Following the company’s worldwide announcement of bankruptcy, Toys R Us appears to be placing a lot of focus on its online presence. The UK company has spent the weeks updating their website and developing an augmented reality app, while stores are building interactive areas for kids to play in.
Speaking to USA Today, Toys R Us CEO Dave Brandon explained that by building online and in-store experiences, the retailer hopes to gain more customers. “It’s going to transform the experience of coming into a Toys R Us bricks and mortar store and turn it into something that’s quite different and a lot more fun,” Brandon continued.
Right now, the new Toys R Us app is available in 23 stores around the United States and from what we know, it actually sounds like a lot of fun. The app allows patrons to generate an animated version of the chain’s mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, lets you shoot digital baskets and has a virtual baby for you to care for. If you’re thinking the app makes shopping more of a game, you’d be right as the app also has an objective of collecting stars to receive rewards.
Really, it’s about time that the Toys R Us brand began building a more modern online presence and embracing new technology. After all, it was their failure to keep up with internet-based marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay that led to the government buy-out in 2005. Subsequently, the $5 billion debt incurred from that buy-out has caused the company’s decision to file for bankruptcy.
Other industries have been offering consumers interactive, immersive experiences online for a long time, often proving that it is a successful avenue for businesses to take. For example, the casino industry entered the online world almost two decades ago and continues to thrive. Many of these casinos such as Slot.io offer game guides, slots, table games, live dealer tournaments and even virtual reality titles that create an atmosphere akin to Las Vegas. Needless to say, it’s about time that other industries begin embracing the online world. Fortunately for Toys R Us, it appears that they have well and truly got this message.
That isn’t to say that the brand will not only exist online. While the app should be available around the world by October 21, we will have to wait until later in the Fall for the company’s new playrooms. According to Business Insider, these playrooms will be added to 42 stores in the new future, each complete with toys and gadgets that kids can try before their parents buy. Really, these playrooms are very similar to the one that appears each holiday season at the Time Square pop up Toys R Us.
Ultimately, we hope that these new business moves will save Toys R Us as each and every one of us has fond memories of visiting our local store as kids. There needs to be places like Toys R Us in the world, where children can play and interact, and where parents can find out what their kid actually wants for Christmas or for their birthday. More power to you, Toys R Us, more power to you.