USA Today reports that “two weeks after filing for bankruptcy protection,” Toys R Us “is debuting an augmented reality experience that it hopes will help reinvigorate its stores and make them destinations for shoppers who might otherwise choose to shop online.” The AR installations are scheduled to go live in 23 stores today, and then nationwide in three weeks.

CEO Dave Brandon says that the AR initiative was in the planning stages long before the bankruptcy filing, and that “it's going to transform the experience of coming into a Toys R Us bricks and mortar store and turn it into something that’s quite different and a lot more fun. We believe that’s going to drive a lot more traffic into our stores which will ultimately put us in a position where we can be more successful at growing our sales and our company.’’

At the same time, Toys R Us said it plans to launch a new online store sometime next year that will allow it “to increase its product selection and decrease time to market for new merchandise.”

KC's View: Augmented reality installations? Good idea.

Better online experience? What took you so long?

I’m not sure that the AR installations are enough to change the game for Toys R Us, but even I - someone who generally finds that the Toys R Us experience makes my skin crawl - might visit one just to see what it is all about. That’s step one … but it is the beginning of creating a better store experience, not the end.