November 15, 2013, 3:14 PM

Toys ‘R’ Us gives its e-commerce site a social revamp

Shoppers can organize items on Pinterest-like boards and see trending toys.

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Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. has given its web site a social makeover. The toy retailer this week launched a redesigned web site that lets shoppers place items in Pinterest-like “boards,” while also viewing trending products on the site.

The site’s redesigned home page also highlights “hot sellers” and personalized product recommendations.

In launching the redesign a few weeks before Thanksgiving, the unofficial start of the holiday season, Toys ‘R’ Us says it hopes to make it easier for shoppers to find gifts. “We wanted new ways for shoppers to engage with each other and be inspired by ideas on the site,” says Fred Argir, senior vice president, chief digital officer.

The redesign also links ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com by providing a single shopping cart for the two sites; shoppers can move between the sites via a tab in the top left corner of each web page and check out once to buy items from the two sites. The retailer also overhauled the sites’ navigation; when a shopper mouses over a subcategory such as “Boys’ Toys” a section pops out, letting him shop by sections such as “Action Figures” or featured brands like “Hot Wheels.” 

“We wanted to eliminate unnecessary friction,” Argir says. “That meant making the site cleaner and more focused to make it easier to shop.”

Product pages now feature larger images larger so that shoppers can have a better sense of what a product looks like. Each page also features an Add My Images & Video button shoppers can click to upload images and videos of the product to the page. And on checkout pages Toys ‘R’ Us added the various options shoppers have to receive the item, such as shipped to the home or in-store pickup.  

The retailer, which uses the eBay Enterprise platform, says that during the redesign it sought to find new ways to leverage the platform’s capabilities to improve its on-site experience.

Toys ‘R’ Us, which worked with social marketing vendor 8thBridge Inc. to add the social elements to its site, is just the latest retailer to incorpoate social elements on an e-commerce site. Retailers ranging from Amazon.com Inc. to CanvasPop have borrowed elements from Pinterest to help shoppers discover new products, as well as to gain insights into what items shoppers are interested in. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500.

Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 30 in the 2013 Top 500, says it plans to use that information to merchandise its site. In time it may even use that data to inform its stores’ merchandising, Argir says.

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