Toys R Us CEO, Jerry Storch, spoke today at Shop.org’s 2012 Annual Summit. His “The Stores Strike Back” presentation covered a different angle than the typical ecommerce retailer. Repeatedly claiming, “We will win,” Jerry argued that physical stores remain crucial to leading retailers.
His key points included:
Internet retailers will add physical stores. Forrester estimates 327 billion to be spent online by 2016. So, what does that say for in-store retailers? An omni-channel approach: Coming soon (to a store near you) “omni-channel brands from everybody,” Jerry said.
Ship from store. The concept of shipping from the cloud directly to your home will resonate with buyers, especially those concerned with high shipping costs. This tactic works well for Toys R Us, but as Jerry mentioned, it’s not for everyone.
Internet tax will sway shoppers to stores. Although “free shipping” is a winning conversion tactic, with the upcoming internet tax, shoppers may reconsider buying online. In addition to added tax, green-conscious shoppers may be swayed to avoid shipping smaller items to their homes. This again highlights the need for an in-store experience
Ship to store. A new shipping feature for Toys R Us in 2012, “Ship to Store” allows the shopper to buy from anywhere and pick up their purchase at their local store. Again, supporting the retail store and omni-channel approach.
Making the most of in-store kiosks. Toys R Us has added in store kiosks to help shoppers combine a bar code found in an email with in-store navigation. This effort diminishes store employee time and maximizes a shopper’s time either picking up the latest item they had shipped to store or finding new items.
While Jerry highlights issues facing larger brand name retailers, the multi- or omni-channel approach allows retailers of all sizes to be highly available to their customers. By expanding and interconnecting their presence by online and store, Toys R Us is insuring they are visible, accessible, and 100% committed to a happy customer experience.