If there are any niches that have proven evergreen when it comes to selling things online, then one of them is definitely going to be – the Toy niche. The market for toys in India is huge and the industry is evolving for ages.
From clay and wooden toys which were sold in rural India for thousands of years to the fancy electronic or automated toys which became the new favorite of 21st-century kids, the toy market in India has seen it all.
Thus, considering the needs and wants of the consumers, a big market opportunity opens up for eCommerce enthusiasts who are looking for a lucrative and time-tested business model.
But hold on. It is not going to be as easy and pretty as it sounds. Even though the toy market is one of the biggest industries in India, it is also one of the most competitive and slightly saturated ones.
Thus, if you are considering stepping into this playground, you have to do your homework and plan things wisely. So to assist you with the same, in this article, I am going to cover all the things that you will need to know in order to start your own online toy selling business in India.
What are we going to discuss?
- Why is Selling Toys a Good Business in India?
- Types of Toys That You Can Sell Online
- Conducting Product Research
- How to Source the Toys From Suppliers?
- Getting Product Pictures For Your Toys
- Choosing A Platform
- Designing Your Brand
- Registering Your Toy Company
- How To Deal With Trademarked Toys?
- How To Market Your Online Toy Store?
Covers almost everything you must be having in your mind right? So let’s get started.
Why is Selling Toys a Good Business in India?
The toy industry in India alone is estimated to be a whopping $1.5 billion market which is almost 0.5% of the global market share and is expected to become as huge as $2 to $3 billion by 2024. The domestic toy market in India is expected to grow by 10% to 15% every year. (Source)
To give you a clearer idea, let me show you how many Google searches are happening in India for this particular keyword ‘remote control car’.
As you can see, around 100k – 1M searches per month are done for the keyword mentioned above in India. Leave alone all the specific micro-niche searches with different permutations and combinations.
Though the keyword search volumes might not be the greatest indicators to find the exact market demand, it is enough to give you a rough idea, right?
Also if you take a look at the Google trends graph below for a particular keyword ‘toys for kids’ searched in Google for the past 5 years, you can see how the trend has gone upwards over time in spite of the temporary fluctuations.
Looking at these statistics and numbers, one thing is clear. The Toys niche is going to dominate the eCommerce markets for many years to come. The question is, are we prepared to grab even a small chunk of the large, ever-expanding market?
Types of Toys That You Can Sell Online
The products you can sell under the tag of ‘toys’ are literally endless. It can get confusing while picking up the ones which you need to focus on.
Thus before moving ahead and doing product research, let’s first take a look at different types of toys that are high in demand when it comes to online shopping and which you can think of selling.
- Dolls & Action figures.
- Miniature Vehicles.
- Soft Toys.
- Board Games & Puzzles.
- Plastic Bricks (Lego Toys).
- Eco Friendly / Wooden Toys.
- Learning Models & Educational Toys.
- Sport Toys.
- Remote Controlled Toys.
- Other Electronic & Functional Toys.
- Trend Based Toys.
- Toys Based on Age (ie. 0 to 2 yrs, 3 to 4 yrs, 5 to 10 yrs, etc.)
Do you see the list is getting longer and longer? But never mind.
We at least have laid basic information which is enough, for now, to go ahead and start doing product research.
Conducting Product Research
“50% of your marketing strategy is already successful when the right products are chosen to be sold.“
When we say a toy store, it is not the best way to start with a generic approach and load up your store with every possible toy from the above types to sell.
As we discussed earlier, we are talking about a hugely competitive space and you need to play smartly to be able to penetrate the market. This is where product research plays an important role.
Following are few ways which you can use to do product research and shortlist the best toy products to sell –
- Amazon Best Sellers – Like Google is for websites and Youtube is for videos, Amazon is for the products. All you have to do is head to Amazon > Go to Bestsellers > Select Toys & Games. You will be able to find plenty of product ideas there. You can conduct your research based on the most popular products, number of reviews and the pricing of the products.
- Other Brand Websites – You can take a look at what toys other big popular brands are selling currently. Websites like FirstCry.com, Hamleys.in, Shume.com, etc. are eCommerce stores specialised in toys. Thus, you can use them for your research.
- Competitor Research – How can you miss on this? Many times competitors are the ones who give us the maximum ideas. Thus, firstly you can find out who your competitors are and keep an eye on what products are they selling and for what products are they running ads the most. Just make sure you don’t replicate the same but gain ideas out of it.
- Product Research Tools – You can use tools like JungleScout, Helium10, etc. to conduct a detailed research on Amazon and analyse the data to give you profitable ideas.
- Keyword Research Tools – Use any of the keyword research tools like Google Keywords Planner, Ahrefs, SEMRush, UberSuggest, etc. to find out what people are searching for in toys, what the search volume is and what are the related keywords.
- Instagram Hashtags – Almost all the online toy stores out there must be using this. So why not use it to get product ideas? All you have to do is checkout the product images that appear under when you enter the following hashtags in the search (try more though) – #toys #actionfigures #toycollection #toystagram #toystory #lego
Be specific in what direction you want to go or else there is a high chance of you getting confused and lost. Choose a particular type in the beginning.
