Five E-Commerce Tips for Toys 'R' Us to Re-invent Itself

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Big retailers like Amazon don’t offer brands much control over their customer experience, so Toys 'R' Us can set itself up for success by working together with brands to help create the ultimate customer experience and give them more control throughout the shopping journey.

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E-commerce’s impact is growing exponentially, with total online retail sales jumping 15 percent from 2017 to 2018. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores have revamped business models to include digital capabilities in response. Those who haven’t transformed have been swept under the rug by giants like Amazon, who’ve kept up with consumers’ desires. That was the case for famed toy company Toys ‘R’ Us, which closed its doors last summer.

The once-giant toy retailer is hoping to make a return in 2019 under its Tru Kids, Inc. brand. This eWEEK Data Points article features some important takeaways from Digital River’s chief product officer, James Gagliardi, on how Toys 'R' Us can re-invent its business and set itself up for longevity.

Data Point No. 1: Have a strong web presence.

If Toys 'R' Us is looking to step back into the retail game, it must leverage digital technology like it never did before. In order to entice brands to sells on its platform, Toys 'R' Us must successfully merge its physical presence with the web. Fierce competition is present in the industry and strong competency of how to build a thriving online business needs to be showcased for brands to have a renewed interested in the toy retailer.

Data Point No. 2: Be a solid partner.

It’s crucial for Toys 'R' Us to recognize just how much customer expectations have shifted with the introduction of e-commerce. In the wake of the digital retail revolution, brands have a heightened focus on convenience, choice and personalization due to the changing preferences of shoppers. Toys 'R' Us should push itself to be a strong partner for brands by protecting margins and reinventing market development fund (MDF) programs, in ways retailers such as Amazon and Walmart don’t.

Data Point No. 3: The brand is king.

With many toy merchants feeling as though they’re at the mercy of the Big Two--Walmart and Amazon--due to marketplace consolidation, there’s a chance for Toys 'R' Us to become their saving grace. These top sellers don’t take the time to court a brand’s products in a special way, leading them to lose sight of actual brands. Toys 'R' Us can build a lane of its own by acting as a brand ally, which includes helping brands form unique online experiences.

Data Point No. 4: Find a niche.

It can be tempting to follow what the Big Two are doing because of their stronghold on the market. Toys 'R' Us should not fall into this trap; it needs to be able to differentiate itself from others and forge its own path. A good starting point would be to get the attention of up-and-coming brands entering the market and champion their products—be a launchpad.

Data Point No. 5: Focus on the customer experience.

The customer experience is a central component in today’s world of retail. If merchants aren’t providing seamless shopping journeys for its consumers across touchpoints, they run the risk of tarnishing their names and reputations. Big retailers like Amazon don’t offer brands much control over their customer experience, so Toys 'R' Us can set itself up for success by working together with brands to help create the ultimate customer experience and give them more control throughout the shopping journey.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...