I’ve always imagined a 6 year old as the perfect impulse buyer. When was the last time you walked into a store with a child and they did not ask “Can I get a toy”? However, the majority of toys are being sold online, or so that is the story data tells us. According to the Toy Association, the toy industry generates around 26.5 billion dollars. Amazon, takes the biggest share with 2.16 billion, followed by Walmart with 1.3 billion. Toys R Us came in third with 912 million.
How does Toys R Us compare to the toy industry? To put in perspective, Mattel’s American Girl brand brought in 570.8 million dollars in revenue for 2016, according to Mattel’s full year 2016 report, while Toys R Us brought in 912 million dollars in revenue. American Girl, was the third highest revenue generating brand for Mattel’s portfolio.
What did “Toys R Us” miss? Being digitally friendly and developing a unique culture that would create loyal customers. American Girl, has developed a culture that lures customers into their retail locations. Their stores are filled with a unique customer experience. In these stores you can enjoy a lunch (and bring your doll along)at the in store cafe. From a digital standpoint, American Girl has 14 applications, as of September of 2017, where you can play doll games, create music playlists, and use American Girl emojis.
Digitally Friendly: Toys R Us needs to understand the many touch points in the customer journey. Sephora’s V.P. of Digital Product, Lucinda Newcomb, mentioned during a Discover Growth Facebook Live event, that Sephora took a standpoint to always think about “What does she want to do with the experience”. Sephora has come up with innovative ideas that take place on the social media platform, from booking a beauty appointment, to trying on different shades of lipstick.
An interesting trend, according to the Connected Kids report, complied by market research Childwise, children 5 to 16 spend an average of 6.5 hours viewing on multiple screens, with teenage boys averaging the highest at 7.5 hours . The top viewing website since 2007, Youtube. Having exposure on this digital platform is imperative. The internet has empowered children to explore their own interests rather than being tied to content streaming on television. It would be interesting to see, how Toys R Us utilized YouTube and other digital platforms to execute their marketing strategy.
In Store Experience: This is simply an idea, on how Toys R Us could develop a loyal customer base. Most children between the ages of 2-9, will receive toys on two major events, Holidays and Birthdays. Had Toys R Us focused on capturing the Birthday experience and luring in an emotional connection with Geoffrey, the giraffe, and worked with vendors to display hot newly released toys for play time during birthdays, maybe parents would have been more inclined to purchase toys from Toys R Us rather than Amazon. However, the digital friendliness, is still a major pain point for the toy retailer.
However, we cannot assume that the retail store is not one of the many touch points in the customer journey. In marketing, its hard to identify the many vessels that impact the overall purchasing sales point.