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Marketing toys is no toy story. In America, it’s serious business.
Toys are a $20.91 billion industry in the U.S. Retail online sales of toys are projected to reach 47.9% of the total retail sales by 2023. So, yes, it’s a great idea to start marketing toys in America.
Here’s a blueprint of how to get your toy e-commerce business up and running.
The U.S. toy market is highly competitive. Competition from online retailers and cheaper Chinese products has driven down prices and slashed profit margins for years. The decline in birth rate and exposure of young children to smartphones and tablets hasn’t been much help either.
But this is not to say the market is not ripe for new entrants, particularly the e-commerce market. E-commerce toys sales have been growing just as in-store sales have been declining. Toy manufacturers, retailers and toy e-commerce startups can still find plenty of space in the market if they do the marketing right. And marketing, as we all know, starts with customers.
Here are a few tips and interesting facts from the U.S. toys market to get you started.
When marketing toys in America, you’re up against bigger, meaner online competitors—Wal-Mart, Amazon, and the like. As a small business, you’ll need to do something special, something unique to ace the sales. In today’s world of digital and social media, sales and growth are built into the product itself. Here are a few tips and examples to help you produce or procure wonderful toy products.
To be really successful as an online toys business, a company needs to have a continuing idea generation and innovation process. Look out for new ideas and unique toys and follow the basic methods of creative thinking to come up with amazing products.
The Creativity Camera is a child-friendly iPhone camera case that lets kids snap photos and put silly filters on them using mommy’s or daddy’s iPhone; without actually touching the iPhone. The idea was conceived when innovators observed moms handing kids their iPhones in the grocery store or car.
The average American child has between 70 and 100 toys at any given age. American parents spend an average $6,500 per child on toys by the time kids reach their teens. To carve a niche in this lucrative market, a company needs a robust marketing plan that covers the following areas.
An e-commerce store is the first thing you need to start selling toys online. Using one of the following platforms, toy manufacturers, importers, retailers, and can set up their own stores and start selling directly to customers.
Now that your web store is up and running and your social media profiles are set up, you’ll need to launch a persistent marketing effort to drive visitors. The marketing research will tell you the best channels to reach your audience. If you can afford, target all the best channels with consistent, high-quality content. A little advertising can spice things up, but content comes first.
Create a content marketing strategy that rationalizes what type of content is to be shared on which channels how frequently. The customer research should divulge the most pressing problems, concerns, interests, opinions, and media habits of your audience. Using this info you can decide the themes and topics of the content as well as the best channels to get it to your audience.
If you search for ‘toys’ on YouTube, you’ll notice that most toy related channels have views numbering into the millions or tens of millions. Now, where else can you get that many eyeballs on your products? We live in an age when even toddlers and young kids have access to smartphones and tablets. YouTube is their main destination and toy videos are their most favorite content. So, any business that is marketing toys online absolutely must be on YouTube.
And Youtube is no problem even if you aren’t selling Lego or Transformers that could inspire blockbuster movies. You can just shoot a video clip of your toys and make it interesting for kids. The following Zhu Zhu Pets video didn’t cost much to produce but has 12 million views.
Your online toy store looks awesome, but it’s no use if no one ever visits it. Search engine optimization makes your store appear among top search results when people search on Google for the type of toys you’re selling. Getting on the first page of Google can send a continuous flow of visitors to your store. With neatly designed, conversion optimized sale pages, many of your visitors will become paying customers.
Toys are a tough category, so your ecommerce store may not be able to appear on Google’s front page for many search queries no matter how good the SEO. Google’s pay-per-click or PPC advertising is the shortcut to top organic positions. On average, ecommerce businesses earn $2 in sales for each dollar they spend on PPC advertising.
Paid search and display ads don’t cost you anything until a potential customer clicks on the ad. That means you can get free publicity mileage as your business and brand are on top of every search that takes place on Google for the keywords you select. PPC is the best way to kick start sales and a strategy no toy marketer can afford to miss.
Amazon is the biggest threat for small toy brands trying to go it on their own. They have every toy and toy category under the sun, a huge customer base, and a beautiful selling platform. But you, too, can play that game --use Amazon as another online channel to push your products. Marketing toys on Amazon would put your toys within reach of 197 million monthly visitors.
With a great product selection, proper optimization, a thoughtful pricing strategy, and a little bit of paid advertising, Amazon may turn into one of the biggest revenue streams for any toys and games business.
Toys are a 20 billion dollar industry in America and the e-commerce share of sales is growing fast. The market is fiercely competitive, with mega players like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Ebay, Target, and Costco claiming major share of the market. There’s still space for small and medium toy retailer, manufacturers, and importers; but they have to do everything right to be successful marketing toys online.
Research your audience and market, create or source innovative and unique products, work out a robust online marketing plan, build your web store using one of the best e-commerce platforms, and launch a multichannel marketing campaign to start selling online. Let us know if you need help marketing toys in America!
The art is building the right marketing campaign which maximizes business growth. The science is in the results.