by Tina Manzer
Last summer, Macy’s announced a new partnership with WHP Global, the parent company of Toys “R” Us, with plans to roll out the toy brand’s shopping experience in more than 400 Macy’s stores nationwide. This July, the in-store shops began popping up and will continue to do so through October.
They range in size from 1,000 to 10,000 square feet for flagship locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Some of them may expand an extra 500 to 3,000 square feet during the holiday season. To celebrate their openings, all Macy’s stores will host nine days of instore events, beginning October 15 through October 23, which will include family friendly activities and daily giveaways from brands like Barbie and LEGO.
Rather than offer shoppers a temporary taste of the new Toys “R” Us – as the brand’s pop-up efforts have done in the past – the stores-within-stores are destined to become permanent.
“The Toys “R” Us brand will come to life in-store with playful colored fixtures, as well as hands-on demonstration tables for patrons to interact with various toy assortments,” says a Macy’s press release. “The shops will also feature a life-sized ‘Geoffrey on a Bench” photo opportunity for families.
An experience like a photo op is the backbone of a successful pop-up, says Medallion Retail, a marketing agency specializing in in-store signage, display and shopper experience programs. “Retail pop-ups are a non-passive approach in connecting with consumers; taking brands and retailers directly to the shopper in ways and communities that no one single store could ever hope to achieve,” read a Medallion blog post last year. “Pop-up retail was and is the springboard of experiential retail – executable and realistic, even for those new to the game.”
“Through 2017 on into early 2020, retail pop-up was on a mega ride, fanning out to consumers in activations that were as unique as they were engaging,” the post continued. “We marveled at the depth of imagination that some of these entities displayed to give shoppers a memorable and brand-bonding experience.
“And then came COVID.”
As we all experienced, online shopping became the norm by necessity. More and more people became caught up in the new product offerings they were exposed to online and through social media. After acquiring a taste for unique and independent brands, they’re looking for similar products as they return to brick-and-mortar, says Medallion.
“Pop-up retail once again may be the answer. It allows for a nimble, unique and memorable approach in engaging with consumers and promoting brand recognition,” it adds.
Toys “R” Us is no match for our specialty toy retail stores that strive to do the same.