Ian explained how the buying group is supporting indie retailers through the reopening of the high street.
Toymaster’s members have fared better than anyone expected throughout the pandemic and lockdown, utilising social media and online marketplaces to great affect and resulting in precisely zero permanent closures. This, Ian says, is largely due to the flexibility and adaptability of the indie channel, from which entrepreneurialism and a sense of team spirit pours forth. “By working together, sharing information on what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, our members have proven once again what an inventive and helpful group of people they are,” he enthuses. “The result is that they’ve come through this pretty well. Independent retailers have so much potential to be part of the solution, not part of the problem; they care, they’re a part of the local community, and this resonates with a lot of shoppers.”
He went on to discuss the lessons that have been learned about independent retail, and how some members have re-evaluated their approach. Ian also explained how Toymaster is supporting its members through re-opening and shared feedback from those members which re-opened earliest.
While Ian admits he’s surprised to see kids being taken into toy shops, he’s also keen to note the renewed enthusiasm and support for the ‘Shop Local’ messaging that has become a prominent feature of post-lockdown consumer spending.
“Everything we’ve seen would suggest that there’s increased support for shopping locally, he commented. “Consumers are arguably less willing to use public transport, and are wary of heading to the bigger city centres and shopping malls. And the issue of sustainability, which was of growing concern to people even before Covid-19, is now a major consideration for many shoppers. If ever there was a time that these messages weren’t falling on deaf ears, hopefully this is it. I’d like to think that all the positive things that our members have engaged in while on lockdown will stand them in good stead moving forward.”
With Christmas on its way, and a nation of kids deserving of a treat, he is also confident that Christmas will be a success.
To read the full interview with Toymaster’s Ian Edmunds, which was published in our July issue, click here.