AR Saves the Day?
It is probably not a surprise to you to hear that Toys-R-Us has been struggling. The bricks and mortar chain still captures 9%-15% of toy sales for major toy companies. However competition from Walmart and Amazon has hit them pretty hard.
What may surprise you is one of the tools they are using to bring new life into their stores: Augmented Reality.
Development was apparently well underway before the company announced its restructuring plan. The new Augmented Reality experience is launching on October 21, 2017.
The Toys-R-Us AR Experience
So what did ToysRUs do with Augmented Reality? Here’s a quote from USA Today.
Geoffrey, the Toys R Us mascot, will greet customers virtually, giving them instructions on what to do. Young shoppers, guided by flashing icons and stickers on the floor, will point their tablet or smartphone at a sign on a shelf. Once the sign is scanned, a toy or activity will come to life on the screen.
In the baby doll aisle, for instance, a cooing, virtual version of a doll on the shelf can be adopted, given a name, and even have its dirty diaper changed. in the basketball station, kids can sweep a ball into the hoop with a swipe of the screen, and compare their scores with others on a leaderboard.
Each activity allows shoppers to rack up stars, and the more they earn, the more experiences they can tap into.
If you would like to see this in action, go read the article. It has a number of video clips that show the end result.
This isn’t a truly groundbreaking use case, but it is potentially useful. The idea of a virtual concierge isn’t really new, but having a device in your pocket that can do this is still quite new to most consumers.
It is unclear to me that this will solve ToysRUs’s many problems, but that doesn’t make it a bad idea.
In fact, if you’re like me and you’ve spent many hours in Home Depot looking for someone to ask about that special widget you’re hunting, a virtual concierge starts to seem like a winning idea.