Toys “R” Us Offers Holiday Changes to Aid Shoppers

sq-black-friday-made-easyA number of Toys “R” Us stores nationwide will open at 5 p.m. on November 27 for Black Friday sales. Stores will remain open through 11 p.m. on November 28, offering doorbusters and deals on the season’s most sought-after playthings.

Beginning Thanksgiving weekend and continuing through Christmas Eve, Toys “R” Us will introduce a range of in-store and digital services designed to make holiday toy shopping less stressful. Services will include the implementation of Toys “R” Us G.P.S. (Guru for Play Stuff) store specialists, new aisle signage, digital store-specific maps, daily toy shipments, and a dedicated Express Lane at checkout.

G.P.S.’s will offer busy holiday shoppers advice on hot toys, deals, time-saving services, and incentive programs. They will be located at the front of stores beginning on Thanksgiving, and during peak traffic periods on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for the remainder of the holiday season. [Read more...]

Macy’s Holiday Arcade to Offer Toys from Build-A-Bear, Madame Alexander, Gund, and More

MacysLogoMacy’s will be introducing the Holiday Arcade, in-store gifting shops offering customers an eclectic assortment of distinctive and playful options for their holiday shopping lists. These shops will launch at six Macy’s locations between late October and mid-November:

The Holiday Arcade at five locations including Macy’s South Coast Plaza, Macy’s Union Square, Macy’s State Street, Macy’s Herald Square, and Macy’s Center City will be home to exclusive Build-A-Bear Workshop shop-in-shops. Visitors will have the opportunity to customize Build-A-Bear stuffed animals, as well as licensed products such as figures from Disney’s Frozen and Marvel’s superheroes. [Read more...]

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

Retailers Re-Focus Shipping Calendar in Preparation for Surge in Online Shopping, Reports NRF

nrfExpectations are high for a strong omnichannel holiday season, so retailers are preparing their shipping operations to avoid delivery and service hiccups, according to Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, indicates that nearly eight in 10 retailers surveyed, or roughly 78.8 percent, will set their standard shipping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery to expire at least a week before the big day. This compares to 73.7 percent last holiday season. In addition, approximately 21.2 percent will set their standard shipping deadlines to expire on December 19 or later, compared to 26.3 percent last year.

Of the 92.3 percent of retailers polled that plan to offer free standard shipping of some sort this holiday season, 69.1 percent said their guarantee for Christmas delivery will expire on or before December 19. Nearly three quarters of retailers polled last year, or 74.2 percent, had a deadline on the equivalent day; in this case, December 20. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us to Hire 45,000 for Holiday Shopping Season

toysrusToys “R” Us will hire 45,000 seasonal employees at its stores and distribution centers nationwide, more than doubling the company’s workforce as it prepares for the busy holiday shopping months ahead. These seasonal positions will include sales associates, stock crew and omnichannel fulfillment teams, as well as distribution center workers and department managers.

Interviewing for holiday positions at Toys “R” Us stores begins at the end of this month, and new hires start working in early October. Staffing continues to build throughout the holiday season right up to Christmas. Seasonal store employees typically work 16 to 20 hours per week with flexible schedules offered during the week, weeknights, or weekends. Employment opportunities are also available at the company’s distribution centers nationwide, which began hiring in July and will continue through November.

Job seekers can visit www.toysrusinc.com/careers/holiday to apply and learn more about working at Toys “R” Us during the holiday season.

Toy Insider Experts Name Top Holiday Toys in Their Hot 20 and Top Tech 12 Lists

The Toy Insider logoThe Toy Insider has announced its Hot 20 and Top Tech 12 holiday toy lists, giving gift-givers a sneak peek at the must-have traditional and high-tech toys this holiday season. From Doc McStuffins to Elmo, Lego Fusion to LeapTV, each list includes top picks for kids of all ages. Covering a variety of play patterns, including classic toys and high-tech options, the Toy Insider gives parents and gift-givers a head start on finding toys for the holidays.

The Hot 20 and the Top Tech 12 are the kick-off sections of the Toy Insider holiday gift guide, which will appear in the November issue of Woman’s Day magazine, as well as www.toyinsider.com. The guide is broken down by age group (0-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9+) with in-depth descriptions and a unique skill key of developmental needs and interests for each toy.

