In an extensive article in the NYT, Elizabeth Olson reports a number of interesting details on Build-A-Bear Workshop. This company is one of my favorite examples of mass customization, as it not just invented a new category and value preposition based on mass customization, but also is one of the premier examples of delivering process experience in an in-store environment.
Here are some interesting numbers on Build-A-Bear, according to the Ney York Times:
- 1997 founded
- 110 million plush animals sold since it started
- 296 own stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, plus several franchise outlets abroad
- $394 million in revenue (2011), with a $17 million loss due to weak economy
- $7.8 million of advertising spending in 2011, and $2.7 million in first six months of 2012
- 8-year-old girl is core customer
- 30 percent of customers are boys
- 2-3 visits of average customer per year to create customized animal or to buy outfits.
- 500 lost bears are returned to kids every year as bar code allows a lost animal to be tracked and returned
New store concept
- 1st new store introduced this week in St Louis
- 2 years of development for new store layout, working with Adrienne Weiss Corporation, a Chicago advertising agency that was part of the original brand development
- Microsoft Kinect movement technology will allow customers to play games at large screen at the front by waving their hands in front of it
- 8 new technology stations in each store will increase hands-on engagement
New “love me” touch screen where child can choose a heart for his or her stuffed animal.
Other new options include customized sound chip and scents like chocolate chip or cotton candy that can be embedded in the stuffed animal!!
My last article of Build A Bear's European Operations is here.