Where Hamley’s succeeds in an Amazon world

Recognised as the oldest toy shop in the world, Hamley’s isn’t just a normal brick and mortar retailer. Developing an international reputation, the toy store is a UK landmark, attracting over 6 million visitors a year. But how is it succeeding in an Amazon world?

With next day delivery and an encyclopaedia of products, Amazon is tough competition for all retailers. Pushing the standards higher and higher in terms of efficiency, some brands are falling behind – but not Hamley’s.

The first review on Trip Advisor reads “Is it a toy shop or a tourist attraction?” This is where Hamley’s triumphs. Offering the ultimate customer experience, the store represents everything it sells; playtime.

“Offering the ultimate customer experience, the store represents everything it sells; playtime.”

The toy emporium is a live and interactive experience. Employees are enthusiastic and passionate; engaging with customers and demonstrating how different products work. It’s engaging customer journey provides entertainment as well as great products, keeping kids intrigued and entertained.

Focusing on the 74% of shoppers who still prefer to shop in physical stores, Hamley’s draws customers in by demonstrations on the street – prompting high numbers of footfall – and marvels them with energetic demos inside.

Walking into the 54,000 square feet space is almost like entering Narnia; from vintage teddy bears to the newest gadgets, Hamley’s supplies every toy you could think of – 450,000 to be precise.

According to the 2018 Retail Sector Report by Adyen, 80% of people went shopping as a day trip in June. Now the ‘chore’ aspect of shopping has been eradicated due to online retailers, shopping has drifted back to a recreational activity. Now, more than ever, brands are having to focus on selling an experience as well as a product.

One of its newest partnerships demonstrates just how Hamley’s capitalises on this. Collaborating with Warner Bros. the 7-floored retailer has brought the magical world of Harry Potter to London. Not only will store-exclusive Potter paraphernalia be available, but a daily schedule of demonstrations, competitions and meet-and-greets will also be rolling out.

Head buyer at Hamleys, Victoria Kay, described the partnership: “There is theatre, photo opportunities, a whole retail experience that brings interaction.” Hamley’s is moulding the meaning of the word ‘shopping’, offering an experience closer to a family-day-out than a run-of-the-mill shopping trip.

“There is theatre, photo opportunities, a whole retail experience that brings interaction.” – Victoria Kay, head buyer at Hamley’s

Hamley’s’ brand reputation is high, having been around for over 250 years. The specialist toy shop keeps things simple by sticking to what it does best. This focus suits this generations’ consumers; according to Quatrz reporter Marc Bain, “Shoppers are less drawn to brands that try to be jacks of all trades and more to those that are masters of one.”

At the top of its game, Hamley’s is the ultimate, most-trusted, and specialist toy shop. It fills the one gap that Amazon can’t; a memorable and fun in-store experience.