Hey there Sea Changers and welcome back. Today’s post covering another online money making opportunity was sparked by a conversation had in the make that sea change household the other night. You see at time of writing, it appears that there are only about 13 or 14 Saturdays until Christmas which is around the time of year that my beautiful wife starts to drag yours truly Christmas shopping. So with that in mind you will probably now understand why I am now writing about how to make money selling toys online.
This is in my opinion an interesting niche to write about as there are potentially so many different audiences that you could be targeting – even for the same toys. In some cases you maybe writing posts aimed at the buyer and not the actual end user – i.e adults purchasing for children – or the kids may be purchasing themselves. In other posts you could be looking at the hobbyist or collector. That is the key to selling toys online – matching your posts to the audience and not just assuming that they are all just kids looking to spend some pocket money. We will discuss this at length later on but I just think it is something that should be in the back of our minds as we investigate this niche as a potential online business.
So, on that note, let’s check it all out…
How do we get started?
Now as usual, before we get started, let’s just confirm whether there is a market for this online. Based on my own experience, I am guessing that there are a few out there like me that would rather purchase these items from the comfort of their own home rather than fighting our way through the store. I may be wrong however so let’s just see if there is really a call for this type of thing:
What are people looking for?
To start let’s just confirm our market numbers:
1. Number of monthly searches
As we are looking to see if there is an interest in the purchase of toys online (so we can sell them), let’s start by checking for purchase related searches. You will need to find yourself a good keyword tool (I use Jaaxy) and enter in the keywords that best describe your market. In this case, let’s start with the basics:
yep – over 285000 odd searches for toys – Oh, and a few early niche ideas here… Yo Gabba Gabba toys searches for the TV/movie/hobby toy niche and I hadn’t actually thought about pet toys. Let’s narrow this down a bit:
Again, some good search numbers and more niche ideas – baby toys, Christmas toys and collector’s toys. And finally, a narrower search:
I am happy with this. All in all, the figures above show a nice little niche to work with. It does also show large this niche can be – we will again discuss this in more detail below.
2. Search Trends
Another important aspect of online sales and niche selection is to check that interest is maintained or increasing over time. To gain an insight into this let’s check out how the searches for toys are trending online.
Usually I would include a few other variations in this graphic but to be honest, they all showed the exact same pattern. So what does this tell us? Well let’s break it down:
- Interest in purchasing toys online hums along nicely all year
- There is a pronounced spike in interest once a year around Christmas time.
All in all, I really see a good opportunity here.
What is our niche?
Ok, now the fun part begins – we need to start looking at breaking down our market into a niche. Based on the stats above – and others from my research – I tend to think that toys itself is such a large niche that you may struggle initially should you choose to run a generalised toy based site. That said, it you did there is certainly enough ‘fodder’ there to keep you running for years and years. Should you decide to narrow your targeted niche down a little as you start out however there is a great range of topics that you could consider. Examples include:
- Baby toys
- Children’s toys
- Hobby/collector toys – Star wars etc.
- Pet toys
- Adult ‘toys’
- Fad toys – Fidget spinners etc.
- Specific toy types – Lego, Wahu etc.
- Outdoor/camping toys
- Retro toys
- Electronic toys
As you start to think about this, the question to ask yourself is whether the content you are covering is too large to cover effectively. The risk here is that if you start with a niche that is too broad, you may not be able to cover everything to the level required or to become authority on the subject – which you will need to be if you are going to convince people to purchase from you and not their local store. Don’t forget, you can always add a new section to your site as you grow as well.
As you work through narrowing your targeted niche, consider the following:
- Are you able to solve a problem – Most people undertake searches on the internet to solve a problem – see next section.
- Is it a subject that you have an interest, or knowledge in– I am guessing that you are in this post as you know about, or have an interest in toys or their recipients (you might be in the baby niche for example). If you don’t have either of these, maybe consider another market as to be honest, you might struggle to produce solid content if you don’t know much about them – or worse, have no interest in them – and trust me, people will know immediately if your information is not up to scratch or even worse, can put the safety of their children at risk.
Let’s investigate this a little further by discussing the problem solving elements of niche selection.
What problem are we solving?
If this is a niche that you are interested in, you may already know what it is that you are trying to sell. If not, then maybe start to look at it from the perspective of solving problems.
Think about your own search behaviours when you are online – I would hazard a guess that most searches you do are in order to solve a problem. These can be in a number of ways such as:
- You know that you want to buy a remote controlled car for your child but don’t know which is best for their age group.
