How to Start an Online Toy Store | Sell Toys Online in India
Toys are the child’s best friend and one of the most commonly purchased goods. With the number of people shopping online rapidly increasing, it is never a bad decision to start an online toy store. Another aspect to be considered here is that the children are also quite tech savvy and often teach their parents about mobiles and computers! Children are now able to make their own choices in terms of foods and other aspects, especially the toys that they want to buy. Hence, it becomes more easy for the parent too! While it can be a best decision to start an online toy store, it can be the worst too, if enough background work is not accomplished before you start it.
Here are a few important factors to consider before you start an online toy store.
Get all your legals done
Yes, that’s the most important aspect to be addressed before you start an online toy store. Once online, all transactions can be monitored easily and hence it becomes highly necessary to address all legal issues and obtain all relevant permissions and certifications before you start. Permissions related to setting up an office/warehouse, registrations (company, logo, trademark, import/export, etc) required for running the company and tax implications (GST) need to be completed. It has to be noted that since all transactions happen online and all payments are deposited to the banks directly, one has to be extra careful to ensure that all legal aspects have been addressed.
Decide the business model
Basically, you can start an online toy store using two models – drop ship and self operated. Simply put, in the drop-ship model, you identify the toy shop owners (wholesaler or retailer) who will ship the products for you and you ask them to ship the products that are ordered on your store. You do not maintain any inventory (stock) in this model. In the self-operated model, you maintain a warehouse where you stock all the products listed on your website and you ship them directly to the buyers. You can choose the model of operation depending on your investment. While the returns may be lower in the drop-ship model, the main positive factor is that you need not maintain any inventory. On the other hand, the returns are higher in the self-ship (or self-operated) but the investment is higher too. So, decide your business model and proceed accordingly. It is much easier to start an online toy store if you have a physical toy store already.
Choose the eCommerce portal
Next aspect to be addressed before you start an online toy store is choosing the eCommerce platform. Here, there are two basic options to choose from. One, a DIY platform and the other are ready to use eCommerce platforms. If you have a software team in place, then choose the DIY option where numerous softwares are available free of charge which can be customised according to your needs. Nevertheless, there are some features which may need to be bought and the cost of having a software team in place should also be considered. The other easier option is to subscribe to a readily available eCommerce platform. While there are several eCommerce platforms available, I recommend the one by Shopnix (mainly based on personal experience).
Basically, the eCommerce platform is where you start an online toy store. The users/buyers log-in to the store, view the products and place orders. At the back-end, you can list the products to be sold, get the details of the orders placed and update the details of the shipping status. All these are known as ‘features’ in eCommerce terminology and should be offered by the eCommerce platform that you choose. Some of the features you need to look into when you are planning to start an online toy store include – themes, categories, ease of listing and deleting products, customer order details, shipping details, stock details, discounts, and payment gateway options. Another two important aspects to be considered are the costing and support team. All these are commendable in the eCommerce platform offered by Shopnix.
Packaging and Shipping
This is the next important aspect to be addressed when you are planning to start an online toy store is the packaging and shipping. While majority of the toys are supplied in their own outer packaging, they may often not be strong enough to prevent breakages during transport. Broken toys not only mean lost money, but can also lead to customer distrust. Hence, it is vital to invest in good packaging material. It also helps in improving your brand awareness. As the eCommerce business is booming there are several online options available to buy the different types of packaging materials.
Choosing the shipping partner also requires adequate research. They should not only have wide coverage, but should also be safe and economical. The products shipped should also be able to be tracked on the shipper’s website. The shipping or the logistics companies also have special prices for eCommerce stores. So ensure that you contact the main office for these offers and get the best deal to start an online toy store. If you are in the metros, there are several logistic startups that offer multi-vendor shipping using a single platform. Such platforms allow you to check the prices across different vendors along with coverage area before choosing the shipping partner.
Product photography and content on the product page are two features which need to be given equal weightage while you start an online toy store. Attractive and clear photos of the products are a must for every online store. The buyers must be able to zoom in and view the outer packaging and other features of the toys to get a clear idea about the product they intend to buy. The content page on the other hand should have enough details related to aspects such as size, weight, operating procedure (whether batteries required, etc) and any other useful information. This would not ensure easier sales, but would also reduce the number of package returns (owing to reason such as wrong product ordered).
Once you have addressed all these aspects, you are ready to start an online toy store!