Oliver Lederle: I wouldn't call myself that personally, but I've always had a keen interest in business and knew very early on that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. When the idea for myToys came up, I, as a consultant for a well-known management consultancy, was in charge of handling Internet projects. During the boom phase at that time, it was quite evident I should set up something of my own. But without investors or strong partners who have faith in the idea, even the best vision can't get off the ground.
As a pioneer of online retailing in the toy industry, you recognised early on that use had to be made of all touch points to reach the consumer and you got into the brick-and-mortar market. Quite courageous – in view of the supposedly impregnable dominance of the top dogs at the time. What are your conclusions?
O. L.: The MYTOYS GROUP can already look back on more than ten years' experience in omni-channel retailing. Early on, we paid attention to consistently integrating all the relevant sales channels within the customer journey, so we were among the first purely online players to venture into the environment of brick-and-mortar shops – and very successfully, too. myToys opened its first branches back in 2006, making it one of the pioneers in cross-channel retailing. These days, myToys operates 17 actual stores throughout Germany. We are convinced that online and over-the-counter retailing will mutually benefit each other, with both channels growing disproportionately. As an omni-channel retailer, we can thus serve “hybrid customers” who shop both online and in actual shops.
You recently announced your intention to expand your partner programme. The fact that your three online shops provide a sales platform for all family products will also certainly be helpful. The study "Gamechanger Plattformökonomie – Verhaltensänderungen verstehen und Spielregeln bedienen" ("Game Changer Platform Economy – Understanding Changes in Behaviour and Using the Rules of the Game") by IFH Cologne underlines how important platforms are in everyday consumer life. It shows, among other things, that consumers are willing to pay for the basic use of platforms alone. Should myToys become a marketplace?
O. L.: Since it was launched in 2016, the MYTOYS GROUP has been continuously expanding its partner programme. Last year alone, the brand family integrated more than 130 new suppliers into its shopping range of myToys, mirapodo and yomonda. Our success is impressive. Compared to suppliers who are not yet part of our partner programme, the majority of the brands that were linked to mirapodo, myToys or yomonda last year grew disproportionately. With our partner programme, we are consistently investing in the growth of the group and we plan to significantly expand our supplier partnerships in the future as well.