09 May 2016
The market for kid’s toys is enormous. Worldwide it turns over almost $84 billion a year. A huge percentage of these sales are carried out online and web retailers are well aware of the formulas needed to shift their stock.
There are a number of factors that influence whether consumers will commit to a purchase and, in this highly competitive market, they are worth following to the letter.
Quality reigns supreme in the kid’s toy market. With so many counterfeit products available, particularly from the East Asian market, parents are keen to avoid potentially harmful fakes.
This quality is emphasised online through careful, sensitive branding. Take Toys R Us for example. Their website features imagery of children enjoying their products in a safe and happy environment. Just as other lifestyle brands promote their products through potential experiences, online toy retailers are keen to stress the integrity of theirs. The difference in this market is that toy retailers are battling on two fronts; firstly, they need to attract the kids in, but the transaction will usually take place between the retailer and the parent.
Imagery has to reflect both of these potential draws – bright, colourful and enticing to kids and safe, reliable and well-built to adults.
For independent toy retailers, this brand integrity is harder to achieve. For this reason, many will forfeit a proportion of their profits in order to host a product on Amazon or another reputable site. This enormous shop window not only attracts many more visitors by hosting a product in this way, it’s possible to piggyback the previously established emotional relationship a consumer might have with that brand. By working together too, online toy retailers can entice customers in. Links between independent online stores can help, but it’s a risky strategy.
Another key factor is timing. Or, in simpler terms, Christmas. This time of year is incredibly important for online toy retailers, as Valentine’s Day is for chocolatiers, and a lot of extra effort in terms of marketing is usually expended around this period. You’ll also see trends. For retailers of online toys, being able to monitor industry sales patterns, particularly around Christmas time, is essential to drawing in customers. Here again though, media hype – take the drone explosion at the end of last year – can lead to cheap imitations, so, once more, integrity is hugely important.
Of course, price is another one of the major influencing buying factors. Toy retailers are forever competing with one another over price, particularly with the more popular trending items. Larger, more successful retailers are often working with online competitor price tracking and ecommerce comparison software as a way of staying ahead of the retail game, particularly around busy periods such as summer and Christmas.
Unfortunately, for smaller retailers. this can quickly push them out of the marketplace but there is a way back in: shipping costs. Competitor Monitor research has found that up to 55% of online consumers have abandoned shopping carts as a result of extortionate rates. Bring down delivery costs or increasing their efficiency and you instantly entice custom, particularly from parents who might be spending a lot of money in a number of virtual marketplaces.
Each of these influential purchasing factors can be closely monitored through Competitor Monitor’s price and product tracking software, helping brands and retailers to stay ahead of their competition regardless of season or trends.