This past week the retail chain, Toys R Us announced it was ending it’s U.S. operations and filing bankruptcy.
In February of 2017, a study conducted showed that 67% of people preferred online shopping to shopping in-store (Statista). It is convenient, easy, and quick to go online and make your purchase and have it delivered to your house, rather than venturing to the mall and having to deal with crowds, traffic, and not knowing if the store will have the item in stock.
With a younger generation becoming more tech savvy and an older generation learning how to use the Internet to make their purchases, it isn’t too much of a surprise about the Toys R Us announcement. However, it can be a big warning to other large retail stores that they need to both adapt to the shifting online shopping preference, and possibly prioritize their financial spending on their online operations.
Here are just a few lessons that I think retailers can learn:
- Hold contests or experiences for your consumers- A toy company with a focus on children means they could have marketed all kinds of contests to their consumers. Why not hold a contest asking kids for their ideas for a new toy and the winner actually gets to see their toy created? They could have made it not only a very cool experience to see their idea come to life, but also a teaching lesson on business, operations, and marketing. People now buy products for experiences, and this could have been a great one!
- Created a unique online or in person shopping experience- With amazon as a quick and simple way to quickly order any toy, or any other product, retailers need to start creating something unique to entice consumers to buy from their website or in their stores. Why not offer a discount or add a freebie to the purchase if it is bought directly in store or via their direct website.
- Don’t offer all products online- It may be a hassle sometimes to the consumer, but I know that it gets me into a store. Take Ulta for example. I purchase all my cosmetics from makeup to face wash from the retailer, and they do not offer some of these products for purchase online. It usually forces me to go in person, and once I am in the store, I usually make a larger purchase because of all the surrounding items on display!
- Focus on social media and blogging- With a generation that spends a lot of time on social media, building platforms that are interactive with your audience is a must. Younger parents are now from a generation that uses these sites a lot, so Toys R Us should have been heavily focused on marketing and engaging through these social media outlets. Also, creating a blog that offers valuable information and content that your audience actually wants to learn about can be a huge marketing boost.
Feb. 2017. Online vs. in-store shopping preference of consumers in the United States as of February 2017, by product category. Statista. Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/311459/us-online-in-person-shopping-preferences-product-category/