If you're here reading this blog post, you probably want to know how to sell toys online. Perhaps you're looking for a new full time business venture? Or maybe you're thinking about taking up a side hustle? Either way, the toy niche can be incredibly lucrative.
In fact, in 2019, the toy market was worth a whopping $90.7 billion!
So, if you want a slice of that pie, continue reading as we delve into the nitty-gritty of why and how you should launch an online toy shop.
Let's dive in!
How to Sell Toys Online: The Facts
Before you dive headfirst into selling popular toys online, you'll need to do your research to see whether it's a viable market. To help kickstart this process, we've collated the following stats:
First off, the online US toy industry has grown 13.3% between 2014–2019. This figure includes online-only retailers as well as the online sales generated by businesses with brick-and-mortar stores.
Interestingly, experts say this industry is soaring due to an increase in consumer spending. When you couple this with the fact online shopping has become increasingly safer and more accessible over the last few years, it's no wonder business is booming!
Best of all, the online toy industry is expected to continue skyrocketing over the five years. So, if this is a niche you're considering, now's the time to jump on the bandwagon! Despite the toy industry becoming increasingly saturated, experts reckon that as long as merchants offer quick shipping times and high-quality products, ecommerce sales will continue to account for an increasingly larger portion of toy sales.
What Exactly is the Online Children's Toy Niche?
With these stats in mind, we're going to quickly break down exactly what we mean by the ‘online children's toy niche' – just to ensure we're all on the same page before we continue any further.
Ecommerce store owners in this industry sell a broad range of children's toys and hobby-related products, including both used and new toys. These span traditional toys, action figures, video games, board games, hobby kits, lego, craft supplies, etc. These are just a few examples, but you get the idea – the kinds of products you could sell are seemingly endless!
How to Sell Toys Online: Creating an Online Store
If you're new to online selling, you might immediately assume that online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay should be your first port of call. But, we urge you to consider creating and launching your own online store.
- You'll own your own website (so you're not subject to the whims and algorithms of the internet giants)
- It's much easier to brand yourself
- Building an email list is far more straightforward
…these are just a few of the perks, but you get the idea.
If the thought of designing your own website's a daunting one, never fear. This is where online store builders like Shopify come into their own. With Shopify's vast array of professional-looking website templates and its comprehensive suite of features, it's easy to design a beautiful online store in next-to-no time.
Some of our favorite features Shopify offers, include:
- It's high-quality SEO optimization tools.
- Image slideshows
- You can use multiple currencies and languages
- Social media icons
- An integration with Instagram
- An intuitive drag and drop web page builder.
At this point, it's also worth noting, Shopify's themes are also mobile-friendly.
💡 The key takeaway: If you're unsure where to start when it comes to launching your own online store, familiarize yourself with Shopify. Take advantage of their free trial to see whether this platform is the right solution for your business!
Tips for Designing Your Online Toy Store
Here are a few things to bear in mind as you go about customizing your online toy store:
Use Vibrant Images
The saying ‘a picture's worth a thousand words' is certainly true when it comes to designing high-quality product pages. Be sure to use lots of vibrant HD images, so that parents and kids alike can marvel at your gorgeous toys.
We also suggest snapping a few close-up shots of any smaller parts your toy may entail. That's as well as taking photos from different angles, plus shots of the various components making up the toy.
Write a Detailed Product Description
Put yourself in the shoes of the parent who's considering purchasing your toy(s) for their kid. Your product description is the perfect opportunity to provide them with everything they need to know. Take some time to consider any questions they may have, and ensure you answer them.
- What ages is the toy safe for? Are there any smaller parts that could be a choking hazard?
- What parts are included? (For example, does it comes with a remote control?)
- What materials are used to make the toy? Are these materials non-toxic?
- Are batteries included?
- Does the toy have a warranty?
…these are just a few examples, but you get the idea.
Use Lots of Color
Whether you go into a physical toy shop or you're browsing toy e-stores, the most successful toy brands (think: the Toy Kingdom, Hasbro, Mattel, Toys R Us, etc.) all utilize tons of bright colors. So, do what the pros do and emulate this in your online store. Opt for bright pinks, blues, yellows, reds, and so on, and you won't go too far wrong!
How to Sell Toys Online: Incentives
Whether you're looking to attract new customers, encourage repeat purchases, or strengthen the loyalty of a pre-established customer base, incentives are powerful.
If you're unsure how to incentivize your customers, head to Google and social media to see what your competitors are doing. Are they offering discounts? Do they give away a free eBook? Do they bundle products together?
Whatever seems to be working for your industry, run with it. There's no need to reinvent the wheel – just don't out-and-out copy your competitors. Not only is this unethical, but also, you won't stand out from the crowd. The onus of this research is gleaning inspiration.
On top of offering discounts and promotions, it's wise to run competitions and giveaways. This is especially true if you're still trying to build a loyal following. Needless to say, running contests on social media is an excellent way of extending your reach and engaging with potential customers – win-win!
How to Sell Toys Online: Marketing
Like any other online venture, marketing is integral to your success.
So, where do you begin?
First things first, it's wise to start growing your email list, and the simplest way to do that is by capturing your customer’s names and email addresses when they make a purchase. Then depending on their consumer behavior and demographic, you can tailor the content you send them to better engage with them.
As you begin building a rapport with your audience, you can keep them abreast of all your new products and promotions…especially as Christmas looms and parents are desperate to get their hands on all the must-have toys.
