Essay on Toys “R” Us

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Essay on Toys “R” Us

Introduction

Toys “R” Us name made its debut in 1957.in New Jersey USA and it operates over 1,500 stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions around the world under the Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us and FAO Schwarz banners. These locations sell toys, educational products, baby merchandise and children’s apparel. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty acquired the company and took it private in 2005.  Its current turnover is $ 11.5 billion

Toys R Us is a dedicated toy retailer. We want to brand Toys R Us as a magical place to visit for kids. It is a place where kids can let their imagination run free. There needs to be a new sense of excitement when children enter a Toys R Us. With each toy, there is a fantastic story beyond the cardboard box.

Consumers have lost the sense of magic that once existed in a Toys R Us store. It has lost the magical, imaginary, special feeling Toys R Us once had. The current Toys R Us ads feel outdated.

Advertising Objective-essay on Toys “R” Us

The company launched the first of a new concept store called the “Toy Lab” in Freehold, New Jersey. The new layout provided more space for interactive exhibits and areas to play with new toys before purchase. This concept has since been expanded to stores in California, Delaware, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. Having  seen success in the move the company decided to launch ‘Play Lab’ in 55 stores in USA and it wishes to launch ‘Play Labs’ in stores in Canada as well. The biggest asset we have is the magic of the experience. As a specialty retailer in this world of toys and babies, it has is the   experience that is unparalleled and how to bring that to life in a meaningful way to today’s moms and kids is something we have that no one else has-essay on Toys “R” Us

Competition in the toys retail market has been increasing rapidly especially from online retailers i.e. Amazon, Walmart, EBay and Alibaba’s Group Holdings North American operations. This has resulted in a drastic reduction of footfalls in Toys R Us stores and a loss in sales. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on September 18, 2017, and has also filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and have announced the closure of 182 stores in USA and Canada.

Having experienced a significant amount of success in getting customers in the stores with the Play Lab concept the company has decided to launch these in more number of its stores in Canada. When you look at all of that you realize there is an epidemic in this world where kids are not having the time they need to play freely,” The biggest asset of Toy R Us is the magic of the experience. As a specialty retailer in this world of toys and babies, they possess an experience that is unparalleled and how to bring that to life in a meaningful way to today’s moms and kids is something we have that no one else has.Essay on Toys “R” Us

What’s a Play Lab? Well, it’s exactly like it sounds. It’s an experiential play opportunity for kids to test toys in the store. Not only can your child get the chance to play with the hottest toys of the season, but he or she can also try them out before you buy them. You know how it goes — your child absolutely, positively has to have the newest, coolest, best toy that her preschool BFF has. She wears you down and before you know it you’re at Toys”R”Us buying it for her. When you finally get it home (after spending the better part of an hour freeing it from all of those little plastic twist-ties) she plays with it for all of five minutes. And then she discards the said toy, never to pick it up again.

The new marketing communication objective is “Yesterday, “We Just Sold Toys… But Today, We Play!”  The company is confident that with the Play Lab in place customers will flock to the stores to get their children to have a “Torch & Feel” experience and this would lead to the children having an enjoyable experience and it would lead to higher sales from the stores.Essay on Toys “R” Us

“Touch & Feel” experience cannot be obtained from online retailers and this is expected to be the tipping point in its strategy to beat the emerging competition. Toys R Us wants to be ‘Champions of Play’ which would lead improving the customer experience and improve the engagement with young children its real consumers. When young children play, it helps progress child development. If they love the toys they can buy them.

Changes in the current situation is fueled by big-picture cultural shifts: As video gaming increasingly moves to apps, the retailer’s video games and electronics business slowed down dramatically. Toys R Us, determined to protect its profit margin, decided not to get into the deals fray. Toys R Us says it plans to try to reinvigorate its stores by making them into more of a hangout: It wants to hold more in-store events for the community

For many children, electronics have become a replacement or a substitute for traditional toys. Our data show that some 67% of young teens personally own at least one tablet or smartphone device and that among the cohort 59% say spending on such devices is a priority. With even the most basic of products having a high price tag, there is often little left over – either from the child’s budget or the gifting budget of parents and family – to spend on other toys.

