Toy World Magazine November 2020

Page 12

News newsanalysis

Happy Birthday to Etopia Etopia Consultancy, which provides strategic advice to help companies grow their Amazon sales, is celebrating its 1st anniversary this month, after a year in which eCommerce has truly flourished. Toy World spoke to founder Asha Bhalsod to find out how the past year has unfolded, and what the future holds. Looking back over the previous 12 months, has everything panned out the way you thought it would? No - who knew that launching an eCommerce business in the fastest growing channel ahead of a pandemic would turn out to be the best thing I have ever done in my life? I feel fortunate that I can help so many businesses with the challenges they face in eCommerce, and managing Amazon in particular. Talk about being in the right place at the right time…

What has been the most memorable part of the past year for Etopia? Creating great business partnerships and forming relationships with clients. From my first ever client to my most recent, each has had full trust in my ability to help manage their biggest sales channel. I’ve been instrumental in building their eCommerce strategy, working with each to create opportunities for even greater success. In the first week of launching Etopia, I had so many messages of support from old colleagues and bosses, which cemented why I love the toy industry so much.

Arguably there’s never been a better time to be involved with Amazon. Heading into 2021, what are the biggest opportunities out there? Most Amazon vendors will either be entering Year 2, or will be pushed into Year 1, of Amazon Pan EU Management. If they want to remain relevant across all the EU markets, businesses will have to look at aligning the skills they have in managing eCommerce with how they navigate Pan EU agreements. Many businesses are represented across multiple offices, in various locations, and they are structured differently across those locations. They will need to ensure their biggest channel has dedicated resources working across Account Management, Marketing and Operations. The fact is that eCommerce channels will continue to grow, and this growth has been accelerated by the pandemic. Businesses are going to need to embrace change. Amazon is no longer just a sales account – it’s now also a huge marketing platform.

Looking to the medium and long-term, what are your goals for Etopia? We are growing, and we want to grow more. We’ll continue to evolve our service offering as the eCommerce landscape adapts and changes. We are excited to work with many of the top brands, helping them establish their global eCommerce/Amazon strategy. I also want to instil in companies the knowledge that data analytics will offer the best insight into eCommerce, and that Etopia is structured and trained to help companies use their data to create valuable insights.

Will you be expanding or enhancing the range of services you offer in 2021, and how can companies interested in finding out more get in touch? When I launched Etopia 12 months ago, it was just me. A year on, I have a team of four people and great business partners in preferred Amazon advertising experts, recruitment and with operations experience. Collectively, this is over 50 years of Amazon experience. Etopia Consultancy will evolve on the same trajectory as that of eCommerce and Amazon. We’re in tune with how the competitive landscape continues to unfold around us, and we’re already undertaking further brand analytics training as part of our evolutionary process. It’s not enough to simply develop and implement the strategy - we need to analyse performance as well. In 2021, Etopia will also be bringing Amazon management in-house, managing fulfilment models, order processing, content optimisation, marketing, sales data insights, product listing and reporting for any brand that wants to outsource their full Amazon business. We will offer the full suite of services. This demonstrates our ability to grow and keep up with an everevolving eCommerce market. Heading into next year - and beyond - we will continue to help even more brands with simplifying and implementing their eCommerce and Amazon strategies.

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Balloon sales remain buoyant as consumers mark special occasions Pioneer Europe is enjoying strong sales of its Qualatex and Northstar balloons, according to Julie Dommett, head of marketing, as socially distanced celebrations take place nationwide despite the coronavirus pandemic. “We have seen a consistently high demand for balloons all through lockdown and the summer season, showing that people are still celebrating, just in a slightly different way than before,” Julie explains. “From Zoom parties to creating social media memories, balloons are adding instant colour and fun to birthdays everywhere. Now, as we approach Christmas and customers begin making non-traditional plans, there are lots of opportunities to help spread joy with balloons. Toy stores, which play an essential role in any child’s birthday or Christmas celebration, are therefore perfectly placed to gain additional sales, either through offering balloon services themselves or by simply selling ‘decorate at home’ balloon packs.” Julie told Toy World that numbers, letters and phrases have been particularly popular this season, as have licensed balloons, thanks to children enjoying more interaction with their favourite characters through streaming services. To help meet demand, Qualatex offers a wide range of latex, Microfoil and Bubble Balloon options for all occasions, while the Northstar Balloons range comprises numbers, letters, phrase kits and script balloons, all of which can be air-inflated at home. The multitude of options available, says Julie, makes Pioneer and Northstar balloons perfect impulse-sale items for retailers. For more information on ranges and how to buy visit and www.

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