Build-A-Bear is to further leverage Salesforce applications as it looks to further strengthen its business. It is to deploy the Customer-360 vision that Salesforce painted during Dreamforce last year.
Retail is going through tough times and yet Build-A-Bear is striking a balance between eCommerce and a service orientated retail experience for customers that continue to drive revenue. It deployed a new eCommerce platform in autumn 2017 leveraging the Salesforce Commerce Cloud to do so. Since then the platform has delivered nine consecutive quarters of double digit growth in eCommerce sales. However, while the company grew revenues to $338.5 million in the latest fiscal year, an increase of 0.6%, there are concerns. Revenue in Europe fell by 5.3%, compared to a 1.3% growth in North America. It is now looking to add further personalization as it looks to unify the information it has on customers across marketing, commerce, sales, and service.
Once deployed it is looking to have a complete “Customer 360” view of its guests across all channels. It hopes to connect its iconic in-store experience with interactions on social media, email or ecommerce. A guest may procure one of the bears in a collection in store. This may prompt an offer on ecommerce channels for another bear in the same range for the same customer. A customers may buy an Elsa but then be persuaded to add Anna, Sven and Olaf from the Frozen collection.
Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop president and chief executive officer commented: “We believe that expanding our strategic partnership with Salesforce can be transformative for our digital business. By leveraging Salesforce’s data-driven and intelligent Customer 360, we anticipate accelerating our growth by delivering highly personalized consumer experiences for every guest across every channel. And we expect to benefit from these additional capabilities during this year’s holiday season.”
Price John acknowledges in the annual results call that the teams were already at work on the project. Importantly, the new solution will also enhance its commercial arm which is growing rapidly. Build-A-Bear is also rapidly growing its commercial ventures. It grew revenues in that segment by 80% and increasing locations by 50% to 60 locations in the last year. These included Carnival Cruise Lines, Great Wolf Lodge, Landry’s and Beaches Resorts. It is also testing the concept on military bases, Chuck E Cheese and Marriott Resorts. As it looks to develop these relationships it will need to develop its B2B engagement as well.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This is not a short term investment by Build-A-Bear as it looks to maintain growth well into the future. For Salesforce this is another iconic brand leveraging its technology, to transform into a modern intelligent and connected organisation. Adam Blitzer, Salesforce executive vice president and general manager, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Community Cloud commented: “We are proud to be Build-A-Bear’s trusted advisor in digital transformation as they evolve how they engage with their customers across different channels. With Customer 360, Build-A-Bear will be able to realize its vision to predict customer preferences and deliver the right experiences at the right moment.”
Expect more companies to invest in Customer 360 in the months to come. By Dreamforce 2020 Build-A-Bear should have its solution nearly ready for the festive season. The results won’t be ready until next year. It will be interesting to see what it has managed to achieve at that point .