I read another story today linking Toys R Us’ financial demise to the dominance of Amazon. It’s not Amazon’s fault that Toys R US, Gander Mountain, Gymboree, and Radio Shack to name a few had to file for bankruptcy protection. Toys R Us has no one else to blame but themselves and here’s why: consistent and pervasive service failures.
A simple google search resulted in literally pages and pages of current customer stories of canceled orders, products out of stock, extensive shipping delays, and dreadful interactions with company staff. I was shocked at how awful ALL of the reviews were and they went back several years. One customer even wrote “This is the worst two-week shopping experience on a website I have ever experienced.” Another wrote “I've used Toys R Us to order toys online that were not available in the store. I've had so many issues that I'm finally finished and will not order from this company again.” I see several important messages in all the reviews.
People WANT to buy from Toys R Us.
The residual power and nostalgia of the Toys R Us brand is strong. Simply improving the way employees interact with customers will go a long way to recovering and growing their business. Most consumers are relatively forgiving when you own the problem, genuinely empathize, and make an effort to resolve the issue.
Their shopping experience was so bad that they feel compelled to shop Walmart or Amazon.
Toys R Us must rectify the issues with their online shopping systems in order survive. Shopping at Amazon is a reliable and consistent experience. It isn’t easy getting people into your store or on your website to buy. You don’t want to lose a buyer for something you can control, specifically your systems and your customer experience. Toys R Us is its own worst enemy.
It’s time the executive team take out their Etch A Sketches and draw up a better strategy. Only time will tell if there is a happy ending to this Toy Story.