their hands on miniature replicas of cult Australian products such as Milo, Vegemite, Nutella and Weet-Bix. For every $30 a shopper spent at the supermarket, they received a miniature at random.

The campaign was a runaway success for the grocery giant, with shoppers embracing it. In August, The New Daily found full sets of Coles plastic collectables were selling for $1000 on eBay.

coles-little-shop
Coles mini plastic collectables were wildly popular. Photo: Coles

The New Daily also found new listings of the collectables emerging on Gumtree every five to 10 minutes. 

But the hysteria didn’t end there – eager shoppers also swarmed into supermarket swap meets and took to Facebook groups to splash cash on rumoured “rare” items.

In 2017, Woolworths’ Marvel Heroes collectable discs also sent the nation into a spin. At its peak, some sold on eBay for more than $90. 

Canstar Blue surveyed just over 3000 adults to find out what influence – if any – supermarket promotions like Coles Little Shop can have on shoppers.

Almost two in five respondents in this age group between aged 18 – 29, said such promotions sway them to spend more, with the same number likely to choose where they shop as a result.

The psychology behind collecting

Leading retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer said the psychology behind the collectables’ obsession is that consumers have a desire for competition, and want to be part of a community.

“We always want to have the most acquired. We want to be that one that collects the entire series before our friends and colleagues,” Dr Mortimer told The New Daily.

“If you think about the old Pokemon Go that kicked off a couple of years ago, it created this form of community.

“There were Pokemon Go players that were able to talk the language, they shared stuff on Facebook and on social media.”

Three characters will be released each week for the next month.

Dr Mortimer said collectables such as Coles’ Little Shop and Woolworths new pop-outs also created a strong sense of community.

“We’re seeing people talk about these items, share them on Facebook, and take them to school to swap them,” he said.

“We often see this in sport psychology when we wear particular jerseys, and go through a particular ritual when we go to a sports match as we consider ourselves to be in a group because we’re supporting a team.”

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