Build-a-Bear’s Failed Marketing Attempt
Build-a-Bear came up with a whole new idea of promotion. But it did not end as well as they had planned. The store, popular for its customized teddy bears announced a ‘Pay Your Age’ sale event. For this, the parents would get teddy bears at the cost of their child’s age in dollars. But the sale ended abruptly and in some states, the stores closed before they even opened. Frustrated parents took it to social media to vent their feelings.
On the day of the sale, people lined up outside the stores waiting to enter. Just then, Build-A-Bear called the sale off and shut down the outlets in the name of security concerns. They informed the people through their official social media. The company tweeted that,
Urgent Alert: Per local authorities, we can not accept additional guests at our locations due to crowd safety concerns. We have closed lines in our stores. We understand some guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.
Turning down the overwhelming crowds left customers fairly angry and children majorly disappointed. CEO Sharon Price John apologized in an exclusive interview. She said,
I am sorry that we were not able to provide the service that we wanted. We are doing our very best and we are staying very focused on making sure that we do the best we can to make it right for people.There was no way for us to have estimated the kind of impact, those kind of crowds. It far surpassed anything we ever could’ve known. We did see it wind up in social (media), and we did put a notice out for people that we thought the lines could be long, and we worked with the malls, but it was beyond anything we could’ve ever imagined.
Customers were eager to take advantage of the sales. For customized bears from the company cost between $12 to $29. But on sale, they could purchased for as low as $1. Sharon John also announced that the ‘Pay your Age’ sale would go all year long with another promotion ‘Count Your Candles’. In this promotion, children under the age of 14 could avail the ‘Pay Your Age’ sale in their birthday months.
To make up for the disappointment, Build-a-Bear distributed discount vouchers to customers that would be valid till the end of August. The CEO herself took her apology to a personal level adding that,
It’s heartbreaking. I’m a mom of three, I know that the most disappointing moment is when a kid is super-excited and something doesn’t happen. Here was no ill intent. Our objective at Build-a-Bear is to make kids happy.
Build-A-Bear has a great relationship with its customers and values them a lot. To make up for this, they are continually offering vouchers, other promotions and discounts.