The marketing challenge is to get adults use the lab to test the items on kids’ holiday lists to check for age appropriateness before they make a purchase. The new brand philosophy – Today We Play — leaves behind the ‘transactional mentality’ of our business and rallies our customers and communities behind an issue that is vital for children’s development – free, unstructured play

The chain’s new brand positioning, is “Today We Play,”

Marketing Tactics to be used-essay on Toys “R” Us

  • The company should be using a Mass marketing strategy involving a combination of newspaper and magazine ads, social media advertising, parents/grandparents testimonials and significant improvements in its websites clearly conveying the key benefits of bring their children to play lab in the store .
  • Another good opportunity is to promote this concept thru school classrooms especially focussing on the educational toys line up. Specially created videos which clearly show the learning aspect while having fun will be very beneficial.
  • Inviting groups of students to experience the Play lab first hand will generate a positive word of mouth and bring in more children along with their parents. A discount coupon for toys purchase during the first visit will help obtain a positive experience and will lead to brand retention.

All the above tactics should generate increase footfalls and promote a touch and feel experience this should significantly increase the revenue for the brand

The creative objective is to-essay on Toys “R” Us

  • We need to bring an imaginative and magical feel to the new ads. Going to Toys R Us should

be more like an experience, rather than being just a boring visit to a regular retail store.

  • There needs to be a positive shift of attitude toward the brand. It needs to be seen as a play

Land for kids.Essay on Toys “R” Us

  • The ads need to be up to date
  • Reach out to Parents between the ages 25-­‐45, whose children are between the ages 3‐17. They want to further aid their child’s mental development by purchasing toys that will further expand their imagination.
  • Strongly communicate the message “Yesterday, We Just Sold Toys… But Today, We Play!”
  • The above tag line needs to be supported by very attractive and inviting visuals of the Play Lab
  • Change the customer perception that Toy R Us is just not a toy retailer but a fun experience to visit
  • Inform and educate he customer that there is a lot of Fun stuff happening at Toys R Us.
  • Increase the footfalls in the store which expect to lead to higher sales revenue for the brand
  • To create a significant differentiation between the online brands and Toys R Us.

The executional mandatories existing are

  • Strong and long existing Brand awareness
  • Generic location to buy Toys and Gifts
  • Highly reputed toys retailer

How do you measure results?

  • Analysis of increase in Footfalls in the store
  • Increase of revenues
  • Post visit market surveys/research
  • Monitoring the buzz on the various social media outlet being used by Toys R Us

 

APPENDIX -A

RESEARCH INSTRUMENT

Market Survey – Toys R Us

 

Q1. Is it your first visit or repeat visit to Toy R Us?

 

No

 

If yes then

 

 

Q2. Since how long have you been visiting Toys R Us?

 

 

Q3. What makes you visit Toys R Us?

.

 

Q4. Nowadays toys are available in other stores and online. Do you buy from other sources?      If no do you do you buy from Toys R Us and why?

 

 

 

Q5. Toys R Us is planning to launch play (kids can come and play with the hottest toys of the season). Do you think its interesting idea to establish? And how in your opinion would be the best way to communicate to the customer?

 

Q6. Would you suggest any more changes to the retail format of Toys R Us?

 

 

 

Q7. Any other suggestion or advice to Toys R Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDEX –B

COMPLETED RESEARCH INSRUMENTS

 

Market Survey – Toys R Us-essay on Toys “R” Us

 

Q1. Is it your first visit or repeat visit to Toy R Us?

 

No

 

If yes then

 

 

Q2. Since how long have you been visiting Toys R Us?

 

 

Q3. What makes you visit Toys R Us?

.

 

Q4. Nowadays toys are available in other stores and online. Do you buy from other sources?      If no do you do you buy from Toys R Us and why?

 

 

 

Q5. Toys R Us is planning to launch play (kids can come and play with the hottest toys of the season). Do you think its interesting idea to establish? And how in your opinion would be the best way to communicate to the customer?

 

Q6. Would you suggest any more changes to the retail format of Toys R Us?

 

Essay on Toys “R” Us

 

Q7. Any other suggestion or advice to Toys R Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First interview

 

Q1. Is it your first visit or repeat visit to Toy R Us?

No

 

If yes then

 

 

Q2. Since how long have you been visiting Toys R Us?

