In a recent popular article, “What Happened to Toys R Us?”, we learned that the iconic toy megastore has announced that it plans to sell or close all 800 of its remaining US retail stores. For most of us, this was a store that we grew up with, spending birthdays, holidays, and other special events scanning the shelves looking for the latest and greatest “must have” toys, board games, bicycles, model cars, baby dolls, Thomas® trains, Lego sets, video games, and other treasures depending the age, the era, and the whims of the children in our lives.
Certainly, shopping habits have changed. For those of us in retail we are well-aware that we are knee-deep in a new age of retail where convenience, competition, and omni-channel opportunities have resulted in new options for today’s retail customer. This will continue to factor in on business decisions for years to come as companies adjust to the latest demands of the retail customer.
Obviously, there are many different factors that contributed to the downfall of this American icon. But did you shop there? Most of us have children in our lives or are somehow place in situations where we’ve purchased toys, games, and other leisure items that would commonly be sold at a store like a Toys R Us. Have your shopping habits led you away from shopping at these stores?
Our survey participants were largely split on this topic, with 30 percent stating that they typically buy their toys online, 10 percent stating that they buy their toys at a more specialized retailer, 30 percent saying that they typically buy their toys at a larger department store that carries toys among many other items, and 30 percent indicating that they preferred to buy their toys at Toys R Us or a similar toy outlet.
It would appear that approximately 30 percent of our respondents are going to have to find another outlet to buy toys for the children (and adults) in their lives. As the demands and shopping habits of our retail customers continue to change, it will only grow increasingly important that retailers aggressively and proactively respond to these new and evolving habits in order to be successful in this dynamic culture.
Here is a sampling of your comments:
Kids are more interested in video/virtual games these days rather than more traditional toys. Who knows where it goes from here.
Looks like we’re going to have to find a new place to buy our toys. Been shopping there since I was a kid. Too bad.
Not all change is for the better. A lot of kids are going to miss out.
Few Toys R Us stores in my city and not too many choose on the categories.
You buy online when you know exactly what you want. Toy stores let you browse hands-on and department stores don’t usually have the selection. Not good.
While we still buy many toys and other items at Toys R Us, we now buy many more items online. Hate to see them go – was as much a destination store and a toy store to experience as much as anything else.
Do you have any additional thoughts? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below.