World Trading 23, an online specialty toy wholesaler, has embarked on an ambitious program of upgrades and enhancements to its operations and product lines, in which the wholesaler just launched a revamp of its website that ties into its accounting and inventory systems. The company, which specializes in remote control toys, airsoft guns and accessories, along with science and magic kits, is pushing into exclusive product lines with original and licensed merchandise. Other initiatives include a warehouse upgrade and a campaign to boost its Better Business Bureau rating.
"The overhauled website, launched on October 19, marks the much needed first redesign in ten years," says CEO Kev Kouyoumjian, who adds that the new site marks a number of notable achievements. "Over the past ten years, our website has gone from a couple of products to over 4,500 products in stock," says Kouyoumjian, mentioning that the revised site now features, "more products, support, tools and better navigation for a better user experience." That improved user experience is particularly vital to a company that does half its business online. "We have reached a good medium for World Trading 23, at 50 percent online and 50 percent in mass marketing and trade shows," says Kouyoumjian.
According to marketing director Ulises Espinoza, several of the new site's biggest improvements are under the hood, in that, "We recently updated our website to fully integrate with our accounting program," he says. "That's making life a lot easier right now. Any order placed online is automatically integrating with accounting, letting it know what order came through, what discount was used, how much, and what our cost was." That is especially important in making sure that the products seen on the site are available when an order is placed. As Espinoza explains, "It automatically updates inventory so that every time an item is bought online, it subtracts that from the inventory so we can keep an accurate count. It also lets us know if an item is out of stock, if it is low on quantity, and if we need to order more."
According to Espinoza, the company has reached a new level of innovation by using a modern tracking and inventory system. "We have reached for the new technology," he says. This system is not invisible to the user, either. Now, when customers go online to shop, they will see an "Add to Cart" button when a product is definitely available. The system will automatically change the "Add to Cart" button to "Notify Me." As Espinoza explains, "That means that it is out of stock, but we will let you know when the product is back in stock."
This new initiative is the realization of a goal the company has sought to reach for some time now. "We fully went live with that Monday night, October 18," Espinoza says. "It's something that we talked about, and we just decided to do it in March. It finally came live now. So, it took us six, seven months to fully rebuild the website, do the integration, and map all the fields on our accounting program." The biggest reason for the change was to improve inventory management. "There were some times when our inventory would say we were out of stock for a product, but we still had it, because we had to manually update all the quantities. Now that will be automatic," says Espinoza. "When a purchase order is placed, and we receive it, it will automatically be placed in our accounting program, which will automatically update our website. Therefore, we are able to get product more quickly to our customers." Espinoza notes the improvement in customer service is just part of the company's improvement plan. "We just want to be the one-stop shop for all our customers with the newest and best technology," he says.
Another important initiative for growth is the addition of licensed merchandise. "We have finalized our contract with The Fast & The Furious, and are eagerly waiting to launch that product line," says Kouyoumjian. "We plan on expanding our product lines," he continues, "as we currently distribute products branded with such names as Ford and Chevy. These are exclusive licensed products, and we plan to add other licensed products, which we will reveal when the time comes."
Fast Five will be the fifth installment in the popular racecar movie series, with the upcoming film set to be released on June 10, 2011. World Trading 23 expects the movie to boost its bottom line, and is getting ready for the extra volume of merchandise it expects to move with seriously expanded warehouse space. According to Kouyoumjian, "What you see now is with this new 100,000-plus-square-foot warehouse is that we're trying to keep up with the fast pace growth we're experiencing." The company just expanded from its previous warehouse in California of 30,000 square feet. What is the company going to do with all that new space? "We are planning on adding 3,000 new SKUs," says Kouyoumjian.
