Protect Your Brand In a Changing Toys Industry

As far as innovations in the toy industry and eCommerce go it's baby shark eat baby shark. If you're not elevating your eCommerce strategy then someone else will. With iconic giants in the industry like Toys R Us facing bankruptcy many brands like FAO Schwarz and retailers like Amazon and Walmart are rushing in to bridge the gap.  Toys R Us acts as a cautionary tale for those who are unwilling to adapt to eCommerce and create an omnichannel experience for their customers. The company has not reported a profit since 2013.

At the moment the toy giant is planning on keeping its brick and mortar stores open but sales continue to fall as malls become quieter and shoppers continue to purchase online. However Amazon's toy sales rose by 25% in 2016 reaching $4 billion dollars in revenue. With figures like that it's time to bring your focus to eCommerce and with online options ranging from infinity and beyond you can't be missing out.  ChannelSight is here with the strategies and tactics that you need to help win in the modern toy market. From Amazon and beyond we'll guide you through the ways in which your brand can succeed in the toy business.  

Today's Toys & ECommerce

Baby sharks aside (is it in your head yet?) no one wants to end up like Toys R Us. Struggling from fierce online competition and difficulty in joining the eCommerce world Toys R Us have suffered from the shift from brick and mortar stores to an omnichannel experience. Could they have avoided their fate? It's predicted that that eCommerce toy sales will continue to grow from 31.4% of retail sales in the United States in 2019 to nearly 47.9% by 2023. This growth can be attributed to the closures of Toys R Us. The opportunity to see toys in person prior to purchasing them to see them and feel them is less important now than it was in the past. Moreover the convenience of shopping online provides the benefit of the most ease the best price and a wide range of options. Your brand needs to be taking advantage of these consumer habits.  With a wide range of eCommerce solutions ChannelSight can help you navigate through your transition to an omnichannel experience online. Want to learn more? Book a demo to see for yourself.  

Amazon The Great Disrupter

Amazon is no stranger to growth. It's disrupted nearly every category they've dared to enter and toys are no different. In addition big brands like LEGO Hasbro Mattel and Nintendo have revealed that Amazon has captured more than 83% of their online sales for their brands in 2017. In a post Toys R Us era there are plentiful opportunities to get your brand online and Amazon is in a good position to help you do so.  Shoppers have a lot more choice on Amazon. From being able to compare brands of toys to colors' and categories the options are endless. If you look up 'construction toys' on Amazon over 50000 listings appear right at your fingertips. Increasingly Amazon is also pushing their private label Amazon Basics alongside the listing. Buying construction toys? In addition maybe you need a bin to organize them. Amazon wins by anticipating what you need before you even think about it. Tie this with lighting fast shipping competitive prices and a vast choice- it only makes sense that they would be the first choice for consumers worldwide.  

What Can You Do To Protect Your Brand

With 3 in 4 US online shoppers starting their toy search on Amazon what can you do to protect your business from ended up like Toys R Us?  

Look At Which Products Are Best Sellers.

It's time to optimize your stock. Take a look to see which products are best sellers and make sure that they are ranking on the first page of Amazon to ensure visibility. Amazon's A9 search engine differs drastically from Google Search because Amazon is a buying platform. Therefore Amazon wants shoppers to buy as much and as often as possible. So what can you do to be one of those featured products? Keep images the content title and the price point in mind. Optimise for visibility relevance and conversions. In other words shoppers need to be able to find you and find you interesting. You can even go further and ensure that your best selling products have positive reviews. Did you know that 20% of shoppers consider the presence of good reviews as influential as the basic product content? A positively reviewed product typically has more than 20 reviews with at least a 4.0 star average rating. Some markets are underdeveloped in regards to reviews. For instance German and French markets on Amazon do not feature as many reviews as the United Kingdom. This is a great area for brands to focus their efforts on as ensuring that their best selling products feature strong reviews can help increase traffic and conversions.  

Keep An Eye On Stock Levels.

You've put in the work and now your products are ranking in the top 15-20 positions. Now it's time to make sure that you're not only visible to consumers but you're also in stock. Product content and sales are major driving forces behind search rankings. If you're not in stock how can you be bought? Leading brands in Europe keep a close eye on their stock levels and the top 5 toy brands across markets average a year round availability of 93%. We are approaching the busiest part of the year for toy sales. Similarly during this time of year stock levels for popular toys obviously come under some pressure while parents look to surprise and delight their children. Make sure your products are available and in stock to avoid missed opportunities. Monitor and measure your key metrics daily to identify opportunities issues and adjust stock levels.  With ChannelSight it becomes possible to track and monitor all your product prices SKU's and stock coverage across all retail partners. Furthermore you'll also be able to easily pinpoint offenders that are devaluing your brand and enforce a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) when necessary. Don't find your brand missing out.  

Think About The Holidays. Your holiday strategy guide needs to begin before the December rush. The prominence of toy sales on Black Friday surpassed all other sales driven online events. For instance Amazon sold over 200000 toys in their first five hours of sales on Black Friday 2018. Above all parents are online looking for toys for the upcoming holiday season. It's an intense holiday sales cycle but your brand needs to be prepared for the challenge. Above all you should be be creating a functional omnichannel experience to win this holiday season. Toys are one of the top selling categories on Amazon and they generated $400 million in sales in the US from November 19th to December 2nd 2019.

Finally have you considered bridging the gap between online shopping and physical stores? It might be worth considering incorporating Buy Now Pickup In Store (BOPIS) as part of your omnichannel strategy. Did you know that shoppers that were notified of their order within 4 hours were 19% more likely to use the services again? We've written a great piece about how BOPIS could be the secret to making a truly omnichannel experience. You can read it here. Parents are looking for a convenient way to complete their holiday shopping. In conclusion offering consumers all of the information required to purchase a product online and pick up in store brands can further enhance their consumer experience while capturing interest at its peak.  

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