Many applications of customer experience technology focus on assisting employees or customers, but physical stores offer an environment where one tool can assist both. Build-A-Bear Workshop has implemented in-store tablets that benefit the experience for associates and shoppers alike.
The tablets let employees offer greater personalization and create convenient checkout opportunities for customers, according to Dara Meath, CTO at Build-A-Bear. They also let people look up loyalty information anywhere in the store.
"I almost look at it like the cloud versus a server," Meath told CX Dive. "When you're stuck to a location, you then don't get the mobility that you need to be active in front of a customer. When you're in the cloud, you can go anywhere and do anything."
Freeing up employees from the register helps them become part of the store’s community, according to Meath. Associates can proactively assist customers from the moment a customer enters a store, rather than waiting until they’re approached.
Shoppers seek speedy checkout
The devices, running Jumpmind Commerce and CX Connect software from retail solution provider Jumpmind, provide mobile and omnichannel point-of-sale functionality, allowing associates handle transactions or place e-commerce orders from anywhere in the store.
The goal is to make the in-store journey easy and seamless, according to Meath. The tablets allow associates to scan each accessory or access Build-A-Bear’s site to order unavailable items online at any point so customers don’t have to wait until the formal checkout process.
"What we wanted to do is really get the experience out to [customers] and help them to start the journey of checking out, of understanding other gifts and opportunities that we offer, without having to stand at a standard [point of sale],” Meath said.
Build-A-Bear’s rollout of its devices come at a time when customers are seeking speedier and more informative in-store journeys. According to a recent study by IBM, more than a quarter of customers said that faster checkout would improve their shopping experiences, and a similar share are looking for more and better information about products.
Modern tools should eliminate friction caused by basic challenges like slow checkouts and a lack of product information, according to Karl Haller, global leader for the IBM Consulting Consumer Center of Competency. Expectations have surpassed pre-COVID levels, but in-store experiences have largely failed to keep pace.
Efficiency is essential for parents
A key demographic for Build-A-Bear are parents, who can have a hard time making it to a register when they are keeping track of their children in a busy store, according to Meath. This challenge is amplified when a store is hosting a party.
“If you're a mom, and you have 40 kids in front of you having this fantastic party, the last thing you want to do is try to run over to a register and check out,” Meath said.
This makes the tablets a particularly welcome feature for parents and grandparents who come shopping with kids in tow. Customers of all ages appreciate efficiency — teens don’t enjoy waiting in line any more than anyone else, Meath said.
Shoppers who prefer a traditional checkout experience at a register still have that option. The average Build-A-Bear store now has two tablets and two registers, doubling the speed at which customers can check out, Meath said.
Tablets simplify loyalty benefits
The new tablets were also designed with personalization in mind. Associates can access customer information through Build-A-Bear’s Bonus Club loyalty program to advise them on promotions, relevant product drops or unredeemed rewards.
“They might have bought from the web, or they might have bought from here or there,” Meath said. “The great thing is we know who they are because they're a part of our Bonus Club.”
Customers can also take advantage of this functionality to look up information about their own accounts, Meath said. This saves customers the trouble of needing to look up rewards or active promotions before they come to the store.