- You have a problem and need a solution – I.e. “I need help with my new swing set”.
Your goal here is to determine just what problem/s you are trying to solve for your readers. This maybe one problem that spans your site or differ for each post that you write. For example, if you have chosen outdoor toys for your niche, then problems might be:
- Matching products to age – They want to know what the best remote controlled airplane is for an 8-year old – you would outline these with recommended seats to match.
- Which to buy – There are a number of outdoor play sets for toddlers – but which is best?
In these cases, people would be searching for those topics based on having a problem and needing a solution. Your site would outline and review the best options for them.
Alternatively, if your site is about toys for pets, then you would be addressing problems such as the fact that I know I want to purchase some toys to stimulate my cat but don’t know where to begin. You would then be outlining the best toys for cats based on:
- Benefits etc.
Note: You do not need to identify every possible problem that your readers may have straight away. In many cases, the more you write, the more ‘problems’ will present themselves so initially you really just want to make sure that there are some that may need solving as we have found here.
How are you going to convince them to buy?
Another important aspect of selling toys online is to consider the issue of consumer buying habits. As I have mentioned, this is a great niche when it comes to online purchase behaviour if you are able to match the information in regards to the toys to the readers of your posts. Some examples include:
- Those that are looking for the most cost effective option will want to know what is the best bang is for their buck. Highlight value for money and maybe compare to an expensive model.
- Those looking for advice and assistance will want to know that your information is sound and not going to put their child at risk.
- Collectors and hobbyists will want to know everything about the products you are discussing or promoting as they want to know that they are getting a great purchase (usually so that they can add them to their social groups etc.) – Make sure you are covering the specifics such as specs, manufacture details, authenticity, resale values etc.
So at the end of the day, even though we do have purchaser behaviour on our side, to be successful in selling toys online, consider the following:
- Solve problems without purchase – That’s right – write your posts in a way that actually makes it easier for people to do their research and buy elsewhere – by doing this, you are solving problems and helping readers out. If they trust you, they will be more likely to return next time and buy from you then – especially if you follow up with posts on similar or compatible products that might interest them!
- Provide the intangibles – One major disadvantage when it comes to selling toys online is that we can’t really know what they feel like, how strong they are, or whether they are completely safe before we buy them. Your posts will need to cover this information in a manner that puts minds at ease. A good picture if a smiling child sitting in whatever product you are promoting will go a long way here too.
- Know your audience – As we have already discussed, the biggest mistake you can make here is to target the product and not necessarily the buyer. This is especially important around toys for babies and children. It is very easy to get carried away explaining how this is a great product because it is cheap all the while forgetting the safety aspects. The same goes for high end options… Expensive doesn’t always mean safe. Make sure you do your research on the buying behaviours of those you are targeting before writing your posts.
Tip: Still not sure? Have a look and see what others are doing. It might just help you with some ideas.
What do we need to do?
Ok, so now that we have an idea in regards to our niche and know some of the problems that we can investigate, we need to choose and setup the media that we intend to use to sell our product. This can include:
Build a Website
When it comes to selling toys online, you are usually going to require a website of some description. Whether it be one you create yourself, or one that is set up under a bigger marketplace site such as Amazon, EBay or ETSY, websites allow you to solve problems via blog posts and videos that people can view in order to identify the solutions that they need. Usually, this process is fairly straight forward in that you build your website, write posts (on the differences between certain types of train sets for example), then provide links so that they can view/purchase the relevant materials from your links.
Promote on Social Media
Social media is a powerful platform that can allow you to get your message out there into the big wide online world. It has the power to reach thousands and allows you to target specific segments if you choose the correct platform. In terms of selling toys online, a good platform to start with is YouTube where you can discuss items with your audience – Some people make millions out of this.
Pinterest and Instagram can also be good for visuals such as pictures and/or showing pics of your target audience in contact with your products.
Join like-minded groups
Now without sounding condescending, many collectors and hobbyists love a good social group. These groups can be found either online or as part of exhibitions and trade shows. By getting involved with these groups (online avenues such as FaceBook groups are much easier for this) you can really get a great understanding as to what they are struggling with, what information they seek and what products they are looking to buy. Examples of Star Wars groups below – there are groups and pages for just about everything toy related you can think of:
Note: Many of these groups will not allow you to spruike or promote your sites directly, however if you can interact and demonstrate your knowledge then people will ask you directly for the information. At the very least, as above, it is a great way to get ideas and insight into what people in this area really want to know about and what they are buying online.
How do we sell them?
