Merchant Innovation

Toys"R"Us, Millennial Moms And In-Store Omni — Oh My!

Mothers have always been a desirable retail demographic. In the days when mom (and only mom) balanced the checkbook, retailers that could influence her purchasing decisions often had an entire family's disposable income at their, well, disposal. And though men have made up some ground on the domestic front, millennial moms are still a force to be reckoned with.

How this cohort goes about shopping has also predictably changed with the generations. As it is in nearly every other generational subsection, millennial moms love mobile. For research, 80 percent do so on their smartphones, often while in store, 62 percent search for discounts and offers and 44 percent check product reviews before going to the checkout.

However, while millennial moms might be as connected as their peers, something is being lost in translation when retailers try to reach out to this valuable demographic. In fact, as many as 42 percent of millennial mothers — as opposed to 36 percent of any age — feel as if merchants are giving them "advertising and marketing [that] is not geared toward women like me."

That should be a wake-up call for retailers struggling to convert more online consumers, and especially those like Toys"R"Us that ostensibly target children but are ultimately dependent on their parents making a move to the checkout page. And with millennial mothers about 50 percent more likely than their non-millennial peers to shop for children's toys online, figuring out a means of eCommerce that is geared toward women like them is of paramount importance.

Perhaps that's why Toys"R"Us is trying out a new omnichannel fix across its Canadian footprint. As of April 18, Toys"R"Us Canada has partnered with Salesfloor to tweak the way shoppers navigate its online site for in-store purchases. Instead of sending digital shoppers to an umbrella site, Toys"R"Us will now build out individualized webpages for each of its local stores, and when online shoppers navigate to their closest location, instead of being throwing into the maw of a malfunctioning chatbot or left to decipher inanimate FAQs, online shoppers will be able to chat, get recommendations and be nudged toward conversions thanks to personal mobile devices used by each brick-and-mortar location's in-store associates.

According to RIS News, during the pilot period in 2015, the program helped Toys"R"Us increase online conversions 10 times over normal rates, and similar improvements to customer service scores persuaded the retailer to push the online-B&M digital bridge across its entire Canadian footprint.

At a glance, the particulars of why the project was so successful fit neatly into place. It's no stretch of the imagination to believe that millennial moms might be more particular with their research when it comes to buying toys for their children, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're happy to waste hours scouring Toys"R"Us' site to find the perfect items. Providing a direct connection to a human, in-store associate, however qualified or unqualified as mothers they may be, accelerates the process of online research a slight-yet-critical amount.

Moreover, PYMNTS.com's Checkout Conversion Index with BlueSnap proved that all the elements of the Toys"R"Us-Salesfloor partnership — product reviews, recommendations and live site help — were cornerstones of the checkout process for all four retailers that received A grades in overall conversion proficiency. Even the 110 merchants that received B grades made sure that these factors were well-embedded into their online checkout mechanisms.

For comparison's sake, of the 160 retailers with failing marks, just 40 percent incorporated product reviews and recommendations, and a paltry 57 percent managed to coordinate live help into their sites.

It's all the more reason for retailers struggling to figure out why they're bleeding customers online to take another look at how their in-store operations can more adroitly massage the kinks out of their online checkout platforms. This goes doubly so for any merchant trying to convert picky shoppers. Both like and unlike millennial moms, the more resources they have at their disposal, the less time they waste searching for them and delaying the moment they click buy.

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NEW PYMNTS STUDY: LEVERAGING THE DIGITAL BANKING SHIFT – SEPTEMBER 2020  

The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.

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