I am a big fan of Toys R Us and have been visiting the store since the time I have got pregnant.

 

Q3. What makes you visit Toys R Us?

The quality along with the variety is good here.

 

Q4. Nowadays toys are available in other stores and online. Do you buy from other sources?

Toys R Us is near to my place hence I do not need to visit any other store. Ordering online I do not prefer as it takes time for delivery.Essay on Toys “R” Us

 

 

Q5. Toys R Us is planning to launch play (kids can come and play with the hottest toys of the season).

This would be a great idea wherein my child can play with the hottest toys. Also as I am a big fan of Toys R Us I would prefer to have my child play here.

 

Q6. Would you suggest any more changes to the retail format of Toys R Us?

No. The current format is good.

 

 

Q7. Any other suggestion or advice to Toys R Us?

Pricing should be at par with the competitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Interview

 

Q1. Is it your first visit or repeat visit to Toy R Us?

Yes

 

If yes then

It was a recommendation by a friend.

 

Q2. Since how long have you been visiting Toys R Us?

This is the first visit as my friend recommended.

 

 

Q3. What makes you visit Toys R Us?

My friend recommended the store and I have also seen advertisements which made me inquisitive about the store.Essay on Toys “R” Us

 

 

Q4. Nowadays toys are available in other stores and online. Do you buy from other sources?

I prefer online purchase as it is convenient for me and saves me the hassle of going to a store.

 

 

Q5. Toys R Us is planning to launch play (kids can come and play with the hottest toys of the season).

It would be a good idea but there should be a supervisor also to take care of children and also the children would make the place messy.

 

Q6. Would you suggest any more changes to the retail format of Toys R Us?

The current format is good. As this is the first time I am visiting the store I am satisfied with the store layout.

 

Q7. Any other suggestion or advice to Toys R Us?

They can also have the same variety online so that if I purchase online I would have some more options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interview was done in Lansdowne mall – Richmond BC. Photo was taken by Alla Alamer.

 

 

Third interview

Q1. Is it your first visit or repeat visit to Toy R Us?

No

If yes then

Q2. Since how long have you been visiting Toys R Us?

I am a big fan of Toys R Us and have been visiting the store since the time I have got pregnant.

Q3. What makes you visit Toys R Us?

The quality along with the variety is good here.

Q4. Nowadays toys are available in other stores and online. Do you buy from other sources?

Toys R Us is near to my place hence I do not need to visit any other store. Ordering online I do not prefer as it takes time for delivery.

Q5. Toys R Us is planning to launch play (kids can come and play with the hottest toys of the season).

This would be a great idea wherein my child can play with the hottest toys. Also as I am a big fan of Toys R Us I would prefer to have my child play here.

Q6. Would you suggest any more changes to the retail format of Toys R Us?

No. The current format is good.

Q7. Any other suggestion or advice to Toys R Us?

Pricing should be at par with the competitors.

 

Essay on Toys “R” Us

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX C

 

Press Report Published in The Globe & Mail Newspaper

 

Toys ‘R’ Us hope ‘play labs’ can bring customers back

The ‘play lab’, an amusement area, is seen inside the Toys ‘R’ Us Inc store in Wallkill, New York on Dec. 5, 2017.

Reuters

Published December 21, 2017 Updated December 21, 2017  in Globe & Mail

Joshua and Amy Hightower drive 40 minutes to a Toys “R” Us Inc store in a blue collar neighborhood in Wallkill, one of the farthest reaches of the New York City suburbs, so their children can try toys at an amusement area dubbed the “play lab.”

“We were actually here last night and last week,” said Amy Hightower, a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom as her daughter played house and her two sons raced cars in the play lab, which Toys “R” Us launched in 42 of its stores this year.

“It is hard to get them away from this area,” she said.Essay on Toys “R” Us

The Hightowers may be ideal Toys “R” Us customers, but so far there has not been enough of them. Many shoppers now make their toy purchases online. Foot traffic at Toys “R” Us, the largest U.S. toy retailer, has declined, as consumers turn to e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com Inc, mass discount chains, like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, and some small independent toy stores.

