While toys and games are always interesting to people regardless of age, business in this area is not always as fun and easy as children's games. If you have an idea for a new game or toy and are looking for ways to bring it to market, the task may seem daunting at first. Questions regarding the production, distribution, delivery and packaging of a product, as well as its promotion on the market, can seem like an insurmountable difficulty. But from this article, you will understand that the secret is to tackle one issue and then move on to another. And this one will ensure you have a successful market entry.
Step 1. Make a prototype
This process is likely to involve several tries and many changes, so don't invest too much money in your first model. Test the result thoroughly and make changes to the rules of the game or the appearance of the toy before investing a significant amount in the final prototype.
Step 2. Obtain a patent
The process is fairly simple and inexpensive. The toy business is just as brutal as others, so any good idea will be instantly copied by other companies if you don't legally protect it.
Step 3. Visit a toy exhibition
It is not worth renting a booth just yet because it is too early at this stage. You just have to pay for the entrance and see what exhibitions of this type are. After spending a day at the exhibition, you will be able to find out what products similar to yours exist on the market, you will be able to make the necessary acquaintances with manufacturers, as well as get acquainted with buyers who have a lot of weight in this market.
Step 4. Ask yourself how you see your role in the future business
If your product has a rather complex concept (namely, you need to use new technologies or use an existing toy in a completely new way), then it may be possible for you to offer your patent to an existing toy company. Although usually this option rarely works. The launch of a new product involves a lot of financial investment, and few people will want to invest in a patent on a toy or game that is not yet on the market, and it is not clear how well it will sell.
Step 5. Research your market
Will it be a toy for babies, for elementary school children, or for teenagers? Will it be a game that is interesting for both adults and children? Will it be of interest to people with specific knowledge or from a specific geographic region? Will it be expensive or inexpensive? Will the purchase of the game be a one-time purchase or will it require constant replenishment? Finding answers to these questions early on will help make the whole process much easier.
Step 6. Develop a package design
Start by sketching to see any bottlenecks and compromise between your idea and the simplest yet most effective packaging. At the very beginning, ask yourself these basic questions:
- What kind of packaging do you need?
- Can your toy be sold without packaging just in a branded display near the checkout, or should it come in a box?
- Should there be a picture of the product on the packaging or is it necessary for the box to have a transparent window through which the customers will see the product for themselves?
- If you don’t have artistic talent, it’s best to find a friend who can help you design your logo and other graphics. Professional graphic designers charge quite a lot for their services, and at this stage you don't need it. When it comes to really big sales, then you should turn to these guys.
Step 7. Think about how you will manufacture your product
How toys are manufactured will vary greatly depending on the type of toy or game you play, and can vary greatly. For card or board games, you can use the services of inexpensive graphic designers, or freelance designers. If your toy is plastic and has a human shape, then you will most likely have to turn to manufacturers overseas who can produce a product at an affordable price that will keep you competitive.
Step 8. Develop an action plan
Remember that your main concern is not to sell the toy directly to children, but to sell it to toy stores, which in turn will sell it to children. Therefore, you need to convince the store that your product will go to the market.
- How will your toy be sold?
- Does it complement an already existing line of toys or is it a completely new development?
- If it is brand new, will customers be able to figure it out for themselves, or will it need to be demonstrated?
Step 9. Start acting locally
It will be of little use if you try to present your prototype in one of the stores of a large chain located near you, since usually all important decisions are made at the head office, and not in local stores. Therefore, start with small shops. The owners of such stores are always interested in new products in order to attract customers to their store. Establishing good relationships with local small shop owners can give you more than just having your product on the shelves in the store. They can make good recommendations about your product at the very moment when the buyer is thinking about buying. If the sales of the toy are successful, word of mouth will quickly spread good rumors about your product among a large number of people.
Step 10. Be creative and think outside the box when looking for points of sale for a toy
Just because your product is a toy doesn't mean you can only sell it in toy stores. If the toy promotes an active lifestyle, it might also go well in a sporting goods store. For example, if it has something to do with cycling, then bike shops may be interested in the toy. Don't be afraid to knock on stores that, at first glance, have nothing to do with your product. Remember that the store owner knows their customers better than you do and will be able to see the point in selling your toy, if any.
Step 11. Think about ancillary or complementary products
Should your toy be sold in one single form, or could a whole line of toys be released in the future? Can your toy have accessories? Can a collectible series be released? Are there any similar products that can be sold along with the main one? Increasing the amount of each individual purchase is the fastest way to achieve long-term success.
Step 12. Don't give up
Do not lose confidence in your abilities because of the first setbacks. This is also part of the path to success, and besides, one learns from mistakes. If you fail in sales, think about what you could do better, improve your product presentation and sales pitch, and try again and again.
- Be proactive. Be active on the Internet, join forums, read blogs of major market players. This will help you quickly learn all the intricacies of business, professional jargon, and will also allow you to establish contacts with potentially important people to you.
- Ask yourself what sets your toy or game apart from similar competing products already on the market. Take advantage of these benefits when presenting your product to potential customers.
- Play your own game as often as possible. Running a business can be tough, but take the time to play your game. Thus, you will always remember why you want to be engaged in the production and sale of this particular product.