Decide whether you want to focus on eco-friendly toys, or get into electronic & automated toys, maybe think educational toys might work, or do you find dolls, miniatures, and action figures more exciting. This will give you a more clear picture to establish your brand online.
Now once you have a list of all the products that you think will go great under your brand, it’s time to find the suppliers for the products.
How to Source the Toys From Suppliers?
What your suppliers will give you is what your customers will get in their hands and develop a perception about you. Thus, sourcing products and finding suppliers with whom you can deal in the long term is extremely important to make your online toy business profitable.
There are numerous places from where you can source the toys for your business, but I will give you the easiest ways which will make searching for suppliers a smooth process for you.
Well, I know is this even a thing to be listed here? All our searches start from here, right? But still, many people fail to utilize ‘Googling’ in the best possible way to find suppliers for their toy business.
Following are the search queries that you can make use of while performing a search in Google –
- Toys manufacturers in India
- Suppliers of Toys in India
- Wholesale “inventory” India “xls” Toys
- Supplier “inventory” India “csv” Toys
You can use your own search combinations on the basis of the exact names of the toys that you are looking for.
Searching for suppliers on LinkedIn is easier as compared to Google, but the results highly depend on whether you are looking for suppliers from the Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities or smaller towns as suppliers from smaller towns may not be much active on LinkedIn.
All you have to do is to follow these steps –
- Enter ‘toys’ or specific types of toys in the search bar.
- Select Companies in the filter and enter the Location.
- Specify the industry as Wholesale in the filter.
- You can even choose the Company Size if you want.
You will get a list of all the potential suppliers. But you need to verify them by checking out their websites and other details. If you find the ideal ones, you can just go ahead and connect.
- Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are the easiest way to find suppliers, especially in India as manufacturers or wholesalers in India are mostly active on Facebook instead of LinkedIn.
You can start your search by entering the following search queries on Facebook –
- Toys manufacturers
- Toys suppliers
- Toys wholesalers
- Toys distributors
You have to join the most active groups and connect with people or check for updates. You will surely find a lot of potential suppliers there for your toys business.
- Online Marketplaces
This will be the most accurate place for what you are here for. You will not only be able to directly conduct your research based on products & view their prices but also can directly connect with the suppliers. These marketplaces are meant for connecting suppliers with sellers.
The best online marketplaces for conducting the search for your toy products are – Alibaba, Aliexpress, Indiamart, GlobalSources, and TradeIndia. But these are not the only ones. You can go ahead and find more such genuine marketplaces as well.
The best part about making deals via such marketplaces is that you can connect with suppliers from almost any country be it India or China. Also, the process is much smoother and safer compared to directly dealing with individual suppliers.
- Local Markets
If you are able to tap it here, this would be the best approach for sourcing your products. There are many hidden gems in the local areas where amazing toys do get manufactured and sometimes are sold directly or even exported.
The only drawback you will face by taking this way to source your products is that you will not be able to find everything just with a few clicks. You need to hunt places to find exactly what type of toys you are looking for.
But if you are able to find some amazing toys which have the potential of being excellent winning products online, it is going to be a gold mine for your business.
The best way to go on finding the local markets is to conduct a simple search on Google and find the manufacturers or suppliers listed on Google My Business or Just Dial. You can just contact them via phone call or visit the place to take a look at the products available for supply.
Getting Product Pictures For The Toys
The majority of the window shopping eventually leading to sales happens online due to awesomely tempting product images. Thus, this is not a factor to be taken lightly.
Once you finalize the products and maybe order the samples, it is time to click the professional-looking pictures of the toys which you will be uploading while adding products to your website or online marketplaces.
Following are the ways you can get pictures clicked for your products –
- Local Photographers – This should be the best approach if you want to take the pictures of your toys without having to ship them to anyone anywhere. You can find any good local product photographer via business listing directories like Google My Business or Just Dial and get your toys clicked.
- Freelancing Websites – If you have some specific demand and are not able to find good photographers in your locality, you can find plenty of great product photographers on freelancing websites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelance, etc. Just the drill will be to ship the products to their places so they can click the photographs and send you the products back.
- DIY Photography – I will recommend this only if you already have good photography skills and have the necessary equipment like a good phone camera (or a dslr), portable lighting, a table top and a white screen or a cloth as a background. You need to study the product photo guidelines of online marketplaces if you are choosing to host your store there and then proceed with the photography. Do not compromise on the quality as it is the key factor to get you sales.
Take a look at this detailed guide on how you can get pictures for the products you will be selling on Amazon or any type of eCommerce store.
Choosing A Platform
Where you are selling is equally important as what you are selling. So once you have your products ready to be sold, it is time to choose the right platform online.
Here you basically have 2 primary options –
- Your Own eCommerce Website
- Online Marketplaces (Amazon, Flipkart, etc.)
Every platform has its own benefits and you can’t go wrong by choosing any. But you know what’s the best option? To be present on both! This way you will be able to utilize the best of both worlds.
