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Babies “R” Us builds omnichannel prowess with print-to-Web mobile app

March 27, 2014

The Babies "R" Us catalog app

Toys “R” Us continues to make mobile a key part of its omnichannel shopping experience with a new mobile application that makes it easy for parents to engage with the Babies “R” Us print catalog to find out more about specific products and purchase items directly from its Web site.

By giving users a way to discover new products with just a few taps or via scanning from the smartphones, Babies “R” Us hopes to drive more traffic to its Web site. The Babies “R” Us Catalogue app is available in Canada, with features including the ability to view product descriptions, reviews and videos.

“Moms, like many Canadian shoppers, pull out their mobile phone before they pull out their wallet,” said Mohamed Kahlain, vice president of shopper marketing network at TC Media, Montreal. “Furthermore, mobile, for moms who are very community-oriented, provides them with access to this community in real-time.

“Decisions regarding the well-being of a child are highly involved, so the more information that a retailer can provide to their customers, the better,” he said.

“This is an example of value-added content that permits retailers to move away from exclusively based competitive drivers.”

Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us in Canada are a division of Toys “R” Us Inc.  In Canada, the company operates nearly 70 stores across the country.

The retailer worked with TC Media to develop the mobile effort.

Companion tool
Once customers have downloaded the app and opened it on their smartphone, they can use it to scan icons that appear throughout the Babies “R” Us catalog to learn more about products.

Users hold their device over any product that features the icon to see additional content.

The app also redirects consumers to the ecommerce site to complete purchases online.

Other features include a “find store” icon, which can pan a mobile device 360 degrees, with the closest Babies “R” Us locations popping up.

“Mobile is a great companion tool that is always on and always with,” said Ashok Saini, vice president of operations, efficiencies and technology promotional content solutions at TC Media. “As such, it transforms and quite literally augments various media – in this case print.

“This solution developed in conjunction with Toys “R” Us provides additional content such as video to help inform the audience of the features and benefits,” he said. “It is a great consumer oriented experience that demonstrates the ability for ‘traditional’ and digital to work together.”

Engaged shoppers
Toys “R” Us continues to fine-tune its mobile strategy as it looks to reach shoppers with added convenience and services.

For example, the retailer recently streamlined the coupon redemption process with a mobile advertising campaign that directly integrated Apple’s Passbook so consumers can easily save a limited-time offer (see story).

During the 2013 holiday season, Toys “R” Us ran voice-recognition mobile ads that asked consumers to answer questions about the child for whom they were shopping, and Toys “R” Us recommending a gift and directing them to the mobile-optimized product page (see story).

While mobile ads help Toys “R” Us to get in front of a broader audience, the new mobile app for one of its catalogs is more geared towards meeting the needs of loyal shoppers.

“Generally speaking an app is typically reserved for the more engaged shoppers,” Mr. Kahlain said. “If a retailer values loyalty and advocacy then an app serves as a vital touch point to reach, engage and foster deep meaningful relationships.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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