Toy brands and retailers LEGO, Toys R Us, Target and Hasbro Star Wars have all recently used advanced technologies such as augmented reality to enhance the in-store retail experience. I've provided case studies on these initiatives below, with as much data on each campaign's success as was publicly available; due to the very recent nature of some of these initiatives, no sales data is yet available. Moreover, I've provided clarification on some source dates from the previous response. You'll find a deep dive of my research below.
This Danish toy company has implemented augmented reality technology in retail stores in recent years. In one AR experience, called LEGO Digital Box, in-store customers could hold a screen up to a LEGO box to see a 3D depiction of the LEGO model in the box. In addition, LEGO and Trigger created an in-store AR mobile app, called LEGO In-Store Action. Using this app brings the in-store experience to life for customers, by bringing posters and displays to life, and allowing customers to take AR photos and videos with the AR characters in the store. The app is usable at LEGO stores, Target, Toys R Us, and other retailers. The app has 1-5 million downloads on Google Play, as well as a 4-star rating.
TOYS R US
This international toy store has also used augmented reality to enhance the in-store experience for customers. Last spring, Toys R Us hosted an AR Easter Egg hunt in its 34 Australian stores. This campaign "was successful in driving in-store traffic, generating 15,000 activations, and gaining tons of exposure through several media outlets." In addition, the company launched an AR mobile app to enhance the in-store experience, known as Play Chaser. The app unlocks AR activities at various stations throughout the store; "In the baby doll aisle, for instance, a cooing, virtual version of a doll on the shelf can be adopted, given a name, and even have its dirty diaper changed. in the basketball station, kids can sweep a ball into the hoop with a swipe of the screen, and compare their scores with others on a leaderboard." The app is gamified, as well, as customers can collect stars, which they can then use to unlock more activities. The app is part of the company's efforts to reinvigorate its business, which is suffering financially. So far, the Play Chaser app has 100,000-500,000 Google Play downloads and a 4-star rating.
This retailer used gamification to drive in-store retail sales of children's toys during the holiday season. Target created a "Holiday Wish" app, enabling children to create a holiday wish list using a 3D animated game experience, and send their list to Santa Claus. Parents could then use this app for their in-store shopping in Target. The app generated nearly 75,000 downloads. Over 100,000 wish lists were created, 61% of users used the app multiple times a week, and the app generated over a million page visits to Target.com. "Over the course of six weeks from app launch to the close of the holiday season, nearly 1.7 million total items were added to Target guest wish lists, for a total sales potential of $92.3 million."
In September, Star Wars hosted Force Friday, a merchandising event for the launch of a new line of official Star Wars merchandise. During this event, the brand created an augmented reality experience called "Find the Force". This feature, added to the official Star Wars mobile app, enabled fans to seek out their favorite characters in retail stores. Participating retailers included Disney, Toys R Us, Best Buy, LEGO, and more, with a total of over 20,000 participating retail locations worldwide. "Find the Force" was an AR treasure hunt: by finding AR Star Wars characters in stores, players would collect data chips, and ultimately collect all 15 characters. According to this source and this source, the initiative successfully drove shoppers to stores, generated customer excitement, and promoted merchandise sales. In fact, Hasbro reported that Star Wars merchandise sales were up in Q3 of 2017, corresponding with the event, which the company credits to "robust global retail support of Star Wars: The Last Jedi merchandise" released during the event.
Below, I've briefly listed the source/study dates for any statistics from the previous response for which the date was not provided in the write-up, for your quick reference. "85% of Millennial parents say that they use mobile devices while shopping to check reviews and deals for products. 66% of mothers and 49% of fathers report that their number one priority when utilizing mobile devices for shopping is to find a deal. 40% of these same moms and 22% of these dads further claim that they will only shop with mobile coupons/deals. Whenever deals are present, 76% of mothers and 64% of fathers say that they will definitely make a purchase in-store with the mobile deal." " In a study that included 200 parents from the United Kingdom, participants were asked to determine whether a traditional ad or an AR experience for a children's toy was more persuasive. The total time that participants spent with the traditional ad amounted to 12 seconds, compared with 83 seconds for the augmented reality ad (691% increase). Afterwards, participants were asked whether they would consider purchasing the toy. 45% of parents that viewed the traditional ad mentioned that they would buy the toy, while 74% of parents that interacted with the AR ad said they would as well (164% increase). "
I hope that helps to clarify the dates. Based on my assessment of the write-up, all of the other stats have source dates referenced in-text.
