In an earlier post, Spencer Brenneman President and Chief Brand Strategist Douglas Spencer made the claim that Toys R Us had no business selling toys.
He claimed that if Toys R Us had seen themselves in the role of selling playtime (making toy buying a branded experience, not a transaction) they would have found themselves in a different situation than they are in today.
Consequentially, an interesting development is taking place down in New York City. Where Toys R Us failed, a new (but old and well-known) toy brand is making a comeback.
In a post by Business Insider, they claim that the new FAO Schwarz location can capture the magic of its former parent company, Toys R Us. The new store will be a branded experience, “…featuring FAO’s iconic life-size piano, magic shows, a baby adoption center, a grocery shopping area for kids, and a station to construct a remote-controlled car.”
What FAO Schwarz is doing is something that Toys R Us failed to do, making people care about their toy brand while being relevant and competitively differentiated from other available options.
With the rise of ecommerce and online shopping, their toy brand needs ways to distinguish themselves and make people engaged in what they are doing. While online shopping offers a form of convenience, FAO is making it more than that.
By making toy buying a branded experience, the company is recapturing the magic that Toys R Us failed to do. What other places can you experience a magic show, while purchasing toys? Certainly not from Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
And while doing this does not guarantee them success over the competition, it makes their toy brand distinguished from the noise of ecommerce.
— Ryan Kelley, Brand Strategy Account Coordinator