How to sell kids’ products safely and profitably

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Selling kids’ products on Amazon can be a real money maker. But you need to get it right, otherwise you can come a cropper. You might even have to destroy your inventory if it doesn’t pass certification.

We’ll look at the regulations in a minute, but first let’s look at your marketing. Unlike other products, with children’s products you’re not selling to the end user, you’re selling to an adult – usually a parent or close relative. So your marketing needs to reflect that.

•      You’ll need to write your product page addressed to an adult. No baby talk!

•      Parents in particular will want to know your product is safe, so you need to stress built-in safety, quality checks, and certification. “No small parts to swallow.”

•      For young children they’ll want to know that the product will do the child good. That might mean stressing comfort, hygiene, or educational values – “Using these wooden blocks your child will learn spatial awareness and be able to exercise creativity,” for instance.

•      Lifestyle photography is even more important than usual. Parents want to see real kids – particularly babies – using the product, on their own and with the rest of the family.

•      Show that you’re trustworthy. If you have certification, accolades, and so on, strut your stuff.

For kids over four or five, you can also market to them using video content on YouTube – but remember it will be the parents who make the buying decision!

Even a simple thing like a blanket for babies can be differentiated. Is it softer than most regular products? Is it made from material that’s easy to wash and quick to dry? Think hard about how to make your product stand out, because this is becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace.

For toys, if you can create something that can be used in different ways, you have a winner. That’s one of the reasons Lego does so well – you can build a Death Star, a house in the woods, or even a piano out of Lego. Think of the pack of cards – another product that can be used for a game of ‘snap’, teaching kids to count – or playing blackjack at the casino! Its longevity as a product reflects its multiple uses (not all child-friendly, admittedly).

The crucial factor in your marketing is to provide photo and video content showing different kids using the product in different ways. That sends two messages to buyers – first, however difficult to please their child is, they’ll probably find a way to enjoy the product; and secondly, this isn’t a passive toy, it’s something that will actually engage their child in a positive way.

Now let’s look at regulation. You’re going to need to take care to comply with regulations. Any toys for under-12s need to be third-party tested and certified, and those for under-threes ban toys with small parts that could be swallowed or cause a child to choke. There are also certifications for clothes and diapers, such as excluding toxic materials. Amazon may well ask you to show your certification, so don’t think you can get away without it.

Amazon also has specific packing regulations – children’s products must be shrink-wrapped if they are not fully contained in a closed box.

You can do everything yourself, but this is one area of product where we believe having a third party tester adds real value. You should also put certification high on the list of specifications when you’re searching for a supplier. If suppliers have any safety issues or can’t provide assurances on, for instance, the materials used, then take them off your list right away.

Finally, if you are not a recent parent, do try to find some parents with young children among your acquaintances to test your ideas on. Your teenager probably thinks Lego is desperately uncool… a five year old probably won’t!

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