Toys ‘R’ Us Is Making A Comeback As Tru Kids — With A Modern Customer Approach

Toys “R” Us is not putting the nail on the coffin yet. The Toys “R” Us story is well established at this point. The toy company did not embrace digital transformation early enough, treating digital as ancillary, and trusting Amazon to run its ecommerce business. Now in hindsight they and others realize that was a mistake, and a cautionary tale to any other company out there that believes digital is simply an ancillary effort. Less than a year after Toys “R” Us liquidated its assets and shuttered all of its hundreds of stores, the company is back with a new name, new look and—perhaps most importantly—new sales strategy.

Transformation To Tru Kids

The new company is called Tru Kids. It’s run by Richard Barry, the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us, and multiple other former Toys “R” Us executives. Tru Kids is the new parent company of Toys “R” Us and Babies R Us and also owns the rights to Geoffrey and dozens of Toys “R” Us original toy brands.

Tru Kids plans to open 70 stores this year in Asia, Europe and India. It will also have a domestic plan for the U.S. and place a large emphasis on growing the brand in the United States, but the details haven’t yet been announced. Tru Kids seems to have timed its debut announcement well, because the annual Toy Fair New York kicks off this weekend. The largest U.S. toy trade show could be a great time to showcase its plans for the future.

New Approach To Customer Experience

Although the new company owns the rights to the old Toys “R” Us, it looks like Tru Kids will take a different approach to sales and customer experience. Part of the reason for the demise of Toys “R” Us was that customers just weren’t coming to specialty toy stores. Instead, they purchased items online or from big-box stores. Even brand loyalty and a strong rewards program couldn’t save Toys “R” Us. In the end, a large reason for the downfall of Toys “R” Us was because it didn’t invest in new technology and an updated customer experience.

Tru Kids may have learned from previous mistakes and is instead making a big push for ecommerce. Barry said the new brand will focus on technology, in-store experiences and customer service. Modern customers love the convenience of being able to find products easily online, especially busy parents who don’t want to add another errand to their to-do list. Tru Kids is still finalizing its business plan and is open to a variety of retail approaches, including stand-alone stores, pop-up shops or partnerships with other brands. The more fluid and innovative approach to retail could solve the problems of the old Toys “R” Us and resonate with modern customers.

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