July 6, 2006, 12:00 AM

Toys `R` Us re-launches ToysRUs.com with multi-channel sales in mind

The new Toys “R” Us e-commerce site features several enhancements that expedite cross-channel selling such as a summer gifts guide that enables customers to shop by age group and then locate a store.

The new Toys “R” Us e-commerce site is up and running and the retailer is making multi-channel integration a key part of the launch.

The new site, which is designed and maintained by GSI Commerce, debuted on July 1. The new ToysRUs.com and a sister site, BabiesRUs.com, feature larger graphics and enhanced navigation. The home page enables customers to shop by age, category and brand.

Toys "R" Us Inc., No. 31 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, also relaunched the site with multi-channel marketing in mind. In addition to a site locator button on the home page, ToysRUs.com also features several other enhancements that expedite cross-channel marketing. A prominent “special events” button enables shoppers to click on a link and check on upcoming in-store events. A new summer gifts guide also allows visitors to shop by age group and then locate a store nearby with the available merchandise in-stock.

“Some of the initial steps they are taking with the new launch make it clear they are keeping multi-channel sales in mind,” says Curt Barry, president of F. Curtis Barry & Co. “That makes a lot of sense when you bear in find that multi-channel shoppers will make significantly higher-value purchases over the course of a relationship than single channel shoppers.”

Shoppers currently can purchase items online and return them in store. "We will be rolling out in-store pick-up of online orders at some point within the coming year," says a Toys "R" Us spokeswoman. "Toys `R` Us and Babies `R` Us gift cards bought online for redemption in store or on our e-commerce sites is scheduled to be rolled out by the fall. We were unable to do this previously under our Amazon agreement."

To drive store traffic, the new ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com feature discounts, including discounts of up to 50% on selected children’s clothes and shoes available only in stores.

Toys “R” Us re-launched its e-commerce sites after canceling its multi-year e-commerce platform and merchandising agreement with Amazon.com Inc. in March. “This is a good first effort and I am impressed with what they’ve been able to do in a short period of time,” says LakeWest Group CEO Robert Antall. “They make the tie between their stores and e-commerce sites very clear.”

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