Two large UK chains filed for administration this week, adding to the list of high-profile retail group failures that have taken place during the last decade.
A number of the usual factors have been cited in the demise of Maplin and Toys R Us, not least competition from online sellers.
In the case of Toys R Us, however, the failure was also due to the fact that the retailer seemed to have no appreciation of who their customers were and what they wanted.
Toys R Us has none of the joy or excitement that one associates with the world of play – something that thrills children and adults alike and can entice them to visit and spend money.
After all, Lego can be bought from a myriad of physical and online retailers, yet people still visit and buy from the company’s own stores in large numbers.
That’s because their stores aren’t simply stock rooms designed to do nothing more than facilitate a sale. Kids and parents can sit and build things, perhaps working with other visitors and staff members, or make something they don’t have enough bricks for at home; perhaps rediscovering the joy of creating something new and original (the biggest group of people paying at the tills comprises people aged 35 to 44, followed by those aged 25-34 and those aged 45-54).
In the face of intense competition, what are you offering that’s truly different? If the answer’s “nothing” then it’s time do something about it, in order to avoid sharing a fate with Toys R Us.