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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 19, 2018

How small and large merchants can fill the gap the Toys 'R Us closure left

There will always be a need for toys, but in the US the ability to find those toys has become harder with the closure of large toy retailer Toys 'R Us. That closure, though, could yield big benefits for merchants who can position themselves to take up the slack left in the wake of that closure.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: With the closure of Toys 'R Us, many merchants are trying to fill the gap - what kinds of success are they seeing so far?

Dave Feinleib, CEO, Content Analytics: Limited success. Vendors and retailers have a short window to get new items into the setup process and live before the holidays are upon us. Vendors are finally over the shock of Toys 'R Us going out of business--now they need to hustle to capitalize on the expansion initiatives announced by Walmart, Target and others.

On that front, we've already setup 10,000 items for Mattel alone. We also worked with PepsiCo--not a toy maker but a great example of how fast a brand can execute--to speed up their new item setup process to under two days. So, vendors can make it happen in time for the holidays. But they need to act fast.

Kristina: Walmart, JC Penney, and Kohl's have all announced plans to expand their toys department - what do big brands like these need to do to encourage shopping in-store?

Dave: That's a very timely question. We were just meeting with two of the largest omni-channel retailers over the last two weeks, and this was a big topic of discussion. Certainly, getting products onto store shelves is key. Giving shoppers an opportunity to interact with toys before they buy them makes for a great experience. And finally, we know that 81 percent of shoppers do some form of online research before making a purchase decision, so making those in-store items available online is super important.

Kristina: What about online - what can big brands do to engage toy shoppers online? 

Dave: Online engagement is all about showing up in the search results, having great product content and being in-stock. Think of it as a three-step process. Shoppers need to be able to find the items first. Then, the items have to be merchandised in a compelling way, with high-res imagery, videos and compelling product descriptions. And finally, the items need to be in-stock. All too often, without the right tools in place, a late order or a sudden spike in sales can catch a vendor off guard. And shoppers are checking their devices while they're in-store. So, all of this online investment will help with in-store conversion, as well.

Kristina: What about smaller merchants and even third-party sellers in places like Amazon - what impact might the Toys 'R Us closure have on them? 

Dave: That demand for toys has to go somewhere. It's a jump-ball to see who can capture it. I think we'll see more pop-up toy stores. Online, we'll see third-party sellers being very aggressive with their marketing techniques to try to capture a piece of that demand. On sites like Amazon and Walmart, third-party sellers know the traffic is there. It's a question of what they can do to capture it. Having the right tools to monitor search rank and increase conversion will be key.

Tags: Content Analytics, ecommerce, ecommerce tips, ecommerce trends, toy advertising, Toy marketing

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