3 Things Toys R Us Teaches About Business

3 Things Toys R Us Teaches About Business

It’s the end of an era. I remember going to Toys R Us on my 9th birthday with my mom and grandmother and getting a “shopping spree” for my birthday. It was perfect. I walked away with ninja turtles, wrestling figures, super heroes, and everything else my heart desired. I was set.

It was awesome.

After hearing the news of the store closings, I realized just what this has taught me in business.

If you don’t focus on the customer experience, you will fail. Do more than sell products and services. Yes, Toys R Us was GREAT at connecting me with products, but I never had the total experience. Toy stores today are creating “play times” and “play zones” to bring their community of customers together for the same purpose. Successful firms are ditching the “customer service”and focusing on “customer engagement” where they are being intentional in how the connect and impact their buyers. I’m working on several of those projects and can help you. (Shameless plug, I know).

Invest in your surroundings. We can all walk into any Toys R Us and see the same shelves, stained floors, and faded register counters from years ago. If your company building needs new walls, desks, carpet, signs, – get them. If not, you are sending a strong message that the employee experience doesn’t matter. If you can’t afford it, then you are in a lot more trouble then you know. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, if you aren’t proud to even walk a customer through your office building, then that is a problem. If you need updated technology to compete and survive – get it. Make an investment. It is your future. This seems simple – but so many companies hold back on this because they lack the vision or experience to move forward and take care of their employees and their processes.

Be visible and known for something good. Do marketing. I remember the awesome commercials from when I was younger. I can’t recall anything recently. Always be in front of your customers, at events, bring value through a case study. Whatever it takes. About a year ago I was in a local Toys R Us and couldn’t find an employee for a simple question. Can your customers find you and do you offer them value when they do? And don’t say you bring value – prove it. Sometimes I don’t care about your product, I am more interested in the research or credibility of your company. Do you have a case study? How can I find out more? Again, this isn’t ground breaking stuff, but we’ve all seen the firms who can’t see the whole solution. Did you do something amazing for charity or your community – alert the media. Don’t be the best kept secret.


Matt Swain is a marketer, teacher, reader, father, writer, and a consumer of all things pecan-pie. Read more, contact me, find out about my marketing or hire me at www.bringtheswain.com.  Follow @bringtheswain