But having said that, being on marketplaces has some pros as well as cons. The single biggest pro is that you already have a daily traffic of thousands of hungry buyers who already trust the platform. But then as a con, you have to face a lot of competition and some really strict policies by the platform.
Thus, it is important to consider all the factors while choosing a marketplace. And about hosting your own store, it’s a necessity to build your own brand irrespective of whether you choose a marketplace or not.
Designing Your Brand
The only thing which will set you apart from the thousands of people selling toys online, no matter whether on marketplaces like Amazon or on your own store is your brand. And creating one is not as difficult as it might seem.
You just have to follow the steps given below to at least build a unique perception about yourself in the market before you start making any sales.
- Choose a cute or catchy name for your brand that expresses your ‘type’.
- Create a colour palette for your brand design and get a unique and decent logo made.
- Choose to be known for a specific niche. Don’t be an online toys store. Be an online toy store specialized in educational toys or RC toys or eco friendly toys, etc.
- Craft a story behind your brand. Include what inspired you to start selling the toys and what is your vision about initiating the same.
- Have a purpose of a mission to your brand and start creating a community around that purpose.
- Have your social media and PR strategies planned out.
Once you start creating a plan for your branding, it is important to get your company registered legally. It is only after then, your brand will be eligible to be called a ‘business’.
Registering Your Toy Company
Be it while making a deal with the supplier, or while setting up a payment gateway for your online store, or even while hosting your store on other marketplaces; company registration is something you cannot and should not escape.
Registering an eCommerce company in India is no different than registering any other business. Thus, while registering your Online Toy Store business, you need to take the same route that other companies take.
Following are the things that you will require in order to fully establish your Online Toy Store business legally –
- Company Formation (LLP or Pvt. Ltd.)
- Shop Act – in case you choose to stay Sole Proprietor & don’t form a company.
- GST Registration.
- MSME Registration (if you want to avail various schemes given by the Government).
- Company PAN and Opening a Current Bank Account.
- If you have at least one or more employees working for you then you need to apply for Professional Tax, PFO & ESIC.
I previously wrote this detailed article about the step-by-step process you need to follow to register an eCommerce business in India. Take a look and all your questions will be answered.
How to Deal With Trademarked Toys?
I can completely relate to your temptation of adding franchise-based toy products to your catalog which are already popular amongst the kids. Be it Marvel or DC action figures, Anime character products, or miniatures from famous science fiction movies.
But do you know, selling such trademarked products without proper licensing is illegal and can land you into legal disputes? You don’t want to deal with all this right?
But what’s the way out if you still want to grab those awesome franchise products and grow your business based on the already popular products? It is by applying to the consent franchise owner for being an ‘Official Merchandise’ or an ‘Authorised Seller’.
To know more about it, refer to my article here in which I have covered how you can dropship the anime products legally. Though the article is just about anime products, the concept applies to all types of trademarked toys as well.
But all things said and done, I would always recommend avoiding getting into trademarked or franchise-based products and focus on unique designs. Even if you have to step a bit further, you can go ahead and create your own designs and get them trademarked!
How to Market Your Online Toy Store?
Here is where the real game begins. All we did up till now was perhaps just a preparatory part. Once your store is launched and live, it is time to start marketing and bring in sales.
Following are few strategies for you that will help shed some light on how you can approach marketing for your online toys store –
- If you are selling toys in India – offering Cash On Delivery service can play a major role in bringing more sales.
- Running Facebook Ads for your products will help you bring in the immediate results. Also if the campaign proves profitable, you can scale it huge.
- Google Shopping Ads can help bring in consistent sales too if your toys are something which already people are searching about.
- If your store is hosted on a marketplace like Amazon, you can optimize your listing (product title and description) for getting more searches. You can also try running Amazon sponsored ad campaigns and check the ROAS.
- Start a blog related to the ‘Parenting’ niche and create valuable content around it so that you get targeted traffic to your store.
- You can create an email list and promote deals, discounts and offers from time to time.
It is only after you run effective marketing campaigns, start generating good sales and start making profits out of your store, will all the efforts pay. That’s why do not hesitate in allotting a good budget to the marketing part of your online Toy store business.
Start Selling Toys Online Today
I hope so by now you must have got equipped with most of the information required to build your own brand and start selling toys under it online in India. All you need is to step on the ground and start taking action.
Remember. Your entrepreneurial journey in the online toy world is not going to be easy. As I said earlier, we are talking about a hugely competitive market here, and doing your research and homework prior to commencement is extremely important.
If you dedicatedly invest your time in choosing a micro niche within the toy industry, research, and come up with the right products to sell, you can be able to penetrate the market quicker than you would have expected. And not to mention that this business can get highly rewarding and profitable for you in the long run.
So let me know in the comment section below about what encouraged you to choose the ‘online toy industry’ for starting your eCommerce entrepreneurial journey. Also, I would like to know if the above article helped you in any way to make things clearer for you.
To Your Ecom Success.