By Jordan Malik, MBA/MS & Award-Winning Amazon Pro Merchant & eBay Top Seller


Why Selling Toys Online Won't Suck This Xmas

NOTE: This blog has moved to:

Despite the fits and starts of the economic recession, it is a good time to be an online retailer. Why?

- A recent Wall Street Journal article states that higher fuel bills are forcing customers to reconsider driving to the big box stores (i.e. Walmart) to buy stuff; and they are even buying more of their consumable goods (goods they would normally buy at those stores) on online sites like Amazon.

- Another recent Wall Street Journal article confirms that if a double-dip recession occurs, "online-only stores shouldn't fret as much as their brick-and-mortar counterparts"; and finally

- (You knew this already) Online sales year-over-year growth continues to beat the daylights out of brick-and-mortar retail growth.

So if you want to cash in this Christmas like I did (by selling mostly Toys on Amazon), here are some tips:

TACTIC: SIGN UP TO SELL on AMAZON or EBAY NOW (If you haven't already)
Sign up to sell on Amazon soon because their Toy and Games restrictions will kick in if you don't start selling toys, like, now. You can loophole (for the most part) these restrictions when you sign up for Fulfillment by Amazon, or 'FBA' (Where Amazon does all the shipping directly to your customers). I recommend signing up for FBA whether you sell Toys/games or not. The cost for selling via Amazon FBA versus shipping the item to the customer yourself is pretty minimal, and FBA frees you up from the grunt work (i.e. boxing individual items and haggling over customer service issues). (If you need to get up to speed quickly to learn how to "sell like a champ" on Amazon, take this course (it has a 100% Money Back Guarantee if you're not satisfied for any reason). Or learn the basics, FREE, on your own with this guide).

Preparedness pays:

FREE TIP #1: When you see local (or online) toy store sales and/or clearance, snap up toys from some of the more traditional brands - Legos, Barbie, Toy Story 3, Disney Pixar Cars, Bratz dolls. etc. These almost always sell for 2x to 3x (or more) their 'off-Season Sale' prices when Xmas draws near close. Stay away from faddish-toys with no brand history.

FREE TIP #2: Hang out in the online sales forums like and bookmark sites to learn what other folks are trying to get their hands on this Christmas.

FREE TIP #3: Talk to your friends who have little kids and take notes of what Toys the kids think are 'hot' right now. If you find a common product (i.e., if every boy mentions the Hot Wheels Video Racers, out this Fall), well chances are that toy will be a hot pick - and very hard to find - this Christmas (which mean you should find those products now, preferably on sale, and plan to sell the 2x to 3x their current retail price).

FREE TIP #4: Talk to your local mom-and-pop Toy store. Tell them you want to 'surprise your niece' this Christmas with a toy that is predicted to be a winner, but you have no idea what to buy. These toy stores have already ordered their inventory and they know what's in predicted to be hot and in demand.

FREE TIP #5: Hang out in the local 'big' Toy Stores (i.e. ToysRUS) a couple times a week and see what they're sold out of. Again, chances are those hard-to-keep-in-stock toys will be even hotter this Christmas. So take note what's sold out and buy it online or at the same store when it's back in stock.

Whether you sell on Amazon, ebay, or anywhere else - do you have a strategy to stand out? You can take my ideas:

FREE TIP #6: include brand new batteries for every toy that requires them, and make sure you say that in the product description or title.

FREE TIP #7: IF YOU SHIP your products (versus Fulfillment), promise your customers a "Get it by December 20th or IT's FREE" Guarantee, like I do. (You can pick a date other than the 20th if you wish, of course). I've never had a problem promising this. Some customers are PRAYING they get the gift late so they can get it free, but I had a late delivery maybe once or twice in the past 3 years. Just make sure you ship your packages out well ahead of the 'Get it By' date.

FREE TIP #8: IF YOU SHIP your products (versus Fulfillment), give your customers a free upgrade to USPS PRIORITY shipping. (I have found that,  for most average-sized packages weighing between 13 ounces and 3 lbs, that Priority shipping is frequently just a little more $ than parcel post.)

FREE TIP #9: Pre-owned Toys (as long as they're clean and neat) sell extremely well, too, year round - and for even more profit during the Holidays. So hit your local thrift stores/yard sales NOW and find some complete toys and/or games for $1 or $2 (Make sure they have all the pieces/parts, and get batteries if they're needed). NOTE:  If you want the extra assurance to know EXACTLY what pre-owned toys to look for, you can buy this guide. (Note: subscribers to get that guide for free) Stick the games/toys in the closet so you can sell them in November/December on eBay or Amazon.

So I hope that helps you - let's get ready to CRUSH IT this Xmas! Questions? Post away....

J.B. Malik, Founder and

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