NEW MEDIA CHOICE: HAMLEYS

I decided this year that my usual foray into the Christmas madness of Hamleys was out of the question. It seemed more sensible to find an online way to buy my little boy his annual Christmas Scalextric ’Because That’s What Dad Wants To Play With’ present. The logical first step, I thought, would be www.hamleys.co.uk.

I decided this year that my usual foray into the Christmas madness

of Hamleys was out of the question. It seemed more sensible to find an

online way to buy my little boy his annual Christmas Scalextric ’Because

That’s What Dad Wants To Play With’ present. The logical first step, I

thought, would be www.hamleys.co.uk.



Amazingly, for this first Christmas since the UK officially joined the

’e-commerce age’ (with its mention in this year’s Queen’s Speech), there

was no site at Hamleys.co.uk. A polite note from NetNames explained that

it has not yet got a UK site. The store obviously doesn’t realise there

are parents all over the UK who would pay extra not to have to go into

the store, if they could get their child’s chosen toy delivered to their

door (or desk) by Christmas Day.



Interestingly, Hamleys has a site aimed at the US market. At www.

hamleys.com, you find its US site boasting ’delivery to anywhere in the

US within three working days ... complete with ’Exclusive Hamleys gift

wrapping’. To add insult to injury, a little Union Flag highlights a

site which says ’Going live soon for UK deliveries’.



My national pride smarting, I thought I would see if it was cheaper to

buy the Scalextric from the US site and have it delivered to the UK.

Once I scratched below the surface of what appears to be a nicely

designed site, it became obvious that it is just a PR tool for the US

market and was offering an extremely limited catalogue of schlock ’gift’

items.



After a fruitless trawl around the online offerings of the UK’s other

big toy retailers, I finally stumbled upon the GUS Toytown site, where I

found what I was looking for. It would seem that the toy world is

destined to be the next UK market sector to feel the rampaging wind of

competition from US online sites (like the exceptional ’e-toys’).



For Hamleys, in particular, with its global reputation, this Christmas

could turn out to be a massive missed opportunity.



New Media is edited by Binnur Beyaztas, who can be contacted at

binnur.beyaztas@haynet.com



Site: Hamleys

Where to find it: www.hamleys.com



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