Toys “R” Us Reveals Plans, Programs for Holiday Season

toysrus

Toys “R” Us unveiled its plans for the upcoming holiday season. The company will launch a new Rewards “R” Us program for its more than 18 million existing Rewards “R” Us members, and those who sign up in-store or online at toysrus.com/myrewards, who are now able to earn more rewards.

The complimentary Rewards “R” Us program enables members to earn one point per dollar spent at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us locations; for every $125 spent, Rewards “R” Us members receive $5 in “R” Us Rewards. Rewards “R” Us members who are also “R” Us credit cardholders earn two points per dollar spent in-store or online at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us—for a total of $10 for every $125 they spend. In addition, they can enjoy special financing and partake in 10 percent off Thursdays at any “R” Us location.

Toys “R” Us will also introduce online layaway, giving customers the ability to create layaway orders at toysrus.com and babiesrus.com, make subsequent payments either in-store or online, and pick up their order at a local store or have it delivered to their home. [Read more...]

Exclusive SpongeBob SquarePants Plush Available at Macy’s this Holiday Season

MacysSpongeBobSpongeBob SquarePants will serve as Macy’s 2014 Holiday Ambassador, according to Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon. Kicking off this November, an exclusive SpongeBob talking plush with sound chip and Patrick and Plankton finger puppets will be available exclusively in more than 600 full line Macy’s stores and at macys.com, as part of the Macy’s collectible plush program that runs through December 31.

The holiday plush has become a Macy’s tradition and a coveted collector’s item. The SpongeBob SquarePants plush features SpongeBob’s laugh, as well as quotes such as, “Did you know you were my best friend?” and “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”

Razor Crazy Cart Rides High During Christmas Holiday

Razor USA LLC is set to race past expectations for its Razor Crazy Cart. According to the company, sales of the electric ride on have increased 14-times in four weeks, placing it among the top selling items this season.

The Crazy Cart became a viral hit last summer, and has since topped several hot holiday toy lists. Leading up to Christmas, Razor released a new YouTube video, Santa Claus vs. the Magic Christmas Gift, a music parody starring Santa Claus.

The Crazy Cart was dreamed up by Ali Kermani, a Razor employee who developed it as part of his MBA thesis at UCLA. Product features include variable speed foot pedal acceleration with speeds up to 12 mph, a drift bar allowing drivers to completely control drifts and spins, and 360-degree steering capability.

COMMENTARY: The (Other!) Reason for the Season

While I understand and respect that the holiday season has religious roots, toys, gifts, and giving have become a huge part of American tradition—and I don’t think this is such a bad thing. As frustrating as it can be to deal with 600 impossible twist ties and Hefty bags full of plastic packaging on Christmas morning, toys bring families together. After mom and dad (or in this case, Aunt Marissa!) get to see their elated kids (or super adorable nieces and nephew!) open exactly what they’ve wanted all year long, the first thing they want to do is start playing.

Courtney (8), Aunt Marissa, Matthew (5), and our pal Stomper!

Courtney (8), Aunt Marissa, Matthew (5), and our pal Stomper!

My niece Courtney can’t even get through unwrapping her mountain of presents before saying “Can I open this one?!” And that’s where the fun comes in: When Dad arrives wielding his trusty screwdriver and a Tupperware container full of batteries (and this super awesome plastic package ripper thingy that if you don’t have you need to go out and buy RIGHT now!), Mom stands by tossing wrapping paper into garbage bags (and putting everyone’s coffee mugs on coasters, thanks Mom!), and there I sit cross-legged on the floor, instruction booklet diligently in hand, reading glasses securely fastened. Even if Santa gets all of the Christmas glory, it’s the gift-givers who get the toy out of the package, insert the batteries, and help teach kids how to play. It’s the gift-givers who get to see the excitement on their kids’ faces, who get the big fat thank you hug, and who get to watch kids enjoy their Christmas prizes. It’s really just one giant bonding experience (with maybe a few “how do you turn the damn thing on?!” and “It’s like they don’t WANT you to open it!” comments thrown in between all of the sap-fest family time). [Read more...]