When the pandemic triggered shutdowns and lockdowns across the country, ecommerce accelerated as stores and retailers adapted to survival strategies. Yet it wasn’t enough for the majority to make up for lost revenue – the lion’s share of which still comes from in-store sales.
Even as restrictions loosened, shoppers were not as comfortable with heading out into stores with facemasks on, socially distancing. What’s more, 85% of consumers who had started to buy groceries online since the pandemic actually plan to maintain doing so, making some consumer habits stick for the long term.
And this is a particularly rough trend for store-based retailers that rely heavily on more personal, fact-to-face interactions with customers.
One such retailer that experienced a bruising few months is Build-A-Bear, a retail chain whose personal care and interaction is key to its successful sales operations. Strongly dependent on its 500+ stores across the globe, the majority of them temporarily closed for the first half of this year.
Build-A-Bear sells online, too, where customers are able to build their own bear or other furry friends through an online experience powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the robust ecommerce platform that can tailor personalized experiences and host complex capabilities – such as allowing customers to pick and personalize each section of their own stuffed animal.
But no matter how great its digital experiences are, at the core of Build-A-Bear is the personal touch, in the store.
Beginning in mid–March, Build-A-Bear was battered with lockdown restrictions that blocked their usual revenue stream. By the end of its second quarter ending August 1, they reported a Q2 revenue of $40.4 million, including a whopping 299% spike in ecommerce sales. However, compared to Q2 of 2019, its total sales were down almost 50%, when it registered $79.2 million.
However, by the time August rolled around, 90% of its stores had reopened, and the bear-friendly brand had recaptured just over 80% of its in-store sales. It’s been a long road but their online strategy helped to keep heads more or less above water.
Its SFCC-powered ecommerce platform was able to capture a lot of potentially lost revenue, acting as a big, strong bucket to scoop up a lot of dollars that were leaking out of its stores.
Without its powers of personalization, its ability to perform multivariate testing, and scaling capabilities, Build-A-Bear would have perhaps been in a far worse situation without using a best-in-class ecommerce solution.
Slowly heading back into an environment where 100% of its stores will be thrown open, and when most shoppers peak their heads outside and head to the stores, Build-A-Bear is now in a stronger position to not only provide excellent in-store experiences but provide alternative yet similar experiences online, powered by SF Commerce Cloud.
PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware) development & strategy teams. Contact us to see how we can work together.