Pay Attention When Opportunities Knock

You have to pay attention when opportunities knock on your door, and if you don’t, you may not have a door much longer. In stories about Toys ‘R’ Us going out of business in the US, I kept reading about the impact of Amazon, Wal-Mart, and a crushing debt load. If what I saw this weekend reflects how they sold toys, though, I may have found another reason.

At a Toys ‘R’ Us in Manila (we still have them here) I was looking for a limited edition Chinese New Year LEGO set. All I found was a small collection of LEGO kits, 40-60% off, far away from the main entrance.

LEGO on clearance


Why was this surprising? Well, because down the hall at the cineplex, “The LEGO Movie 2” had just opened, essentially a 107-minute commercial for LEGO. Perhaps their toys could have been placed at the front of the store, and maybe they could have ordered inventory related to the movie. They might have even partnered with the theater, having Toys ‘R’ Us employees there when the movie let out, or selling movie passes back at the toy store. Instead, they seemed to be ignoring the opportunity to easily promote their products.

If you want to succeed, you need to look for opportunities, especially easy ones. Don’t feel like you have to do this yourself; your employees have eyes and ears, and they may be better connected to parts of your market than you are. Of course, you have to be willing to listen to your employees, and they have to be wiling to speak up, but that’s another issue for another time.

Maybe this kind of indifference was unique to this particular store, but if this is indicative of what was going on across the chain in the US, I think I know one reason they are gone.