RealTime IT News

eToys: Fun & Games with the Competition

eToys must be one of the luckiest e-tailers. Why? Well, it has such competitors as Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart, who have been sorely late to the Web.

This Christmas should also be joyous and lucky for eToys, as it builds its leadership. In fact, according to a Forrester Research report, Christmas should be a blockbuster for e-tailers, as sales are expected to reach $20.2 billion. In its survey, eToys was ranked #3 as the place online shoppers plan to do their shopping.

The site is expertly built, especially for adults, who are typically the ones who purchase toys. They get useful lists, such as toys that are popular for certain age groups.

In all, eToys carries more than 100,000 items on its virtual store shelves.

eToys has announced that it will launch an aggressive national advertising campaign. The focus will be primarily on prime-time TV, targeting the 25-to-40 year old audience.

eToys also signed a three-year, $18 million agreement with AOL, making eToys an "anchor tenant" in such categories as Toys, Educational Toys, Kids and Baby Gear, Collectibles and Electronic Games.

What's more, eToys beefed-up its distribution, by signing an agreement with Fingerhut Business Services, getting access to a one-million-square foot, state-of-the-art fulfillment center. eToys also leased a 440,000-square-foot warehouse in Virginia.

True, eToys will not have the luxury of having the market to itself this Christmas. Wal-Mart, for example, is launching its ecommerce site, with a particular emphasis on toys. Of course, Amazon.com has its own toy center.

However, eToys has been making great use of its first-mover advantage.

For example, when Amazon.com announced it would sell toys, eToys announced it would sell children's books.

Another example is the recently announced Idea Center. Basically, there are nine themes to Idea Center, covering such things as "when I grow up," "nature and discoveries," and "the wonders of science."

For example, in the "wonders of science" theme, there is an interview with Dr. Mark Norell, who is a dinosaur expert. Kids learn such things as the "biggest myths of dinosaurs." There are also links to kid-friendly dinosaur sites. And, yes, there are links to products, such as the Bonz Wooden 3-D Skeleton Puzzle.

In other words, at eToys, buying toys is a learning experience. As for its competitors, their sites are, well, just a place to shop.

The hard work of building a comprehensive product line, smart content and brand name will pay off. This company keeps pushing the envelope of the toy market and should, as a result, have a very happy Christmas.

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