Experience Design

Toys “R” Us Reimagined?

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Rough news for iconic Toys “R” Us this week as they declare bankruptcy – right on the cusp of the holiday shopping season. Another casualty in this year’s string of retail setbacks, disruptions, and (optimistically) transformations. Analysts cite an over-investment in stores and perhaps too many years of letting the website wither on the vine. Is it also possible that kids are too busy keeping up their Snapchat streaks and Minecrafting to be bothered with action figures, board games, and Easy-Bake ovens?
Unless a Pikachu can be found in Aisle 8, perhaps kids are not really inclined to wander the aisles like their parents did looking for G. I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip. Since the company doesn’t plan to close any of its 1,600 stores, in light of last week’s announcement about Nordstrom Local maybe it’s time for Toys “R” Us to follow suit and reimagine its own in-store experience. What if Toys “R” Us ditched the inventory and built their stores around what matters most from an in-store experience? Let’s take what we know about Nordstrom Local and apply it to Toys “R” Us:

  • Try-before-you-buy. Plenty of hand sanitizer will be provided.
  • Concierge and white glove appointments will be replaced with the ultimate play dates for you and your friends.
  • Of course, each location will have its own Geoffrey the Giraffe as the resident concierge. Guest concierges may include Wonder Woman, Charzaar, and the aforementioned G. I. Joe (with the Kung Fu Grip, if available).
  • Personal stylists and fashion consultants will be replaced by Barbie stylists and fashion consultants. May consider guest Lego engineers and skateboarding clinicians.
  • Martha Stewart and Mario Batali will make special appearances for holiday season Easy Bake Oven cooking classes.
  • Settlers of Catan tournaments will be held the first Saturday of each month.
  • We’ll keep it kid-friendly with juice boxes in place of cold-pressed juices.
  • Curb-side pickup will be available to accommodate the essential buy-online, pick-up in car-seat experience.
  • While kids don’t need manis and pedis, what kid doesn’t love face painting?

The biggest challenge in an inventory-free toy store: how do you get your toddler to leave quietly without any merchandise? We’ll save that for the next innovation.

About the Author

Jim Hertzfeld is Principal and Chief Strategist for Perficient Digital, and works with clients to make their customers and shareholders happy through insanely great digital experiences.

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