Maplin had grand plans to turn itself into a one-stop shop for the smart home market, but it seems that buyers weren’t interested in those plans, with the retailer having entered administration from this morning.
Launched in 1972, Maplin began life as a mail order business for electronics enthusiasts before heading into the difficult world of physical retail stores. Unfortunately, it happened to be retailers that focused on online rather than brick and mortar that led to Maplin’s ultimate demise.
Despite calling in the administrators, and the risk to 2,500 staff members in 200 stores, it’s expected that Maplin will ultimately find a buyer in the administration stage. While the retailer has struggled against competition from large online retailers, like Amazon, there are still healthy parts of the business that will likely be sold off quickly.
It’s unclear what will happen to the company’s so-called ‘2020 Vision’ strategy in this eventuality. As part of this strategy, Maplin was expected to pin its hopes on the growing smart home market, with plans to offer customers the ability to have their products installed for a fee.
What Does The Maplin Collapse Mean For The Smart Home Market?
Maplin may have pinned its hopes on the smart home market, but it was unable to act quickly enough to capitalise on its meteoric rise. Despite offering countless smart home products on its shelves, the company was often more expensive than its online counterparts.
For Maplin, the biggest difficulty came from Amazon. The online retailer has made it difficult for brick and mortar stores, as it offers next day, or even same day delivery options allowing customers to order products from the comfort of their own home. This meant users had less of an incentive to head down to their local Maplin store.
Amazon was an even bigger problem for Maplin due to its tech-savvy demographic. The launch of the Alexa voice assistant further cemented Amazon as the go-to place for smart home products, as it not only offered countless smart home products on its digital shelves, but also offered users the ability to control those products.
Maplin’s big idea to combat the rise of online retailers was to offer a more personalised service, with smart home installation and consultations. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to capitalise on this quick enough, and it faced competition from the likes of Currys and John Lewis, which offer similar services. Amazon has also debuted smart home installations and consultations in the US, and it could quite easily bring those to the UK.
It’s unlikely that Maplin’s demise will have too big of an effect on the smart home market, after all it accounts for just a tiny portion of sales. There are also other retailers that can easily pick up the slack, including Currys and John Lewis. But the loss of Maplin will be a sad loss for all smart home enthusiasts.