Build-A-Bear ‘pay your age’ day deal backfires

Build-A-Bear ‘pay your age’ day deal backfires

Build-A-Bear has been forced to pull a marketing stunt that sparked long queues and outbreaks of violence at its UK stores.

The retailer was offering customers the chance to buy any bear, which can cost up to £52, for the price of their child’s age. But it had to shut many of its stores and end the promotion early as people turned up en masse to avail themselves of the ‘pay your age’ deal. The decision to bail out was necessary on both safety and operational grounds, but it will damage the brand, according to Neil Saunders, Managing Director at GlobalData Retail.

“A lot of parents are now upset that they cannot fulfill promises to their children, and many who made special trips to malls are frustrated that their efforts have come to nothing,” he says. “In our view, Build-A-Bear is going to have to take some action to remedy this, maybe by offering deals and special offers to those affected. This could have a future impact on profits, although it will be helpful to sales volumes.”

“The good news is that the high demand indicates that the Build-A-Bear concept remains relevant and popular. While the company needs to plan future promotions far better, there is seemingly an opportunity to stimulate sales with the right deals and offers. But first, it needs to get its alienated customers back on side.”

Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO and Founder, Savvy Marketing, adds: “It’s a lesson to learn that with social media unbelievably good deals spread like wild fire and are passed on to like-minded shoppers in seconds. Certainly, this has put Build A Bear into a tricky spot well it be their biggest disaster or greatest success - only time will tell.” 

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