Ok, now we come to probably the most important aspect of this whole online selling caper in that we need to consider what products we are going to promote. When it comes to selling toys online, there are three main methods that you can look into:
- Affiliate marketing
- Drop shipping
- White labeling
Affiliate marketing programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links. In short, this means that you will write about toys and all of their fun generating goodness and then refer your readers to a link where they will purchase directly from the vendors. You then make your money via commissions from those vendors.
To find affiliate programs in the toys space, simply type “affiliate: toys” into your search engine:
From here you can search through and find programs that:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality, fake or unsafe products.
- Have solid payment and customer service arrangement.
- Pay decent commissions.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:
- Your website name.
- Traffic levels.
- Why you want to join – (so I can make money by selling your electric trains is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
- How you plan to promote their products.
One thing to be aware of here I guess is to keep in mind the issues we discussed earlier in regards to selling toys online. You need to make sure that the programs you choose can be trusted and that the consumer is comfortable that they have recourse if something goes wrong. For this reason you will need to make sure that your chosen programs are going to resonate with your readers and your niche. That said, some marketplace programs such as Amazon and EBay can give you access to these types of products and as they are more trusted, then they maybe worth a look for sure. Some Amazon examples are as below:
Dropshipping is something that may be of advantage to you in this niche if you are working with larger items such as outdoor play sets etc. This process is similar to affiliate marketing in that you are generally promoting the products of others without the need to actually hold any inventory. With affiliate marketing, you are paid a commission on whatever price the vendor sets but do not manage any customer service, sales processes or post sales requirements. The main difference with dropshipping, is that you perform the following (there are a number of variations to this but this is the guist of it):
- Strike a relationship with a wholesaler.
- Promote the product for whatever price you see fit – often via a marketplace site such as Shopify, Amazon or Ebay.
- Manage the sales processes and customer service.
- Send the final order and payment to the wholesaler for packaging and shipping.
The money that you make is effectively the difference between whatever you managed to sell the product for and the wholesale price that you owe the vendor. The other advantages of dropshipping over affiliate marketing is that:
- You own the customer list – which is another means of building an effective email list.
- You control the cost of the product and hence the profit margins.
- You can control when you put things on ‘sale’, group them in packages or increase the price for high demand items.
The disadvantages however are the extra workload in handling payment and any ongoing customer service requirements.
To find dropshipping suppliers online, you can enter “toys: supplier” into your favourite search engine:
Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location.
From here you can search through and find programs that:
- Offer dropshipping services – Not all product suppliers offer dropshipping as a service.
- Have experience and are helpful – If they are not helpful and/or appear inexperienced then you can expect the same when you are trying to process sales.
- Have acceptable fees – most dropshipping wholesalers will charge a small fee for the dropshipping service – just make sure it is not so high that it eats into your profit margins.
- Provide fast shipping – One disadvantage with dropshipping when dealing with vendors is that the customer is yours, not theirs hence sometimes shipping priorities are not where they should be – make sure shipping times are acceptable.
- Have quality products – as with affiliate marketing, don’t sell rubbish.
- Have a good name – do your research and see what others are saying about them.
Sell your own
If affiliate marketing or dropshipping are not your cup of tea, maybe you could try sourcing and selling your own products. This process is especially popular with those selling smaller items such as craft packs and soft toys etc. and commonly referred to as White Labeling. Here you can either make your own, or purchase your product from a vendor or wholesaler, add your own label and then on-sell them via your website or platforms such as Amazon etc.
This process requires a much higher setup costs as you will need to purchase your products, create and affix your labels and manage orders and shipment. Some wholesalers/vendors will affix the labels that you send them and then manage the packaging and shipment for you (see dropshipping above). This will cost you less to set up but obviously you will make less on the sale once they take their processing fee.
Again, to find out where to acquire your product, do a search for “white label: toys”:
Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location so you may at times need to sort through a few pages.
From here you will need to follow the same processes as with affiliate and dropshipping programs in determining whether they are a good fit for your business plans including:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have solid delivery and customer service arrangements.
- Have good testimonials covering service and quality of product.
Alternatively, keep your eye out in your local area for toy or hobby related exhibitions and swap meets. These are a great way to find and purchase your products at good prices – you never know, you might even find a solid supplier for future sales as well.
Tip: This method can be very effective in driving online traffic and sales via the implementation of more traditional sales methods such as kiosks and market stalls etc. As people get to know you, they can purchase from you there and then be directed to your website for future sales.
And there it is – How to make money selling toys online. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own toy related website?
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Until next time
Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.Follow me on Social Media