Toys R Us, the nation’s largest toy retailer, is rolling out an augmented reality (AR) mobile app for smart devices, according to news from Chain Store Age. The application was tested in 23 locations earlier this month.
Back in September, the company filed for bankruptcy in the hopes that it would be able to restructure its more than $5 billion in debt. Much of that debt came as a result of a $7.5 billion buyout by equity investors KKR, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust in 2005.
In October, the toy retailer announced a partnership with global marketplace solutions provider Mirakl to develop a new online marketplace. The AR mobile app, called Play Chaser, is likely part of Toys R Us’ efforts to become more digital.
The app, which was developed with Toys R Us partner PlayFusion, offers multiple AR games on a user’s tablet or smartphone, Chain Store Age stated. Play Chaser is activated by scanning access points throughout the retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations. A scan point at store entrances presents users with a virtual Toys R Us store mascot, who welcomes customers before sending them toward other access points. More activities and AR games are unlocked as users venture further into the store.
According to Chain Store Age, Toys R Us reported that “thousands of kids” used the app to experience the various activities it offers. Play Chaser, now being deployed nationwide, includes more than ten possible experiences, the toy retailer said.
“We know consumers want more than just a place to shop — they want experiences — and at Toys R Us, they want to play,” said Richard Barry, global chief merchandising officer, Toys R Us and Babies R Us. “With Play Chaser, we’re transforming shopping into something beyond just the products we sell, bringing our stores to life with interactive, unique content that will resonate with customers and importantly the players — kids.”