That isn't to say you should limit yourself to just email marketing. Instead, you'll want a few methods in your marketing arsenal. In light of that, we urge you to consider the following marketing techniques, but of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list:
- Paid-for online ads
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- PR opportunities
- Social media marketing
- Encouraging customers to review your products on Google/your website/social media profiles (this works wonders for driving word of mouth recommendations).
As you go about creating your marketing your online store, bear in mind that although kids are the target, their parents hold the purse strings, and are, therefore, your customers. This means you need to strike a delicate balance between developing a brand name and marketing materials that cater to both parents and children.
This is why toy unboxing videos convert so well. If you're a parent, you've probably seen your kids watching videos of excited children unboxing their long-awaited toys on YouTube. You might be surprised to hear that there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to these kinds of videos.
Take this video of a kid unboxing a PJ Masks Headquarters playset; this has over 224 million views! Just imagine what this kind of exposure could do for your brand, and the type of revenue this could generate!
How to Sell Toys Online: Amazon
In addition to launching your online toy store, we suggest eventually branching out to selling on Amazon as well. Parents enjoy the reassurance that comes with buying toys for their kids on established online platforms like Amazon. This is especially true if they've never heard of your brand before!
If you decide to sell your toys to customers residing within the EU (via Amazon), you'll need to ensure all your toys comply with:
- EU regulations
- Local laws
- Amazon's own policies
Fail to meet these standards, and Amazon will most likely remove your product listings from their platform.
How Do You Start Selling with Amazon?
When you sign up as an Amazon merchant, you'll have to pick between two selling plans:
- The Professional plan
- The Individual plan
The Pro program empowers you to sell unlimited products. For UK merchants, this will set you back £25 (excl. VAT) a month. Whereas, with the Individual plan, you don't have to pay a monthly subscription fee. But, instead, you'll have to shell out £0.75 for every item sold.
When you've decided whether you want a Pro or Individual account, you'll have to create your account via Amazon's ‘Seller Central.' From this online dashboard, you can manage your Amazon selling account.
Once you've completed your registration, you can start listing your toys to sell. If you have an Individual account, you'll have to add products to Amazon's Marketplace one at a time. Alternatively, if you have a Pro subscription, you can upload large batches of products using Amazon's bulk tools. Handy, right?
When it comes to managing your orders, Amazon offers several options:
- The ‘Manage Orders' tool: This presents a list of your Amazon orders. Here you can also hone in on the specific details of selected orders.
- Order Reports: These reports enable you to generate data about order fulfillment across multiple orders.
- Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS): If you're a web developer or you have access to one (and you've purchased Amazon's Professional selling plan), you can use the API to retrieve info about new orders.
If you want Amazon to help with the logistical side of things, you might be interested in Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). If so, you’ll have to ship your stock to one of Amazon's fulfillment centers. From there, Amazon will handle the shipping labels, packs your inventory, and ships your orders directly to customers.
If you go down this avenue, you'll be pleased to hear that Amazon also provides discounted shipping rates. However, for Amazon's fulfillment service to be worth your while, you'll need to be selling vast volumes of toys. As such, if you're just starting out (and you're not using the dropshipping model), you're better off storing the stock yourself and using a cheaper courier to deliver your toys.
Last but not least, when it comes to getting paid for the sales you make on Amazon, Amazon will deposit your earnings directly into your bank account. You'll then receive a notification informing you that payment has been sent.
Selling Second Hand Toys
Have you amassed loads of old toys that your kids and/or grandchildren have outgrown? If so, there's a good chance you want to get rid of them, free up some space, and make money at the same time. If you can relate, there are a few alternatives to selling used toys other than the traditional garage sales:
Swap.com provides a prepaid shipping box where you simply dump all the toys you want to sell inside. Then when you're ready, you send it back to the Swap.com team. This is a fantastic solution if you don't have the time (or simply can't be bothered) to take product pictures and write product listings yourself.
When Swap receives your toys, they'll inspect them. Then they'll send over a quote for how much they'll list your toys for. If you're happy with the price, you can give them the go-ahead to sell your goodies. Alternatively, if you think you can fetch more for your products by selling them yourself (or for whatever reason you don't want to accept their offer), Swap.com will happily ship your toys back to you.
There are tons of local selling groups on Facebook where you can advertise your second-hand toys for sale. But, before you start marketing your products here, be sure to read the rules of the Facebook group first. Otherwise, you'll risk upsetting the admins in charge of the group!
Typically speaking, you'll snap a few product pictures and upload them onto the group. These images should be accompanied by a brief description of what you're selling and for how much.
The best thing about using this method is that there aren't any listing fees.
Craigslist works very similarly to Facebook when it comes to selling second-hand toys. You just go ahead and create a product listing relevant to your locality. Again, there aren't any fees involved in the transaction.
eBay unlocks to you a worldwide audience. So, with this online marketplace, you have a good chance of selling your products quickly and potentially, for much more money.
This is undoubtedly the best platform for selling collectibles and vintage toys that carry with them a higher sales value, as you're far more likely to stumble across customers actively looking for these kinds of products.
However, you'll have to shell out for eBay's listing fees and Paypal's transaction costs. You'll also have to spend a fair amount of time optimizing your product listings and packaging and shipping your products once they sell. So, it's swings and roundabouts really!
Ready to Start Selling Toys Online?
We hope that having read this guide, you now have a better idea about how you to start selling toys online. If you decide to launch an online toy brand, keep the advice above in mind. That way, you'll lay a firm foundation for your newest online venture.
We wish you the best of luck with your new eCommerce business! Please feel free to let us know how you get on in the comments box below – we would love to hear about your progress. Speak soon!