Covid-19, E-Commerce and the Toy Industry

Steven Piper, Si digital
We all know that we live in a digital age, and if you weren’t living in this age, Covid-19 would have more than likely catapulted you into it, industries and individuals alike.

Suddenly the whole world has shifted from what was the norm, reshaping consumer shopping habits and buying behaviours, and quickly changing the priorities of retailers and brands.

It’s not surprising, then, that there have been some interesting headlines starting to surface:
• “Toy industry sales increased by 9% in the first half of 2020 across the 12 global markets”
• “COVID-19 to add £5.3bn to UK e-commerce in 2020”
• “Hornby sees sales rise by 33%”
• “Logic games and puzzles are on the rise as smart toys and games sees sales double over 2020”
• “Toy stores thrive amid pandemic’s return to board games, chess and card collecting”

This is because the COVID-19 pandemic has had a minimal impact on the global toy industry, despite the supply chain disruptions and closure of retail outlets. Why? Because e-commerce channels facilitated the growth of the market as the demand increased.

In a competitive, convenience focused society, it’s never been more important to have a strong e-commerce website with features that are perceived by your customers to add value. After all, your website is one of your best marketing tools, and – if optimised correctly – it could easily be your company’s biggest asset. So, how can you optimise your e-commerce website and improve your conversion rate?

To begin with you need to understand your customer data… Who is using your website? Why are they using your website? Does it cater for their needs? Do you know your customers’ journey? What stops them from converting into a sale? What improvements could be made to make their user journey the easiest one possible?

These questions are critical and the data gathered helps direct the focus of your website. Customer journeys also help you work out how people are going to interact with your platform and what they expect from it. In turn, this helps  identify the different ways that enable them to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.

There are also many other features that should be considered when looking to optimise your e-commerce platform to increase sales and compete within the industry.

For example, a full product description can decrease the abandonment rate and help customers to trust your brand. If your customer returns an item, more than half of them won’t make another purchase from you.

The speed of your website is especially important – every second counts. Being fast and efficient not only keeps your search engine ranking relevant, leading to more visibility, traffic, conversions and revenue, but also prevents your customers from having to wait.

The more they have to wait for a page to load, the higher the chances are of them leaving. In addition to this, your e-commerce website should be built so that it is scalable and can accommodate growth, without the end customer ever being disrupted.

You can also make it easier for your customers to use your website by having features such as related product suggestions, or the option to do an on-site search with drop down lists of frequently searched items.

It also offers your customers an improved, smooth shopping experience by making things easier for them and in turn this helps to increase basket values.

Understanding your customers purchase histories and patterns gives rise to an opportunity to create an element of personalisation. This creates a depth to the technology your customers are using and builds brand loyalty.

When asked about why UX design and the need for e-commerce platforms to be optimised is important, Tom O’Malley, Head of Design at Si digital commented: “As technology continues to expand, expectations are at an all time high with customers looking for a convenient and flexible experience. Creating a shopping experience that customers want and need is an opportunity to give your business a competitive edge. Small design tweaks that focus on a customer’s journey can have a profound impact on sales and profitability, which means it’s never been more important to focus on the customer in order to succeed”.

If you want to throw some ideas around or ask us a question about UX features and how your site could benefit, please contact us at ​[email protected],​ or visit our website to find out more about us at​.


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