Toy Story Still Unraveling For Click-And-Mortars



The Internet retail sites of some brick-and-mortar toy stores such as KB Toys and Toys "R" Us are still no match for online-only sites such as Amazon.com, eToys, and Smarterkids.com, according to a new Forrester Research survey.

Forrester's PowerRanking survey, which queried 19,000 consumers about their experiences shopping for toys and games online, found the online stores of the traditional retailers lacking. Specifically, they said the click-and-mortars lacked product information and recommendations, and had poor inventory or shipping management. Consumers found that KBkids.com provided quick E-mail responses, but fell short on order tracking. Toys "R" Us also had strong ratings in customer service, but consumers said its site lacked customer reviews and had unreliable shipping.

Consumers favored Amazon.com, Smarterkids.com, and eToys, saying they were easy to navigate and provided useful features, such as product information on the suitability of a given toy for a child. Consumers said they also appreciated being able to access product availability information at the retailers' sites.

Forrester analyst Tom Rhinelander says the traditional companies should take advantage of Toysmart.com's failure by hiring its skilled employees. "A toy seller like Toys "R" Us could scoop up former Toysmart.com developers and executives," he says. "These experienced employees could help a laggard site improve navigation and integrate popular features."

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