As part of this month’s Talking Shop, Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Edmund Lim of Maqio to find out how the businesses has responded to the pandemic.
Maqio started as an online retailer in 2010 and opened its first physical toy store in 2011. Within a year, online sales had grown so much the company made the decision to close its physical shop in Buxton and focus purely on online. For the first few years, the focus was on building relationships with suppliers rather than the Maqio brand. Since then, the retailer has continued to grow, and is now predominantly a branded discount/value online retailer with a large focus on toys. At the end of 2018, a dedicated toy website was launched – www.maqio.com.
Maqio sells on numerous platforms and websites around the world. Edmund told us that suppliers appreciate the fact that Maqio works closely with them on regular product as well as promotional items. “We never bite the hands that feed us,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve developed a deep understanding of the value market and we take great care not to operate in a way that would negatively affect it. Suppliers recognise that working directly with value and discount retailers means they retain a degree of input and they won’t kill the price – which then affects the whole market. We work differently.”
Edmund told us more about his business strategy and product mix, and described how the company reacted to the various lockdown restrictions. “There was so much uncertainty, but we had a clear focus on ensuring Maqio was left standing by the time lockdown was over,” he explained.
Speaking of the rise in online sales, Edmund describes how both Maqio and its competitors developed their digital presence over time, and how consumers quickly became far savvier in their shopping habits. “Our workforce adapted to the situation brilliantly, and at the same time our suppliers supported us well too. Without these strong relationships, we wouldn’t have seen such strong growth throughout the year,” he added.
Edmund spoke of the importance of margin and of promotional activity, and of taking calculated risks; he firmly believes that people need to be reactive and adaptive. “Competition drives prices down, and you need to know both the opportunities online platforms present your business, as well as the potential pitfalls. I believe that in business you either need to be one of the best, or you need to carve out a niche for yourself. With Maqio, both these are front of mind in all we do.”
He concludes: “We are here, we pay for and move stock quickly, and our warehouses are open.” To read more from Edmund, see the full interview, which appeared in the February edition of Toy World.
Suppliers can get in contact with Maqio at firstname.lastname@example.org.