What can we learn from TOP TOY?

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Right around Christmas, the company behind the BR and the Nordic Toys R Us stores unfortunately had to file for bankruptcy. Their problems have been known for a while now, both from the news and by simply walking around any of the stores, once bustling and hectic, now desolate and honestly a bit sad.


If you read the news coverage, the reasons for the bankruptcy apparently are:

1)    Increased competition, mostly from online

2)    Changing play habits of kids

Maybe, the reasons could be the following:

1)    Failing to please the consumer – kids

2)    Failing to please the shopper – adults

Going into a traditional toy store with children is hard work; it looks fun, but rarely is. You can’t touch or play with anything, despite hard working retail staff there is hardly anyone to ask for guidance, the store is sorted by brand of toys and gender of child, not age group nor interest. If you want to buy something for future use without spoiling the surprise, you can’t. The whole experience is too much and not enough, overwhelming and unsatisfying.

Maybe a 2019 toy store is more of a playroom, where everything is free to be used and touched. Maybe you as an adult can have an app on your phone, take a photo and AR will inform you of your options in terms of price and delivery method, show reviews and related items. Maybe the item can be paid for and delivered to the smoothie bar next door within the hour, maybe it can be sent home in a few days if the toy is meant to be a surprise. Of course, parents want to go to the toy store with their children, but maybe they want to do so without having to say NO a million times. And kids want not simply toys but playtime, discovery, and excitement.

Competition is rarely the reason one files for bankruptcy, lack of customer focus on the other hand, often is. In times of struggle many retailers will do aggressive price promotions, driving short term volumes at high financial costs and low customer loyalty gains. At Formulate, we are keen to help drive true value for retailers and their customers by quantifying the TrueLift of promotions, making sure they actually drive your business in the right direction. Promotions are an excellent addition to your overall customer experience to keep shoppers excited about what you got to offer. But, in order to know what activations really do the job you need to measure from start to finish, and as always – please the customer.