The slowdown of games sales and increasing competition in the games market has led many indies to branch into other areas.
But MyMemory went the other way. The technology and memory specialist began stocking video games in a bid to increase its revenue.
“Our main business was originally flash memory. Obviously as the market has grown, so has our competition so we’ve had to diversify,” says MyMemory’s online marketing manager Jean-Paul Bouic.
“And one of the big steps in that was with games about three years ago – we wanted to see how it would go if we started buying and selling them. Six months later, our revenue went up by 30 per cent, so we definitely know that the market was hungry for it.”
Gaming isn’t the only field MyMemory branched into. The firm also stocks DVDs, Blu-rays and even day trip packages.
He says: “It’s mainly consumer electronics but we try to diversify by looking at any niches such as the gift experiences – helicopter flights, cars, hotel and spa days.
“We put that live about two years ago and it’s been really good for us. That’s just another example where we wanted to see if there was any take on it.” That’s not to say MyMemory is neglecting its namesake.
“We’re trying to take a bit more of the flash memory industry with the release of USB 3 and SDXE – high-capacity memory,” says Bouic. “We’re just trying to get to the forefront of that.”
Of course, MyMemory has had to cope with the unique challenges of being a Jersey-based retailer. Bouic claims that, while his firm should be safe, the Government’s review of the Channel Islands’ VAT loophole is having a serious impact on the local retail community.
“We weren’t surprised by the review,” he says. “There’s been a lot of talk about it so we have to just take it as it comes. It hasn’t really impacted us in terms of pricing but we do know a few companies that are going to suffer because of it.
“And it’s a shame because they’re local Jersey companies. There are major national companies that have come into Jersey who have really taken advantage of it, and some may even say abused it, so some
of the smaller companies are suffering for it.”
Despite all this, MyMemory is still confident about the future, not only for itself, but also for similar independent retailers – even those on the mainland.
“People are actually going back to independent retailers more,” says Bouic. “I can’t really talk about gaming but I know for anything else, people tend to go to the local butchers or fishmongers just to give them the business because they get better service – especially in Jersey.
“It’s all about the personal feel, it’s quality over mass quantity. In Jersey shoppers are quite funny. They don’t like bringing in big brands – they like to keep it local.”
TOP 20 UK INDIES
Games Centre was featured in a list of the UK’s Top 20 indies, compiled by MCV in association with Koch Media and Nindie.com. Find the full here.