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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : May 16, 2018

Expert IDs lessons merchants can learn from Toys "R" Us closure

With the closure of Toys "R" Us, as well as the shuttering of many Sears and Macy's stores, many merchants are asking - how can I protect my business from this kind of happening? We asked a digital commerce expert how retailers can prepare now to better serve customers.

by Kristina Knight

Don't be 'digital last'

Toys "R" Us always had a strong brand ID with children's toys and games, but they moved too slowly to extend that brand dominance into the ecommerce channel. As a matter of fact, when they did jump in, it was in partnership with Amazon. This significantly delayed their ability to understand the ecommerce space. At the time their belief might have been that they weren't subject matter experts in the digital space, but in truth they needed to have the vision that this was a critical channel where they needed to cement their brand," said Kurt Keinemann, CSO, Reflektion.

Bring on the data

"By delaying their ownership and understanding of the digital space Toys "R" Us lost an opportunity to gain valuable insight about online shopping behaviors, digital regional preferences and the ability to merge all that insight with their brick and mortar stores. Not only was this a digital data gap because of their relationship with Amazon, this decision also armed their competitor with a wealth of category insight to help lay the foundation for Toys "R" Us' demise. The wealth of insight combining brick and mortar with ecommerce could have made Toys "R" Us' make better inventory decisions and made them a much more competitive animal armed with data," said Heinemann.

Upgrade the experience

"If you walked around a Toys "R" Us store before the liquidation, you may have felt a lack of creativity and imagination as opposed to how you would hope to feel in a children's store. When people enter a store, they need to feel something - relevant to a retailer's brand - in order to stay and make those coveted purchases," said Heinemann. "Creating a positive lasting impression in the eye of the consumer is crucial. However, this approach shouldn't stop with the in-store experience. Consumers don't talk about channels and whether retailers are doing it right in a physical or digital way, the brand is all one touchpoint for them, and they expect to be served that great, relevant experience, regardless of where and how they're choosing to shop."

Create a frictionless buying environment

"In today's contemporary world where time is money, convenience is often as much a benefit as price, and retailers leave a lot to be desired when it comes to these small conveniences (the checkout experience, fitting room technology, etc.). Small efficiencies to increase convenience can be made to produce a lasting impact on the overall customer experience. Take Amazon Go for instance. Retailers should look to make the customer experience restriction and friction free. Consumers time is very limited and the brands that respect the shopper's time will be seen as easier to engage and overall a more rewarding investment of time," said Heinemann.

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips, mobile marketing, Reflektion, retail trends

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