How Toys R Us missed the mark

Do you remember the Toys R Us jingle? I might be dating myself but every kid of the 90s can sing it by heart: I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R us kid… It was this spirit that made the iconic retail store so different. But after hearing its plan to liquidate, it makes me think of where they went wrong and how this could have been avoided if they just stayed true to who they were.

In a nutshell, Toys R Us could not compete with the online avenues of Amazon, other dot.com business and the massive retailers of Walmart and Target. And with the rise of online games, the need for board games slowly began to decline. But where the opportunity lied that they missed to see was the expansive physical real estate. They knew that their main target audiences were mothers and children. Where do mothers with children go on a daily basis? Having nephews I know where I bring them… the library, the mall, the park, the art gallery anywhere that a child can learn, roam free and explore. This is the opportunity that Toys R Us missed. They should have transformed their “store” into a living and learning boardgame. Imagine if you could bring your child to Toys R Us to play with the latest games (away from their iPads and computers) or to learn chess. Where they can learn the art of strategy and gameplay with other children to enhance their social skills. And at the end of the day, you have mothers and children immersed in brands and eventually will lead to the purchase of them. Today, brands need to be more than just a thing you purchase, they need to give consumers a sense of experience and lifestyle. In an era where Target, Sears and many other retail brands are losing market share and are closing their doors. It shows that you cannot rest on your laurels but have to reinvent and evolve as the times change.

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