How to Start an Online Marketplace to Sell Toys and Baby Products Online
Think opening an online marketplace to sell toys and baby products is a child’s play? Maybe not! India has one of the largest young populations in the world, owing to which the toy industry in the country has witnessed a rapid growth.
However, just like Lego has replaced wooden building blocks and Barbie dolls have now taken over traditional cloth dolls, something else has changed too. What? The way people do business! Multi-seller stores have replaced your traditional brick-and-mortar stores to sell toys and baby products online.
Data reflects that the online Indian toy market will cross US$ 3.3 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 13.3% during 2019–2024. So if you are marinating thoughts about launching your multi-vendor marketplace, what could be a better time?
According to research, 12 percent of the global goods trade is conducted via e-commerce, with much of it driven by virtual multi-seller stores such as Alibaba, Amazon, eBay or Flipkart. So whether it is shoes or furniture, gadgets or jewelry, multi-seller models are taking off big time.
With the market in the positive light, you will not regret the decision to kickstart your multi-selling model. Hence, let us see what you need to consider before you make the big announcement.
Compare ways to sell toys online
A multi vendor marketplace is not the only way to sell toys and baby products online. Many entrepreneurs start small and go for a web store instead.
Setting up a fully-functional online store will require you to dive deeper into every aspect of your business. Once you build up the storefront, you will need to create an inventory, probably even rent a warehouse and manage sales orders. At the same time, you will need to take care of logistics, marketing and all other factors that make an online business successful.
Unlike an online marketplace, selling toys and baby products via an e-commerce store, will leave you constantly juggling between all aspects of business management.
Online multi-seller way
A very efficient way to sell toys and baby products online is through a multi-seller website. A multi-vendor model does not bind you into menial tasks such as order uploads, shipping, managing returns, etc. You can own your space, invite vendors to list their products and set up commission per vendor sale. All you need to do is look after the maintenance and marketing aspects.
A multi vendor marketplace setup allows you to focus on your bigger goals such as stability, scalability and expansion. More so, because your vendors will take care of the sales from the traffic you generate with your marketing strategies.
Most e-tailers who want to venture into B2C sectors these days are choosing a multi-vendor website over an online store. Initially, it could be a little overwhelming to manage vendors, drive traffic, a systematic flow, etc. But in the long-run, a multi vendor marketplace functions autonomously to keep attracting traffic and give you good commission.
Differentiation is the key
Surely, you want to play it smart. And hence your decision to go with a multi-selling model is a good one. So what next? Well, focus on aspects that will make you stand out!
To do so, you need to set yourself apart from others within your niche. You will need some unique selling propositions to voice out what your business stands for. Look at other business models and note down their business tactics. This could be an insightful way to craft strategies for your online marketplace.
Shumee, one of the well-known toy brands, handcrafts toys from natural wood. By telling its audience that its toys are organic and safe for toddlers, it attracts a lot of attention. This brand is a very popular one on Amazon. Maybe you want to find vendors that provide such unique offerings. This is because high-quality vendors will attract a lot of traffic and will help you have an upper hand than your competitors.
You can differentiate your model by offering a unique inventory, a good navigation experience or setting decent prices. Or your point of differentiation could be the way you handle processes through a feature-rich platform.
Maximise your inventory
One reason why a multi-vendor store succeeds in driving more traffic than an online web store is because of its vast inventory. Besides the price factor, customers get a wide variety of products in the same place. A multi-selling website is meant to offer anything to anyone under a given category and to make this possible it needs an extensive inventory. The more vendor listings you have, the larger is the inventory of your multi vendor marketplace.
For toys and baby products you can maximise your inventory in two ways. Nowadays, brick-and-mortar stores are quickly running out of business because of the convenience that online shopping offers its customers. In most of the segments including toys, baby products, apparel, etc. traditional stores seem like something from the olden days. So any dealer or seller who wants to sell toys can switch to online sale while keeping his/her traditional store as it is. You can get in touch with wholesale vendors, distributors, brokers, who would want to list their products on your multi vendor marketplace.
Likewise, a lot of schools, hostels, playhouses and even parents look for high-quality toys and puzzles. This gives you the scope to venture into second-hand toys and create a whole new category within your existing model. Recently, purchasing books in kilos is a very popular trend among parents of young children. You can check out garage sales, and thrift stores to see if you can connect it to your online marketplace and boost profitability.
Go for data-driven strategies:
Gone are the days when you give a child a shining new toy and he would happily accept it. Kids nowadays have choices and preferences, much of it stemming due to exposure to screen time.
Give a 5-year-old a toy train with cartoon character imprints. If a boy was to pick between one with Mogli and Chotta Bheem, he would probably go with the latter. Why? Because while fun remains fun, preferences change over generations.
Saying so, trends matter if you want to sell toys and baby products on your online marketplace. Even before you start listing vendors and think about inventory, think about the kind of toys you want to sell online. There are a variety of toys currently available in the market. From traditional plush toys and blocks to board games, figurines and electronic toys, this category contains mind-boggling product range. All you need to do is some research to find appropriate, high-quality vendors within each category.
There are a lot of marketing tactics through which you can offer your customers more than what they are looking for. But before all that, it’s important to have a decent, in-trend inventory for customers to come to your multi vendor marketplace in the first place.
Choose a good e-commerce solution
E-commerce business is a constant race against time. There is also tough market competition within each segment. By the time you are reading this article and thinking about creating a multi-seller website for selling toys and baby products, somebody else must have already started building one.
Do you think e-tailers waste time to build a multi-vendor model from scratch? Of course not. The time you invest behind your business is as important as your capital.
If you can create a fantastic online marketplace using an e-commerce solution then why not? Besides, you get a whole lot of business transparency, advanced tools and innovative features that go missing in conventional setups.
So what are the benefits of an e-commerce solution?
- As an admin, complete control over the multi-seller online store via your dashboard
- Freedom to your vendors to manage their inventories, list products, offer deals, etc. through individual vendor dashboards
- Streamlined product and inventory management system that can be managed by the vendors and controlled by the admin
- Easy setup of commissions (fixed or flexible) and integrated payment system to split vendor profit and owner’s share on your online marketplace
- Seller ledgers to organise payments, shipping costs, add-ons, etc.
- Unified notifications to intimidate vendors and customers about promotions, new features and more
- Strong discount engine to offer discounts and deals
How to choose a good e-commerce solution to sell toys and baby products online?
Just like every business is different, it’s needs are different too. You can’t be picking a generic or free software to build a robust multi-selling model. Your toys and baby products business will be a full-bloom space to bring vendors and customers in one place.
The platform you choose to build your online marketplace should help you create a swift backend and amazing storefronts. At the same time, it should be equipped with future-ready features to help you quickly scale and expand your business whenever you wish to.
A top e-commerce solution should help you;
- Convert your existing online store into a multi-seller online store
- Expand your existing multi-selling set-up so that it can accomodate more vendors
- Help you from scratch to build up a model of your liking.
Top e-commerce solutions offer 14-day trial stores to get you acquainted with their feature-rich platform. The best thing would be to consider your options wisely and take a demo trail to get hands on experience.