Experience Co-Creation in Retail Build-A-Bear Workshop Case Study March 2006 [email_address] Francis J. Gouillart The Experience Co-Creation Partnership 100 Main Street, Suite 130 Concord, MA 01742 Mobile: +1 781 888 0186 The enclosed material is proprietary to the ECC Partnership and is for the internal use of the addressee only.
Build-A-Bear Workshop Is A Highly Successful, Innovative Retailer Source: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006
Stores Sell Stuffed Animals That Kids Design and Build In-Store Source: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006
Stores Create Unique, Interactive Retail Entertainment Experiences Source: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006
The Chief Executive Bear Source: http://www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200402/20040225/tows_slide_20040225_01.jhtml Maxine Clark Chairman & Chief Executive Bear Build-A-Bear is the brainchild of Maxine Clark, who is known as “Chief Executive Bear.” She says the idea for the stores came to her when she was shopping for Beanie Babies with a 10-year-old friend. “I had been in the retail business for many years,” she says. “I felt it had gotten boring and I wanted to put the fun back in. What better way to appeal to children, and the heart of a child that's inside all of us?”
Build-A-Bear Workshop Has A Successful Track Record Of New Store Growth Source: Annual Shareholder’s Meeting Presentation May 2005
And Its Store Model Drives Superior Sales Per Square Foot Source: Company Investor Update, March 2006
As Well as High Gross Margin and Expense Leverage Source: Company Investor Update, March 2006
The Build-A-Bear Workshop Store Consists of A Series of Fun, Fully-Interactive Bear-Making Stations Where Guests Create Their Own Stuffed Animals Source: Build-A-Bear fact sheet, and St. Louis Commerce Magazine Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process In Build-A-Bear Workshop’s stuffed animal-making assembly line, guests select the furry animal they want to make, choose the sound the creature will utter and then stuff, stitch, fluff, name, and dress their new friends. The entire process takes approximately 20 minutes.
Guests First Choose They Type of Stuffed Animal They Want To Make at the Choose Me ™ Station Sources: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and www.laughingplace.com CHOOSE ME ™ At Choose Me, Guests are introduced to all the furry characters in the store and select one, which soon becomes their new furry friend. Depending on the season, there are typically between 30-35 varieties of stuffed animals including teddy bears, bunnies, dogs, kitties, a frog, or a pony as well as Beary limited™ edition collectibear® friends. Build-A-Bear Workshop stuffed animals are very affordable, ranging in price from $10- $25. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process
Next, They Select A Sound For Their Bear at the Hear Me ™ Station HEAR ME™ At Hear Me , Guests may select from several sound choices to place inside their stuffed animal to further personalize their new friend. The sound chip is inserted safely inside the new friend during the stuffing process. Guests can record their own 12-second Build-A-Sound® message for $8. Pre-recorded sounds include giggles, growls, barks, meows and other animal sounds, as well as messages such as “I Love You” or songs like “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” Single sounds are $3, and a six-in-one sound is $5. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process Sources: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and http://www.stlcommercemagazine.com/archives/april2000/cover.html
The Next Step In the Process Involves Bear-Stuffing at the Stuff Me ™ Station Including Putting Hearts Inside Stitch Me™ STUFF ME ™ and HEART STUFF At Stuff Me, with the help of master Bear Builder sm associates, Guests fill the new friend with stuffing for just the right amount of huggability. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process Sources: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and www.laughingplace.com , and schweitzerhome.net / blog/xoom/photos/buildabear / A very special step that is unique to Build-A-Bear Workshop® also happens at this station called Heart Stuff™. Each Guest selects a small satin heart, adds to it his or her own love and wishes, and carefully places it inside their new furry friend. This process, no matter whether it’s a man, woman, boy or girl doing it, is a heart melting experience.
This Is Followed By Stitch Me ™ and Fluff Me ™ Steps STITCH ME ™ At Stitch Me, the last seam is neatly pulled shut, nearly completing each new best friend. Before closing the animal, the master Bear Builder associate inserts a barcode, allowing it to be reunited with its owner if ever lost and returned to Build-A-Bear Workshop. Thousands of furry friends have been reunited through our exclusive Find-A-Bear® ID tracking program. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process Sources: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and www.laughingplace.com FLUFF ME ™ At Fluff Me, the Guest brushes the animal at the bear spa to make sure his or her new friend is well groomed and pawfectly huggable!
