Hamleys revamp aims at US.

London toy store Hamleys is revamping its e-commerce operation to sell exclusive UK-themed products aimed at US shoppers.

The company says it aims to stand out from other online toy merchants by competing on quality and exclusivity rather than price. Relaunched last month, the site (www.hamleys. com) will expand its offering from 150 products to 1,000 by the end of next year.

"I do not want to become embroiled with the likes of Toys 'R'Us, Toyzone and eToys, which are fighting on price alone and will end up making next to no margin," said Simon Burke, chief executive at Hamleys. "We are focusing almost entirely on the US and anticipate online sales from the US will overtake the UK.

"When I joined, everything was a mess and the site was pathetic." He added he was faced with stamping out "general mediocrity", which included poor customer service and product layouts.

Working alongside e-commerce company Equire, Hamleys also intends to "develop the brand in more lateral ways" over the coming year to provide online entertainment services, but Burke refused to reveal details.

In addition, it will set up partnerships to appear on portals, but is likely to choose niche product portals rather than mainstream shopping sites.

"Partnerships will depend on cost and suitability. We are looking to partner with companies involved with visitors to London and other high-calibre product ranges," said Burke.

The site is to focus on collectables, such as model soldiers and teddy bears, and heritage products such as dye-cast models of London taxis and double-decker buses.

London toy store Hamleys is revamping its e-commerce operation to sell exclusive UK-themed products aimed at US shoppers.

The company says it aims to stand out from other online toy merchants by competing on quality and exclusivity rather than price. Relaunched last month, the site (www.hamleys. com) will expand its offering from 150 products to 1,000 by the end of next year.

"I do not want to become embroiled with the likes of Toys 'R'Us, Toyzone and eToys, which are fighting on price alone and will end up making next to no margin," said Simon Burke, chief executive at Hamleys. "We are focusing almost entirely on the US and anticipate online sales from the US will overtake the UK.

"When I joined, everything was a mess and the site was pathetic." He added he was faced with stamping out "general mediocrity", which included poor customer service and product layouts.

Working alongside e-commerce company Equire, Hamleys also intends to "develop the brand in more lateral ways" over the coming year to provide online entertainment services, but Burke refused to reveal details.

In addition, it will set up partnerships to appear on portals, but is likely to choose niche product portals rather than mainstream shopping sites.

"Partnerships will depend on cost and suitability. We are looking to partner with companies involved with visitors to London and other high-calibre product ranges," said Burke.

The site is to focus on collectables, such as model soldiers and teddy bears, and heritage products such as dye-cast models of London taxis and double-decker buses.



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