To wrap up, I've provided case studies on in-store use of technology from toy brands Toys R Us, LEGO, Target, and Star Wars. In addition, I've clarified the source dates for some of the statistics from the previous response.
Technology Applied to Toy Purchasing
In completing this request, we first examined who makes purchase decisions for toys and games, then we looked at what media most influenced children and where and how the purchase is completed. Finally, we researched on how technology is applied in the entire process.
This 2016 report shows that although parents pay for the products, 85% of the time, children decide what toys to buy and the parents will go by their wishes. Since the technology children aged 0-8 are most exposed to the most is television, this is the media that most influences their choice of what to buy. However, when it is time to make purchase decisions, parents will read reviews online and seek product information before they buy. They buy either online or in-store. For those who buy in-store, they will compare prices 54% of the time and also search for coupons or discounts with their mobile phones before they make a purchase as shown in this 2017 report. They may also use their mobile phones to access retailer app.
WHAT INFLUENCES TOYS SHOPPED
Children’s purchase decisions are being engineered by exposure. In this 2016 survey, 75% of US parents say they expose their children under 6 years to technology (TV, Computers and smartphones) about 2 hours every day. We can understand why TV advertising is playing a big role in determining what toys children should buy. In 2016, parents said 85% of the time they will bow to their children’s wishes and wants for toy purchase decisions.
This 2017 study shows that children aged 0-8 are exposed to 2hours and 13 minutes of TV, DVD/Video, Mobile and computer use every day. The breakdown by age group for mobile device/television use is shown below:
1. 0-2 — 7 minutes
2. 2–4–58 minutes
3. 5-8–1hr 2 minutes.
1. 0-2 — 29 minutes
2. 2–4–1hour 9 minutes
3. 5-8–1hour 4 minutes.
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS APPLIED IN PURCHASES
Consumers make purchases online or in-store. The technologies they interact with depend on what type of purchase they are making. A 2017 research shows that 68% of those purchasing video games, will read reviews, research online but only 60% will buy online. While just 16% will research in-store, 28% will make a purchase.
For toys, the same 2017 report says 45% of the shoppers surveyed research online and then 39% make purchases. 26% research in-store while 37% make actual purchases.
Based on the above statistic, we can see that more persons make purchases of toys and games in-store than they do online. The technologies they will use in-store are those available on their smartphones.
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE ON IN-STORE PURCHASES
After mentioning how children influence toy purchases, the earlier quoted 2016 survey says price promotions/sales and Ratings/reviews also influence buying. This data further corroborates with research on how people use technology during in-store purchases.
As shown by this 2017 report, while in-store, customers interact with technology on their smartphones. Technology is applied in-store as follows:
1. Read reviews and research product information–58%
2. Comparing Prices — 54%
3. Find and download coupons — 40%
4. Access retailer app–33%
5. Scan QR Code–22%
Knowledge of this behavior of shoppers has led retailers to respond with the technology that will bring shoppers into their stores or, sometimes, to specific aisles in the store. For example, using Wi-Fi, geolocation and beacon technology retailers can tell when consumers are nearby and send them notifications of where to shop and what they can shop for. Some stores also make it possible to pay via smartphone.
To wrap up, technology plays a role at each stage of the purchase circle. Whether the toy/game will be bought online or in-store, the process begins with research. Customers read reviews and then sometimes go in-store to check out discounts before they make a purchase. While they are in the store, they still use their phones to compare prices, look out for coupons to download, scan QR code or access retailer app.