Then Guests Give Their Stuffed Animals A Name at the Name Me ™ Computer Source: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and www.laughingplace.com NAME ME ™ Guests then stop at the Name Me computer, where they answer several questions about their new furry friend, including the birth date and of course, the name of their new furry friend. This information is compiled and becomes part of a personalized birth certificate for the Guest to take home. Guests can select either English or Spanish. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process
Guests Finish The Process By Dressing Their New Stuffed Friends Source: Build-A-Bear fact sheet and www.laughingplace.com DRESS ME ™ At Dress Me, Guests may dress their new friend in the beary latest furry fashions. The bear apparel boutique features clothes and accessories for all occasions. Pawsonal Shoppers, trained in the latest bear-fashion coordination, help Guests select the perfect outfits and accessories for their new best friend. Outfits range from $5-$15 and accessories range from $1-$15. Build-A-Bear Workshop® even has their own fashion expert, Pawlette Coufur® Fashion Advisor to the Furry Famous. Sneakers galore for the well dressed pal. Sketchers for your new pal are $8. Clothing for the bears include casual wear, formal wear and costumes including aviator, ballerina, policemen uniforms and more. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process
And By Taking Their New Stuffed Animal Home Sources: Build-A-Bear Workshop fact sheet; Build-A-Bear Workshop website TAKE ME HOME ™ Finally, Guests conclude their bear-making adventure at the Take Me Home station, where they are given their customized birth certificate and a special Buy Stuff Club® card to apply towards future purchases. Each new furry friend is then placed in their very own Cub Condo® carrying case, which is designed as a handy travel carrier and new home for their friend. Choose Me™ Hear Me™ Stuff Me™ Stitch Me™ Fluff Me™ Name Me™ Dress Me™ Take Me Home™ In-Store Bear Making Process
Store Associates Lead Customers Through The Bear-Making Process Every Step of the Way Source: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006
For Example, Employees Help Young Customers At Each of The Bear-Making Process Stations Source: Photo: http://www.packeteer.com/resources/prod-sol/Build-A-Bear.pdf
Employees Also Often Sing Happy “Bear-day” to Young Guests Source: www.laughingplace.com
Store Associates – “Master Bear Builders” – Are Carefully Recruited, Receive Training, and Are Given Career Opportunities Source: Company website and St. Louis Commerce Magazine
Employee Training Is Thorough
Associates go through a three-week training program at “Bear University.”
Receive extensive training in customer communication and are taught the value of working effectively as a team.
Allows the company to hire people without retail experience.
Recruiting occurs via the website and through in-store applications: “ Many of our employees look at this as a career, not just a job. Employees are glad to work in a place where they receive 'psychic income.' “ Retail may not pay top dollar, but there is a lot of satisfaction here. One of my marks of success is having our associates grow with the business and move up the chain.” Company Founder, Maxine Clark Employees are Valued and Given Career Opportunities:
The Company Culture Is Fun and Highly Supportive of Employees
Employees are called associates and have titles like professor of bearology, honey manager and bearitory leader.
At “World Bearquarters,” employees can ride on scooters, and dogs and kids are welcome in the office
Both the men's and women's bathrooms are equipped with diaper-changing stations and there is a room with a TV set and toys for workers' children.
The company offers flexible work schedules and telecommuting.
The benefits package includes medical and dental insurance, a 401K savings plan, and life insurance
Each employee gets 15 “honey days” a year to use for vacation, illness or whatever the person wishes.
Build-A-Bear also contributes $100 annually toward a wellness program, such as a health club membership.
All employees can receive feedback from individuals and departments they support
Also, “Guest Feedback” lets staff know how they measure up and what “op-bear-tunities” they have to improve.
Source: St. Louis Business Journal, May 4, 2001, and company website
Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Interactive Platform Allows Creation of an Almost Unlimited Number of Personalized Stuffed Animals From A Small Number of SKUs Source: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006, and laughingplace.com
Less than 450 SKUs in store are able to give customers a tremendous amount of customization choice
SKU types include animal “skins,” clothing, shoes, and accessories such as sunglasses.
