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Toys R Us ramps up mobile holiday efforts via foursquare, shopkick promotion

Toys R Us is giving mobile shoppers different ways to save during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend via promotions with foursquare and shopkick.

The Thanksgiving promotions are part of a bigger push by Toys R Us into mobile marketing over the holidays that also includes giving shoppers the ability to pay via Google Wallet and to check product availability using eBay’s Milo and RedLaser apps. Toys R Us’ holiday mobile strategy builds on its efforts in mobile to date, which include applications for smartphones and tablets.

“Mobile commerce is our fastest growing channel of consumer engagement, as shoppers increasingly use their smartphones to research gifts, get product reviews, compare prices, check availability of an item at a local store, save money with deals and pay for their purchases,” said Katie Reczek, spokeswoman for Toys R Us, Wayne, NJ. “Making Toys R Us available to them however and whenever they choose to shop continues to be a priority for the company both during the holiday season and beyond.”

Geoffrey Holiday Badge
Shoppers who check-in at a Toys R Us store via foursquare on Nov. 24 and 25 will receive the Geoffrey Holiday Badge, which can be redeemed for 15 percent off a purchase of $150 or more between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.

The foursquare promotion also includes Super Swarm deals, which are unlocked when 15 people or more check in at the same Toys R Us location within a 3-hour timeframe on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. For the Super Swarm deals, customers can choose one of several different offers for items found in the store.

Shopkick users visiting participating Toys R Us stores from Nov. 24 to Nov. 26 can earn 500 kicks, and a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $100 or more that can be used the following week.

The partnership with shopkick reaches into approximately 100 Toys R Us stores in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Toys R Us is also rolling out new functionality to its iPhone and Android apps that will enable users to look up a child’s Toys R Us Wish List via the app.

The smartphone apps will also get a version of the Toys R Us Gift Finder that is currently accessible on and the retailer’s iPad app. The Gift Finder asks shoppers a series of questions about the child they are shopping for and provides gift suggestions.

The new smartphone features will be available by the end of November.

Partnerships with eBay and Google Wallet are also part of Toys R Us’ mobile holiday marketing strategy.

Through the eBay partnership, shoppers can use the use free mobile apps Milo and RedLaser to check the availability of a specific product they are looking for at a local Toys R US store. Using the RedLaser app for iPhone, customers can pay for an item within the app and pick it up at a nearby Toys R Us store.

Additionally, shoppers at approximately 200 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in major metro areas can use their phones to pay for their purchases using Google Wallet and tapping their phone at the point of sale.

Mobilizing print
The toy retailer’s mobile efforts for the holidays extend into QR codes, which are featured in this year’s The Great Big Toys R Us Book holiday toy catalog.

In the two weeks following the introduction of the catalog, the four product-specific QR codes were scanned tens of thousands of times, according to Toys R Us.

QR codes also appear on in-store signage and on product packaging to showcase product demos or provide additional information.

Toys R Us also offers a mobile messaging program, giving shoppers a chance to opt-in to receive deals and special offers.

Rounding out the toy retailer’s mobile strategy is the availability of coupon barcode scanners at stores, enabling store associated to scan customers’ mobile email coupons straight from their mobile devices.

Additionally, shoppers can pay for their purchases using their mobile devices with Toys R Us and Babies R Us eGift Cards.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York