2018 saw the retail, toys and licensing world rocked as Toys “R” Us announced the liquidation of its assets, and the closing of hundreds of its stores in May. The industry hung its head and tightened its belt as the realisation dawned that children would no longer find Geoffrey the Giraffe under the roof of the “magical place” and the beloved brand was now yet another causality of the suffering retail world.
However, less than a year later and an announcement is coming in hot off the press. Toys “R” Us is back with a new name, a new look and a new approach to customer experience. The new endeavour has been christened “TRU Kids” and, though it plans to open 70 stores this year in Asia, Europe and India, its key focus will be a new sales strategy.
It is often remarked, the company’s downfall came from its failure to embrace digital transformation. To rise again TRU Kids will need to implement a new approach to customer experience and truly invest in technology. Modern customers buy online, they like the ease and convenience of finding something at the click of a button. Travelling to speciality stores in out of town retail parks is no longer the experience opted for by the customer of today. To drive brand loyalty – efficient customer service, intelligent customer journey engagement and a big push towards ecommerce is the way forward.
We are living in a time of change for retail. This January, the disruptor Boohoo, owner of Pretty Little Thing, Nasty Gal and Boohoo websites reported larger revenues than expected, with a 44% rise in revenues to £328.2million. Showing that simple, smart and rapid online offerings are fast capturing our attention and affection. This trend has been heard loud and clear by retail giants such as Tesco who are listening to the needs of customers and focusing on staying a step ahead with the creation of Tesco Labs - a technology research and development team focused on creating new products, services or experiences that address customer and business needs through the use of emerging technologies.
To truly see a turn in the market, businesses need to follow Tesco’s lead and embrace a culture of innovation. All eyes are on TRU Kids. To rise like a phoenix from the dead, we can only hope a true modern customer approach is at the core of its future business plan. Customers might then again “be on their way there”.