Toys “R” Us is Back After Closing all Stores in 2018

Published on December 2, 2019

If you are a Toys “R” Us kid you just might never have to grow up, the iconic toy store is making a comeback, opening one store in New Jersey and a second in Houston after closing all stores in 2018.

Geoffrey the Giraffe Rebranded

Part of Toys “R” Us success was their ability to get their hands-on products before the competition could while always having access to the best toys.

There are many reasons for Toys “R” Us downfall, the rise of e-commerce giant Amazon, big-box retailer Walmart lowering prices lured in shoppers; and crippling debt are all mistakes the company is hoping to learn from.

Tru Kids, the new parent company, is rebranding the Toys “R” Us customer experience and teamed up with Target to relaunch the company’s website.

Richard Barry, President and CEO of Tru Kids told CNN in an interview, “we wanted to make sure that everywhere you turned in the store there was interactivity.”

The store will have around 1,500 items, but the technology around the store will allow customers to buy from a catalog of over 15,000 items.

In Toys “R” Us’s hay day, stores were 40,000 square feet, but the new stores will be smaller— ranging from 6,500 to 10,000 square feet. 

Interactive Toy Buying Experience 

Instead of shelves filled with toys, each brick-and-mortar will be a more hands on experience for kids and more tech around the stores, allowing parents to buy from a catalogue of toys online.

Barry says, “we have an amazing number of digital experiences throughout the store, but we also have good old analog [experiences]. … take the products out of the boxes and kids will be able to get their hands on them,” which is a more hands-on experience. 

Bringing back the nostalgic toy store required an upgrade to the shopping experience.

The new store will include interactive activities such as a treehouse, toys available outside their boxes for children to play with as they shop with their parents and a theater.

“Customers are interacting with brands in a different way, they’re interacting through experiences and we’re doing that in a huge way with this store,” Barry told WABC.

“Play Pro” Areas

Staff in each designated “Play Pro” area will supervise the play area, demonstrate toys and assist customers looking to place an online order.

Each store will have a “Play Pro” area where kids will be able to play with toys. In the Nerf section, kids will be able to blast their Nerf Blasters at targets and in the Nintendo area kids can play video games.

Geoffrey the Giraffe Partners With B8ta and Target

B8ta is teaming up with Geoffrey the giraffe with sensors in both locations to monitor shopper cadence and traffic patterns. Along with other metrics to capitalize on the stores’ performance; giving an in-depth view.

This will allow the company to capitalize on the stores’ performances; and have key insight such as how many shoppers entered the store, how much time customers spent, and how they interacted with the products.

While B8ta handles the companies tech, Target will help fulfill online orders.

Toys “R” Us Grand Opening in New Jersey and Texas 

The first store opened 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jersey and the first 200 customers received gift bag giveaways, the company said.

Families were able to take photos with different characters, from the star himself Geoffrey to Mario and Paw Patrol until 3 p.m.

A second is store opening Dec.7, at the Galleria in Houston and the company plans on opening 8 more in 2020.

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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