Twenty-five years ago, Build-A-Bear Workshop was born. Since then, children have created more than 200 million furry stuffed animal friends. For a retailer that has built a name for itself with its unique in-person experiences for children and families, the sudden onset of a global pandemic was like a punch in the gut.
The company was already working with software developer Deck Commerce to upgrade its order management system when the world abruptly shifted in March 2020. With many of its 500 global retail locations shut down to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the company had to accelerate its direct-to-consumer omnichannel expansion plans not only to drive revenue but also to keep as many of its associates working as possible.
For its first two decades in business, the company used a home-grown order management system (OMS) to keep track of orders and inventory. But as sales grew, company leaders realized the legacy system just wasn’t going to cut it. That was partly because the system siloed channels (inventory and orders), so they lacked omnichannel and comprehensive order management capabilities. And it was partly because it was becoming clear the system lacked the capacity to support the company’s projected growth.
So in 2017, they went looking for a solution that would up their order management game as well as streamline, optimize, and integrate the company’s omnichannel retail operations. After weighing their options, they chose Deck Commerce’s order management solution—a software-as-a-service OMS that included all the functionality Build-A-Bear needed to meet its long-term goals.
By January 2020, the company was ready for the next step in its omnichannel journey. The partners mapped out a plan to expand the retailer’s omnichannel commerce capabilities using Deck Commerce’s in-store fulfillment module (ISF). The plan was to launch the new system in the third quarter of 2020, but then the world shut down.
When the lockdowns began, Build-A-Bear quickly swung into action, implementing Deck Commerce’s ISF module in just four weeks. By leveraging the ISF capabilities, the company was able to turn its physical stores into microfulfillment operations—a move that allowed it to maintain store operations and keep as many associates working as possible.The successful launch of its new omnichannel strategy in the midst of the pandemic yielded immediate results. The company shipped an average of 2,400 orders a week from stores, which was double Build-A-Bear’s initial goal. It also experienced a 30% increase in weekly e-commerce volumes during the first few months of Covid. And on top of protecting revenues and giving associates the opportunity to work, the move has allowed the retailer to continue its main mission: providing its young customers with the ability to make special memories, one furry friend at a time.