It’s Time to Build a Bear

Published on December 2, 2002

This past weekend my wife and I went shopping with our daughter at a mall and stopped in the Build a Bear Workshop. This store has the right sales approach. We are going to break their sales model down into simple elements that relate very well to The Titan Principle.

The Build A Bear Workshop Store allows children to actively participate in the process of making their own bear. It is interactive, fun, and because the children build it, it means more to them.

First, the children pick out the type of bear they want. Before the stuffing even begins, the kids get to record their own personal message and pick the spot on the bear where they want to press and hear the message. Then they move to the stuffing machine where they push a button and the bear is stuffed to the level of hardness they desire. Now that’s giving customers what they need the way they want it!

Second, once the bear is built, you now must buy the clothes, right? What a gimmick. Looking back at the receipt, the bear itself only cost $16, but all of the other paraphernalia brought the total charge up to $97. Granted, we probably allowed our daughter to buy more than she really needed (like we are the only parents guilty of this). But the fact is because she enjoyed the experience so much, buying the extras seemed like the next logical thing to do. When you look around the store, you realize what they are really selling is not the bear, but the experience of creating a customized bear involving all of your tastes, likes and desires.

Third- after the bear is built and the clothes are bought, it is now time to name the bear and get a birth certificate. Believe it or not, this part of the venture is free. But it is one of the key elements of the whole process. You are asked to name the bear and it is now part of your family. How much closer can you get to the experience? Giving a free birth certificate can appear to be a minimal gesture, but in the scheme of things, it goes a long way in providing the child with a perception that they really own the bear they have created. When people feel that strongly, they usually will take the next step and pay at the cash register.

How is the experience you provide your customers? Is it enjoyable enough where they come back for more? Is it pleasurable where they want to buy all of the add-ons from you versus the competition?

When you see a customer walking through your door, do you see their value in terms of the initial sale, or the overall value the relationship can bring you if they buy all of the related products and services you have to offer? Think of what a customer can bring you over the lifetime of the relationship. The sheer enormity of the revenue potential should motivate you to build an experience they will never forget.

The Build A Bear Workshop Store – providing a sales experience you will never forget. Now it’s your turn.

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