According to Global Industry Analysts, the worldwide toys and games industry is expected to hit the $100 billion mark by 2015.
If you have ever been to a toy store with a child, especially during the holiday season, you would know the hassles of choosing the perfect toy for the kid. The crowds, your screaming kid, searching a particular toy from the millions available, and the long lines at the counter are sure to drive any parent crazy. Moreover, at the end of it all, you probably realize that you ended up buying a toy that you did not want. Instead of facing all these hassles in a brick and mortar toy store, a good alternative is to sit at home and order the toys online.
With a few mouse clicks, you can find the best toys for your child at really good prices. You can research the different types of toys based on the child's age group, know about their popularity, check for safety and recalls, and compare prices to get the best deal. The best part is that you can do all this from the convenience of your own home. While buying kids' toys online is quite easy, there are certain tips that can help you make a better choice. So, whether you are looking for a hot new holiday toy or looking for the perfect birthday present, here are some things that you need to consider when buying online.
What to Consider When Buying Toys Online
What and For Whom Do You Want To Buy
Since there are thousands of toys for children, the first thing that you need to do is decide for whom are you buying the toy for, and what you want to get. This eliminates the possibility of picking up a random item that the child may not even like. You need to pick a toy that is age appropriate. Toy references and gender of the child can also help you narrow down the choices and makes it easier for you to search the toy online. You also need to establish a budget before you start shopping online.
Browse Good Online Toy Stores
Look for a good online toy store that has a good selection of toys and is easy to use. Some popular online toy stores such as Fat Brain Toys have facilities such as 'The Gift Bot' which allows you to choose gender, price, age, and even where the toy is manufactured. A good online toy store should have:
- A wide selection of toys
- Extensive features and easy to use
- Search features that let you select a toy based on age, gender, price, brands, category, interests, and theme
- Related products such as party items, décor items, and toy storage
- Safety and recall information of the toys
- Wide variety of payment options such as online payment, gift cards, credit cards, or cash on delivery
- User reviews and ratings
- Help and support features such as live chat, email, online help, local phone number, and customer loyalty programs
Check Toy Safety and Recalls
When buying a toy, do check the product safety and watch out for recalled items. Most of the popular online toy stores have toy safety warnings and recall information. For example: A toy with small parts will have a 'Choking Hazard' warning. Some stores also accept returns on recalled items as long as you have the proof of purchase. Check the recall/return policy while shopping for toys online. You can also check websites such as recalls.gov, nhtsa.gov, and cpsc.gov for product safety and toy recalls.
Compare the Prices and Deals
Check different toy store websites as some sites may have discounts on the product. Some toy sellers also keep a lower profit margin, and hence, offer the same product at a huge price difference. While checking the prices you will also want to keep an eye on discount coupons. Most of these coupons are highlighted on the seller's website itself.
Check the Shipping and Payment Options
When shopping online, you need to consider the shipping charges as well. Some sites have lower shipping charges or shipping discounts on the purchase of multiple items. Other factors that influence the shipping cost are the distance and weight of the product. While some online stores offer a flat shipping rate, others can charge variable shipping fees based on the product weight and the distance. You also need to consider the payment options such as credit cards, online payment, and Paypal.
How to Buy Toys Online
Add to Wish List or Cart
Browse the site to select the toy you want to buy. Once you have zeroed in on the toy you want, click the 'Add to Cart' option. If you are planning to buy the toy later, then save it to your wish list by clicking the 'Add to Wish List' tab.
Create an Account
If you do not have an account with the online store, you will need to create an account. To do so, you need to provide your email address, phone number, and the address for billing and delivery. Once you have registered, you can log in using your password.
Choose your preferred payment option. Most sites offer credit card or PayPal payment. If you have a gift coupon or a discount coupon, then the details need to be entered as well. Most sites also accept gift cards. When processing the payment, the shipping costs would be added to the price of the product.
Once the payment is done, the order is confirmed, and you get a payment summary and confirmation code. In many cases, a copy of this information is sent to your mailbox as well.
Track and Cancel Orders
You can track your order by providing the order number and your details. The order details are stored in your account section of the website. In case you need to cancel the order, do check the site's policy about cancellation and refunds. Call the customer service representative and keep the order confirmation code handy when canceling the order.
Return and Refund Policies
Check the stores refund and return policy. This is extremely important if you are buying the toy as a gift. Most stores will accept refund as long as the item is in its original packing, and you have the confirmation slip.
Popular Online Toy Stores
★ Toys "R" Us
★ Fat Brain Toys
★ Disney Store
★ All Aboard Toys
★ Ty's Toy Box
★ Fat Brain Toys
★ Disney Store
★ All Aboard Toys
★ Ty's Toy Box
Of course, you can always shop at Amazon, or find some great deals online on Walmart and Target websites. With online shopping becoming so easy and convenient, it is apparent why people, across all income scales and age groups, prefer buying toys online. Since web toy retailers are jostling to gain popularity, prices are pushed down. This certainly is good news for all the bargain hunters out there who want to buy the best toys at attractive prices.