February 22, 2008

Podcast of Toys R Us Interview

Finally found some spare time to edit and post the interview with Argha Sen, our guest at the last social mixer (V9.0).

Even though Argha is somewhat of a digital migrant, in his role as Head of Marketing & CRM for Toys R Us Asia, he has to deal with the harsh realities of selling products via physical outlets. In the digital arena, he therefore focuses his marketing activities on enticing customers back to the shops using targeted email offerings, and enhancing their in-store experiences with interactive touch screens and dance pads. RFID tags, 2D bar codes and Blue Tooth are being tested, but it all comes down to "what the customer wants".

Overall, Argha admits that Toys R Us has "just about scratched the surface with internet marketing" but feels that they are "advanced compared to other Hong Kong retailers". His predictions for the future of selling toys are "interactive, educational, electronic (i.e. battery operated) and 'back to basics' (as shown by the resurgence of the Rubik's Cube and Monopoly Here and Now)".

You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the play button below:

powered by ODEO

NB: All our previous interviews are available on our audio channel, Palava Podcasts, on Odeo.

We had two good questions from the floor:

  • Jeremy Woolf, Managing Partner of Text100, "Will Toys R Us engage consumers via virtual worlds like Disney's Club Penguin?"
  • Kinzie, founder of HeartBeat and respond123, "Are you not concerned that push emails will encourage consumers to purchase their toys online via other websites, especially in large countries like China where distance matters?"

And we mustn't forget Jay Oatway's Lifestream posted from his HTC mobile phone live from the event. "Oh My God! They are Hugging Giraffes!"

On his blog, Psychobserver, Nicolas Lassus felt that Argha was very much in contrast to the typical web 2.0 start-up mentality in that "his approach was show me the money, show me the numbers that supports me getting into that Web stuff and then I will think about it. Obviously the audience at Web Wednesday was not expecting this...but reality checks are always good".

Do sign up here for the next event, social mixer v10.0, on 5th March.

For those of you reluctant to join Facebook (too shy to admit it still, Michael?), I've set up a group on Flickr for us to share photos of the event and anything we find interesting to the Web Wednesday community.

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