At a special event held yesterday for retail reporters, Toys R Us revealed some of its plans for the 2013 holiday season. Richard Barry, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer, spoke about the toy giant’s plans.
“As the holiday shopping season gets underway, our seasoned leadership team is executing an aggressive plan to fortify the rightful place of Toys R Us as THE toy authority,” Mr. Barry told reporters. “Our unmatched product differentiation, unique services and value offerings continue to set us apart, and we look forward to unveiling new and exciting initiatives throughout the holiday season that consumers will appreciate – today is just a small sampling of what’s in store.”
So what exactly was unveiled?
Free Layaway Is Back (and Better!)
Layaway will be free through December 15th, a change from last year when Toys R Us layaway was free until Halloween, and subject to a $5 fee thereafter. Same as last year, there is no minimum purchase requirement. New in 2013 is the ability to put an item on layaway in-store and make payments online.
10% Back on Qualifying Purchases
Through 10/31, Rewards R Us loyalty members can earn 10% back (up to $100) on qualifying toy purchases. (What constitutes a “qualifying purchase” was not explained.) The cash back will be delivered in the form of an e-gift card that can be used in store with no exclusions. E-gift cards will arrive in November so customers can use them for holiday purchases. No word if they’ll arrive early enough to be used on Black Friday, but Black Friday is later in the month this year, on 11/29, so we’re betting they will.
Buy Online, Pickup In Store
Online purchases made at ToysRUs.com will be available for in-store pickup within an hour of the order being placed. Along these same lines, “Ship to Store” orders will be available for pickup in 5-10 days, an improvement upon the previous wait of 7-14 days. Shoppers will receive a “Ready for Pickup” email that includes directions of where to go specific to their pickup location.
Price Matching Guarantee
As we noted a few weeks ago, Toys R Us will be price matching throughout the holiday season. As is customary for most retailers, price matching will not apply on Black Friday. Price matching is for the total cost of the item including shipping, not the list price, so keep that in mind if you plan to take advantage of the program.
Extended Return Policy
Also new to 2013, returns will be accepted for holiday purchases through January 25, giving customers more time than ever to return or exchange unwanted holiday gifts.
Overall, we’re happy with the customer-friendly incentives we’re seeing from Toys R Us for the upcoming holiday season, and we expect to see similar programs announced by other major holiday retailers. Our only disappointment is that yesterday’s presentation didn’t drop any hints about Toys R Us’ 2013 Black Friday plans, but we’re keeping our eyes peeled.
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