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Dawson Andrews

an independent digital product firm

Monday 01 January 1900

The $11.5bn Digital Comeback of the Decade

Rebuilding and Redesigning the Toys“R”Us Inc. eCommerce Website.

Every Story Needs a Superhero

Toys“R”Us Inc. operates across 1500+ stores in 37 countries, 12 of which have an eCommerce store. Globally the company’s revenues exceed $11.5Bn of which approximately $1.5Bn is derived online.

They were ahead of the curve as one of the first major retailers to adopt eCommerce in 1996. Despite the head start, the worlds largest toy company soon got left behind rivals Walmart and Amazon. After being on the NYSE for decades, Toys“R”Us Inc. was taken private in 2005 in a $6.6Bn leveraged buyout by Bain Capital & KKR.

In September 2017 Toys“R”Us Inc. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, (a status they currently hold); the third-largest retail bankruptcy in U.S. history crumbling under a $5.5Bn debt burden.

We are working with them as a digital partner as they bolster eCommerce as a revenue stream and prepare to exit their Chapter 11 Bankruptcy process in time for the 2018 holiday season.

Dawson Andrews builds and designs digital products from three offices in Belfast and Sydney.

  • Product Team

  • Product Management
  • Product Strategy
  • User Experience & Interface Design
  • UI/Front-End Development
  • Conversion Rate/Revenue Optimisation
  • Usability Testing
  • Project Scope

  • Redesign with a particular focus on the mobile experience.
  • Build front-end to be responsive and thus removing the dedicated mobile site.
  • Integrate to Oracle ATG.
  • Primary focus; ‘Path to Product’, ‘Cart’ and ‘Checkout’
  • Key Factors

  • Mobile: Mobile traffic was 70%+ and accounted for 50% of total revenue. However, a recent re-platforming to Oracle ATG saw the conversion rate struggling.
  • UX: The entire user experience was out-dated and we figured we could kill a lot of birds with one stone in a design overhaul.
  • Performance: Site was clunky and slow with poor page weight and speeds.
  • Time to market: It’s Feb 2017, Christmas (40% of annual takings in a few weeks) is coming and the geese are getting fat.

Going Responsive

Victor Ortiz, VP of Digital Product at Toys“R”Us Inc. got in touch with Dawson Andrews in early 2017 looking for a digital partner. The initial project would be to start in the UK and redesign and rebuild the site responsively. We had a seven month window to improve the product as fast as we could before the Christmas season - we had to pick our battles wisely. Driving financial results from bettering a digital product experience was our forte.

Developing and releasing a new site in iterations for the most part is the way we prefer to work but the implications of going responsive meant we had to bite the bullet and go for a ‘big bang release’ - a huge no-no (particularly from security & QA). Other unknowns included the SEO impact particularly if there was a change to URL structures when taking away the dedicated mobile and tablet sites.

Designing a Truly Global Pattern Library

We had to take into consideration that this UI/UX would be altered slightly to serve other European markets such as France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Poland. When designing at scale and managing 100,000-400,000 SKU’s, one size doesn’t fit all. They are different markets after all but we wanted to ensure the UX and UI could be shared across different markets if appropriate and cater for language and localisation.

Product Cards

Product Cards were the design iteration that provided the breakthrough to facilitate the responsive move. We needed a way of displaying products all across the site that didn’t require consistent iteration of the basic building blocks. They needed to be able to live in changing pages and across multiple regions (languages); particularly Homepage, PLP (Product Listing Page) and as related items on a PDP (Product Display Page).


Dawson Andrews has helped modernise the front-end tool-belt to streamline front-end work-flow, increase code quality and maintainability. We have actively been working on front-end performance to decrease page weight and increase browser page load speed, all of which add to the faster-perceived performance for the end user which correlates to a higher conversion rate.

As part of the responsive rebuild we completely restructured Toys“R”Us Inc’s existing front-end framework. Much of the new design's HTML, JS & CSS was initially prototyped offline in a clean build before being layered into Toys“R”Us Inc’s existing ATG/JSP framework.

We broke the workload into sprints based on the main areas of the website: Homepage, Product Listing pages, Product Detail pages, Cart/Basket, Checkout, and Utility pages. At the end of each sprint a fresh release was pushed to the QA environment so that the QA team could review whilst work on the next sprint got underway. This kept the momentum of the project moving forward, identifying issues along the way and adjusting time-lines accordingly.

We ask our clients to select key performance goals and collaborate directly with us in an intense process of iterative design, rapid prototyping, development, and ongoing optimisation.


After the launch of the new responsive site we were keen to get A/B testing underway as soon as possible to help push the Conversion Rate Optimisation project that was happening internally. We helped the team install and set up Adobe Test & Target, ensuring that the tool's required property tags were in place on the website and setting up MBOX code snippets to enable the tracking of revenue and various other conversion metrics.


Overall Conversion Rate Increase


Mobile Conversion Rate Increase


Overall Revenue Increase

DA x Toys R Us

The following case study is limited to the original responsive design & build project operation we were initially commissioned for. Since December 2017 we have started an additional Loyalty and Gold Card build, UI Implementation for France & Iberia and a responsive project in the US as on of the digital partners for Toys“R”Us inc. in 2018.

Contact Us

We are happy to have a chat with you if you are interested in learning more about our rebuild and redesign of Toys“R”Us Inc’s ecommerce website.

Contact Andrew