Can Toys R Us Bring Back Target's Online Toy Shoppers?

This weekend I went into the local Target store looking for birthday and holiday gifts for my granddaughter. Yes, granddaughter. I found a pitiful selection of Barbie dolls. Nothing close to what they offer online.

I began with a search online for the items, but I couldn’t have them in hand now. I had to wait and have them shipped to my home. That wasn’t good enough for me this weekend. I wanted them now. I wanted to be able to walk into a retail store like Toys R Us and buy the dolls off the shelf.

Last week news hit that Toys R Us will re-emerge as a distribution channel for Target. When someone visits a Toys R Us web site, the site will redirect them to Target, which will fulfill the purchase. This relationship extends with a limited physical retail presence into brick-and-mortar starting in November. Target will support the effort. 

Jumpshot ran the numbers and noticed “a fair amount of overlap in the kinds of toys that did well for Toys R Us and Target online, so the partnership makes sense.” Target should have the ability to increase the buys from the same type of consumer, according to the data -- if they have the inventory in the local store, I say.



The partnership may be able to add some fresh traffic for, according to Jumpshot. The data shows that about 27% of traffic for action figures, for example, comes from paid search, which converts at a mere 1.6% for Target and drives high costs to remain competitive with Amazon, which drives most of their traffic directly. remains a valuable domain. It earned about 1.7 million visitors in the last month, despite not being a viable ecommerce site, according to Jumpshot.

Jumpshot also took a look at the average price for the category for dolls and dollhouses during the first quarter in 2018.

“There are far more products available than on Toys R Us or Target's websites, and the cost tends to be lower,” according to Jumpshot’s data. “These are often the kind of essential play items that a parent might buy rather than the higher-price, name brand purchase. Not to say those aren't on Amazon, too, but it does indicate that it's possible for another retailer to drive relatively high volumes for those items.”

Jumpshot cited the top search term for Amazon, Walmart and Target for the Toys & Video Games category in the third quarter of 2019 as Nintendo Switch, with Target taking the majority of traffic at 1.06%. Walmart ranked No. 2 for this keyword term, followed by Amazon. The second most popular search term for toys and games on Amazon was gaming mouse, which took 0.25% search share. On Walmart the number two term was swimming pools at 0.86% market share. Target's second most popular search terms was pool at 0.55% market share.

I hope TRU Kids, the new owner of the Toys R Us brand, understands consumers’ needs, because Target doesn’t seem to have it correct by evidence of the limited collection, especially as retail kicks off the holiday shopping season.

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