In an effort to build customer confidence, the company is working hard to improve its online reputation. According to Kouyoumjian, "we have devoted lots of time and effort on improving our BBB Rating." He says he hopes to achieve an A+ rating soon, something that will be displayed on the company's home page. Another growth initiative is the ongoing integration of Hobbytron.com into the parent World Trading 23 company. "We bought Hobbytron.com in May 2008," says marketing director Espinoza. Since then, the company merged the operations, leading up to the recent website upgrades. Still to come, says Espinoza, is a common logon, so that a customer logged into the World Trading 23 site will also be logged onto the HobbyTron site.
In the meantime, the company has put a wholesale component on the HobbyTron e-retail store. "In the last couple months, we've added wholesaling to HobbyTron," says Espinoza. "HobbyTron had been basically our retail shop, but now we're adding wholesale to that. However, we still do most of our wholesaling through World Trading 23." The product mix on HobbyTron is a subset of the assortment on World Trading 23. "HobbyTron has 80 percent of the wholesale items on WorldTrading23," says Espinoza. Actual wholesale pricing is available on both sites without registration.
Athough Espinoza has been with the company for only a few months, he is eager to explain why retailers should buy product from the company, starting with the variety. "We offer a huge selection of different products, including exclusive products such as the RC cars modeled after next year's, The Fast and the Furious movie, and a 3.5 channel gyro helicopter, which are exclusively sold by World Trading 23," he says. Kouyoumjian elaborates on this point, saying, "We have a large variety, with over 4,500 products in over 25 categories. We offer remote control cars, trucks, helicopters, tanks, UFOs and airplanes, airsoft guns, masks, and BBs. We even offer magic tricks and science kits." Within that range, some products stand out. "We have lots of best sellers, but at the top of the list is our exclusive 3.5 channel gyro helicopters and our RC mini-buggy," he says, noting that the company has advertised both items in national commercials.
Speaking of advertising, World Trading 23 uses a range of strategies to get the word out. In addition to nationwide TV advertising, marketing director Espinoza says, "We do many promotions and giveaways through Facebook and Twitter. We also have a YouTube page with lots of videos. We even have a couple of videos that have over 1,000,000 hits." A wide range of product, supported by a full advertising campaign, is just one reason to turn to the company for wholesale sourcing. Another one, according to Espinoza, is the personal touch. "For wholesale we prefer a personal relationship," he says. "We like to know who we're doing business with, and build the relationship. We decide which products sell best for them, and we work from there." The company can then partner with retailer customers to set up volume discounts and specific pricing.
Espinoza emphasizes that the company is especially welcoming to new customers. "For new clients we always offer a discount," he says. "We want them to check out our product first and know that we stand behind it. After they test it out, we're confident that they will sell it. And there are multiple items on our website that come in kits." Once a reseller customer becomes a regular, keeping in touch is paramount, he continues. "For wholesale, much of our communication with customers is personal. We give customers a call, we let them know that we have specific new products coming out, and so on. We also offer a weekly newsletter in which we update customers on what's happening with the company, which new products came out, and new promotions."
Kouyoumjian echoes the same theme. "We generally keep our customers in mind, and what their best interests would be when pricing our products," he says. "That is why our customers normally experience a 40 to 50 percent profit margin." He is proud of his ability to offer some of the lowest wholesale prices available. "We always give new customers very attractive prices," he notes. "For example, we gave away the Syma S107's [helicopters] for $14.95 wholesale, which is the best price you will find nationally. This deal had our competitors confused, wondering how we could give the item away at such a low price, since it's basically cost." That emphasis on the customer extends from the smallest to the largest. "We sell pretty much to anybody," Kouyoumjian says, "from flea market vendors, mall kiosks and independent retailers, to large corporations such as Toys"R"Us, Walmart, Macy's, Fry's Electronics, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls."
World Trading 23 is a true wholesale operation, and there is a one case minimum, says Kouyoumjian. "We focus on offering and delivering the hottest selling items at the best prices available," he says. "That allows us to concentrate on the newest and most exclusive technologies, with the best product quality."
For more information:
World Trading 23
24700 Avenue Rockefeller
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
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