How to Market Toys, Time, and Other Items to Parents

Regardless of the economy, most parents will need to purchase items for their growing children over the course of a calendar year. Statistics from the Department of Agriculture indicated that a middle-income, married couple with two children will spend approximately $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015. From housing to childcare to transportation the necessities of a growing child to the age of 17. Whether it’s the necessary back-to-school supplies or the basic essentials required to keep their children in clothing and shoes that fit, ecommerce entrepreneurs are finding that parents are often looking for affordable staples for their youngsters, as well as unique and interesting gifts, especially for birthdays and holidays, that fit into their budget.

If you’re looking to start an online business that targets parent consumers, becoming an entrepreneur may be easier than you think. You may want to consider some of these suggestions for making a little money on the side without leaving your home and utilizing ideas and resources you already have.

Idea #1: Sell items that are no longer needed by your children.

With the expense of garnering everything you need to start a family, it’s no surprise that new parents are looking for items that are reasonable, even if they are used. If you have gently used items, especially for infants and toddlers, that you know you are not going to use again, you might want to sell them online. Big sellers include baby clothes and baby items like diapers in assorted sizes, infant clothing, crib bedding, and furniture for the nursery. From rocking chairs to MamaRoo infant seats, many “startup” newborn items are expensive for new parents who have many things to purchase to accommodate the addition to their family. Consider selling those outgrown convertible car seats and capitalize on your ability to provide gently used items at a reasonable price, especially compared to the often-exorbitant prices of new items at your local department store.

Toddlers, school-aged children, and adolescents also can benefit from second-hand items. School uniforms are something many families need, along with educational games, trade books, graphic tees, technological devices, and art projects. Remember that selling items locally on the Facebook Marketplace might be a good place to start, especially if you are interested in targeting close-to-home consumers and aren’t interested in dealing with shipping your used items long distances.

Idea #2: Opt for dropshipping.

One of the newer ways to build an ecommerce business is through dropshipping. Dropshipping means that a customer orders an item from you that you, in turn, purchase from a wholesaler. The customer pays you a retail price that you have set while you pay your dropshipping supplier wholesale price. The markup between the retail and wholesale price becomes your profit. You can build an ecommerce website by using an online template, build an organic Instagram following using Social Gone Viral, and then import those parent-friendly items onto your website from a digital marketplace. Because you order from your distributor only once a customer has purchased a product from your site, you reduce your overhead, reduce the need to find space in your home for sale items, and make money in the meantime.

Choosing what items to sell is not always as easy as it sounds. Trending or novelty items may be hot for a while but may have a short shelf life. Start by focusing on a product line that has what parents really want and need for their children long-term. Quality clothing items that are durable and stand up to repeated washings is one. It may also include games and books that provide academic enrichment or toys that are personalized in some way. Adding a few fad items now again might be a way to spice up your site and increase traffic, but your loyal consumers will be looking for items that encourage repeat sales. Be sure to build a user-friendly website that is intuitive to navigate (check out the adult store Jizels for a great example of UX), and always do your best to work toward excellent customer service.

Idea #3: Bring the family together.

When parents find themselves cash-poor, they are more likely to invest in things they feel contribute something to the child’s well-being. Educational games, toys, and books can be part of this market. Families are spending less money traveling and going to the movies or laser tag, so you may want to market a service that helps families spend more time together at home or develop a unique product or activity that promotes the family unit.

What are some ideas you have for marketing to parent consumers? Share your strategies s in the comments below.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.