How AI-Powered RPA Saves Toy Retailers Time and Money


Many people dreamed of having all kinds of toys when they were children. However, with the rapid development of the Internet and digital technology, the traditional toy retail industry suffers from the dual impact of online shopping and electronic products and has fallen into a deep slump.

“Buying an iPad that can play for a few years is always more of a parent’s choice than constantly buying new physical toys,” commented users of Chinese question-and-answer website Zhihu.

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With the decline in sales performance and the severe squeeze on market share, some large traditional toy retailers have begun their digital transformation to save costs and improve operational efficiency. 

One of those organizations is Toymaster, an association of independent toy stores and a retail purchasing group based in Northampton, UK. The group has more than 250 stores located in the UK, Ireland, and Malta, and it plays an important role in the region’s toy retail sector.


More and more independent toy retailers have joined Toymaster as members while maintaining complete independence, enjoying the benefits of a national marketing network. Therefore, the retailer has become the “central invoice processing machine” for many member merchants.

“When a new store joins our purchasing team, we collect every invoice from the supplier and centrally process all of these transactions. Manually processing more than £40 million of transactions each year is inefficient,” explained the system administrator.

Previously, Toymaster had to prepare separate file cabinets for hundreds of member merchants and mail invoices twice a week which was very costly. The time of receipt of invoices was irregular; the beginning of the month was quiet, and many invoices would come in near the end of the month.

In addition, due to substantial paperwork, the inability to centralize data and information to evaluate member merchants had also increased the difficulty of studying long-term purchasing and sales trends.

With the introduction of new EU legislation, Toymaster needed to declare more items for import and export commodities. This meant that the company needed to get every detail from the invoice of the member merchant. Therefore, the manual processing of massive invoices became a significant challenge for the financial department.

“We knew that automation had the potential to make our job easier. The inefficiency of manual processing, coupled with the challenges posed by new industry regulations, prompted us to take action to automate invoices with RPA.”


Toymaster deployed AI-powered robotic process automation (RPA) as a solution to centrally process supplier invoices. 

“Every supplier can now submit electronic invoices to us by accessing a web-based application so that we can receive and process these invoices faster. RPA can record invoice details, process transactions and store relevant data automatically to reduce compliance risks.”

Using AI-powered RPA can centrally access the performance data of member merchants and employees, get more detailed information, and study the business model within the group more deeply.


Using AI-powered RPA, the retail group processes more than 30,000 invoices per year without tracking paper invoices, saving about £12,000 on postage alone. All invoices that previously required 38 employees can now be processed with only 17 people, greatly reducing labor costs.

In addition, AI-powered RPA optimizes business processes and facilitates members and merchants and makes it easier for employees within the group to manage the business and free up time for more valuable work.

“RPA brings change to the group, and that is a key business driver. It enables us to process supplier invoices more easily and efficiently, thereby helping our member merchants to obtain greater benefits.”

Want to know more?

Contact our friendly team to discover how much time and effort Laiye can save your company. Also, explore the ways your firm can use the freed-up time to increase sales and improve profitability by checking out our success stories.

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