Example Customized Stuffed Animals Source: www.bookmice.net/darkchilde / stuffed/ build.html
Pricing Transparency Throughout The Bear-Making Process Allows Guests To Remain In Control Of Their Cost Source: Company website
Build-A-Bear Workshop Engages Its Key Customers – Children - and Their Communities Sources: Company Presentation for Investment Analysts, March 2006; Photo from Article on the New York City Store Current Customers and Community New York City Store
The Interactions That Kids Have In-Store Often Include Their Families and Friends By building their own stuffed animal bears, kids can be creative, play, and experience joy and fun.
Build-A-Bear Workshop Has Created A New Experience Environment Called Build-A-Party ™ That Involves Whole Groups Of Customers Source: schweitzerhome.net / blog/xoom/photos/buildabear / Example: Brownie Group Store Trip
Build-A-Bear is experimenting with mobile stores. The retailer has designed an 800-sq.-ft. mobile store within a trailer that the company uses to extend the Build-A-Bear brand to sports events such as the Super Bowl, NBA Fanfest, and NASCAR races.
At the push of a button, a roof-mounted VSAT dish links up with a satellite for connectivity. Once the link is established, the store systems access all the information relevant to the day’s business, including local tax regulations, pricing and SKU information.
New Linked Environment #2: Sports Stadium Stores
Build-A-Bear Workshop opened its first in-stadium store with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in March 2004.
Make Your Own Phanatic ™ doll.
Sources:http://www.highbeam.com/library/docfree.asp?DOCID=1G1:133563004&ctrlInfo=Round19%3AMode19b%3ADocG%3AResult&ao=; Annual Shareholder’s Meeting Presentation May 2005
Linked Environment #3: Website Store Source: Company website
New Linked Environment #4: Friends 2B Made Store
Friends 2B Made is a sister company: guests create dolls with customized personalities; each outfit comes with two charms (for doll and owner) ; and price is right, with dolls starting at $12, accessories at $2 and complete outfits for $8.
Sources: Company Annual Shareholders Meeting Presentation (May 2005); http://travelwithkids.about.com/od/familyfunplaces/p/buildabear.htm
Build-A-Bear Workshop’s In-Store Experience Platform Has Driven Organic Growth Through Linkages With New, Extended Environments Build-A-Bear Workshop In-Store Experience Platform Website Store Environment Mobile Store Environment Sports Stadium Store Environment Friends 2B Made Store Environment
Maxine Clark Relies On Her Customer Network and “Cub Advisory Board” To Get and Test New Ideas
Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark asked several children for advice when she first developed her idea for the store
She continues to proactively dialogue with her customers
“ I’m on a lot of online buddy lists,” she says.
To return the thousands of emails she gets each week from customers, Clark uses a BlackBerry
To tap into customer reactions to new ideas, she has also established a group of ~20 children, ranging in age from six to 14 years old, who serve on a “cub” advisory board.
Scouting out a new location, Clark will email members in an area to ask them which malls they shop at most.
She’ll poll her network to see if the latest trend she’s spotted in New York—say, metallic sequined purses--might be worth rolling out as bear accoutrements.
“ I used to feel like I had to come up with all the ideas myself, but it’s so much easier relying on my customers [for help].” The list of customer suggestions that have made their way onto shelves is always growing—from bear accessories like mini-scooters to mascot bears sold at sports stadiums.
Source: http://www.stlcommercemagazine.com/archives/april2000/cover.html ; and article in Fast Company Oct. 2005
Build-A-Bear Workshop Also Leverages Its Supplier Partner Network To Co-Create New Offerings For Additional Organic Growth
Build-A-Bear's partnership with Major League Baseball goes beyond its stadium deals. The company has participated in promotional days with several teams, including the Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals in 2005. For those promotions, Build-A-Bear develops an exclusive, team-branded teddy bear or team mascot available only to fans at the ballpark on a specific day .
Source: St. Louis Business Journal, Jan. 20, 2006; and company website