Toys ‘R’ Us launches a localized e-commerce site in Poland
October 16, 2014 04:04 PM
Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. announced today it has launched a localized e-commerce site for Polish shoppers at Toysrus.pl. The move builds on the toy retailer’s eight bricks-and-mortar locations in the country.
Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 34 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says it also plans to launch a mobile commerce site for Polish consumers in the coming weeks.
“We are excited to bring online and mobile-optimized shopping to our Toys ‘R’ Us customers in Poland, providing parents and gift-givers with greater access and more ways to shop with us, just in time for the holiday season,” says Fred Argir, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Toys ‘R’ Us. “The launch of this web store is an integral part of our global e-commerce growth strategy and expanding omnichannel capabilities.” Online orders will be fulfilled directly from the company’s stores in Poland, the retailer says, transforming its Poland-based stores into mini distribution centers.
Toys ‘R’ Us entered Poland in 2011 with the opening of its headquarters and first store in Warsaw. Since then, the company has opened stores in Gdańsk, Krakow, Lublin, Poznan, Rzeszów, Szczecin and Wroclaw. With the local Poland site, Toys ‘R’ Us will now operate online stores and mobile-optimized sites in 14 countries.
Online sales in Poland are growing at a rapid clip. The five Poland-based retailers in the Europe 500 retailers grew their 2013 web sales by an Internet Retailer-estimated 28.18% to reach 653.03 million euros ($827.03) compared with 509.48 million euros ($644.73) a year earlier. That’s more than any of the 13 countries the Europe 500 covers.
According to Ecommerce Europe, an umbrella organization of e-commerce associations in Europe, 2013 web sales grew 22.8% in what it deems central European countries, including Poland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany to reach 93.3 billion euros ($119.52 billion). Central Europe trailed only Eastern Europe, which grew 47.4%.
Toys ‘R’ Us announced earlier this year in its Q4 and year-end earnings call that it would invest in e-commerce, which only grew 3% in 2013. The last year was a tough one for the retailer, whose total sales declined 7.4% even as online revenue increased slightly.
“To improve the customer experience, we will optimize the e-commerce experience by capitalizing on the online shopping growth and integration with stores,” Toys ‘R’ Us U.S. president Hank Mullany said.
At the time, the retailer said part of the plan to boost e-commerce sales included offering customers more ways to shop via mobile devices, especially overseas. The retailer said it was in the process of launching updated m-commerce sites and apps in the U.S. and in Austria, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Toys ‘R’ Us also said on the call that it plans to involve its stores more directly in fulfilling web orders in order to give shoppers more selection and to move store inventory. In just three years, the percentage of web orders shipping from Toys ‘R’ Us stores has increased from 15% to 31%, says chairman Antonio Urcelay. “This approach provides growth opportunity and efficiencies in cost and inventory,” he said.
Toys ‘R’ Us is the only online retailer ranked in each of Internet Retailer’s guides, illustrating its practice to launch e-commerce sites as it moves into new markets. In addition to ranking in the Top 500 Guide, it ranks No. 161 in the Europe 500, No. 200 in the Latin America 500, No. 283 in the Asia 500 and No. 164 in the China 500.