February 19, 2009

Build-A-Bear Workshop Multichannel Initiatives

Fascinating comments from management that reflects our new world order, and yet, comp store sales were still down 16.8%.
  • Guest surveys data shows that 10% of all store guests are highly influenced to visit because of Build-A-Bearville, and they visit our stores more often and on average, spend more on each visit. Having millions of eyeballs or unique visitors per month, gives us the ability to consistently inform and engage this community, similar to the impact a direct mail piece would have had in the past.
  • Over 925,000 viewings of Holly & Hal animated webisodes were seen in the theater in Build-A-Bearville. Holly & Hal Moose became our biggest holiday animals ever sold We believe that our ability to tell the story across the multiple entertainment platforms drove the increase in units sales of these items.
  • In Build-A-Bearville, we can leverage our relationship with David (Archuleta) in ways not possible before with an online interview, music video and song clip. In the past, we've had artists appear at select malls, but through the internet and our virtual world, we can essentially share that personal experience with millions of guests around the world.
  • The first initiative was a sale of Bearville's game cards, which provide the player with 10,000 Bear Bills, our online currency, to spend in the virtual world, and a choice of virtual ride like a hover board or a scooter. The cards are sold online and in our stores and other selected third party outlets. We sold 25,000 game cards in just nine weeks during the holiday season and as you can imagine, the gross margin on a virtual item is quite high. As evidence of the passion our guests have for these products, over 95% of game cards are redeemed within the first 24 hours after being purchased.

We can keep trying to merchandise the catalog well, or we can start thinking about how people use technology in new and innovative ways. The latter requires a willingness to fail, something we aren't always comfortable with.

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