As Toys “R” Us aims to exit bankruptcy in 2018 after defaulting on its debt last September, its efforts to reinvent its stores with play labs will shape how other retailers look to experiential shopping to tackle e-commerce.

The holiday shopping season, when 75 per cent of all toy sales are made, is a key test of this strategy.

Toys “R” Us has set aside more than $400-million out of its $3.1-billion in bankruptcy loans for sprucing up its approximately 900 stores over the next three years with more experiences and better-paid staff.

The company’s creditors are wary of these plans, according to sources close to the situation who requested anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations. Creditors can ask the bankruptcy judge to stop Toys “R” Us from spending on play labs or other experiential aspects, if they view the costs as excessive.

In bankruptcy court papers, Toys “R” Us has argued it cannot wait until it emerges from bankruptcy to invest in its stores. The retailer also plans to close unprofitable locations and improve its website and loyalty programs.

Dave Brandon, who became Toys “R” Us chief executive in 2015 after spearheading a turnaround at Domino’s Pizza Inc, defended the strategy in an interview, saying that bricks-and-mortar stores and experiential shopping were important to the retailer’s brand.

“We think our scale is a huge advantage, because we have a brand that’s nationally and globally known,” Brandon said.

Toys “R” Us aims to offer shopping experiences like those found at Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc, Best Buy Co Inc and Ulta Beauty Inc, Brandon added.

To be sure, Toys “R” Us may end up with little to show for its investment, industry experts said. Experiential shopping is expensive to scale up for big box retailers that rely heavily on seasonal hiring, they said.

“There is a chance that Toys “R” Us could be out of business in the next two years entirely in the United States,” said Stephanie Wissink, a consumer products analyst at investment bank Jefferies LLC. “My fear is that they are not selling goods to a consumer that values that experience.”

Other toy retailers offering shopping experiences, such as stuffed animal shop Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc and The Lego Group have also posted sales declines. Sales at Build-A-Bear declined 7 per cent to $364-million last year from $392-million two years prior.

INDEPENDENT TOY Stores-essay on Toys “R” Us

Regional independent toy retailers have also been taking market share away from Toys “R” Us, thanks to merchandise that extends beyond mass-market toys, strong customer service and products that accompany school lessons.

Those chains also seek to cater to local tastes in a way Toys “R” Us has not. “Stores in Texas buy cheerleading stuff a lot, there’s a big football community,” said Sharon DiMinico, chief executive of Learning Express Inc, a U.S. toy store franchiser with about 120 independently-owned stores.

Steven Aarons, the owner of four-store chain Barstons Child’s Play in the Washington, D.C. area, said he is able to offer entry-level wages of $15 per hour and health insurance to full-time workers because he has cheaper rent and does not have to answer to investors.

In Wallkill, Toys “R” Us hired new employees like Nora Hanlon to oversee the store’s Play Lab, which is a cordoned off foam mat, scattered with toys and a picnic table nearby where parents can sit. Boxes marked for layaway surround it.

“I get minimum wage, but it’s a really fun job,” said Hanlon, a high school student and part-time Play Lab Coach, sporting a reindeer headpiece.

Toys “R” Us also plans to hire more skilled workers. About $72-million of the $400-million the retailer will use for its redevelopment will go toward wage increases.

The chain’s efforts to emulate features of independent stores underscores the dramatic reversal of its fortunes. As the chain grew its national footprint, it wiped out mom-and-pop shops decades ago. But its glitzy Fao Schwarz store and flagship Times Square location featuring a Ferris Wheel were too pricey.

Earlier efforts with experiential stores called “Geoffrey,” named after its giraffe mascot, failed. Its $6.6-billion leveraged buyout in 2005 led to expensive interest payments that ate up cash Toys “R” Us could have used to improve stores.

“Can they somehow turn their stores from a warehouse into a play area?” said retail consultant Howard Davidowitz. “That is a big jump.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

  1. Wikipedia- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toys_%22R%22_Us
  2. Toys r Us files for Bankruptcy – Globe and Mail – https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/us-business/toys-r-us-files-for-bankruptcy-protection-in-us-to-follow-suit-in-canada/article36295886/
  3. “Yesterday, “We Just Sold Toys… But Today, We Play!” – https://www.toysrusinc.com/blog/yesterday-we-just-sold-toysbut-today-we-play