Build-A-Bear Launches 3D Workshop, Names VPs of E-Com and Digital Tech

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
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Build-A-Bear Workshop continues its commitment to digital transformation with a new interactive e-commerce experience and a timely new hire and promotion.

The new Bear Builder 3D Workshop  is a unique animated e-commerce shopping experience that brings the retailer’s  stuffed animals "to life" online. The retail experience interactively guides shoppers through a fresh take on the iconic bear-building experience from the retailer’s iconic stuffing process to the heart ceremony with the “creating the perfect furry friend online.” Upon completion of the immersive 3D interface, the new customized furry friend is delivered to the customer's door.

In development for over a year, Bear Builder 3D Workshop represents a continuation of Build-A-Bear's strategy and dedication to delivering engaging digital initiatives to support the company's expanding e-commerce business. The platform was developed by Build-A-Bear in partnership with Buzz 3D, creators of interactive shopping simulations; Nutanix, a hybrid multicloud computing company; TierPoint, a data center and cloud services provider; and PGAV, designers of amusement park experiences.

[See also: Build-A-Bear Brings Its Experiential Retail Online]

"The retail landscape has been shifting as consumers have increasingly moved to online shopping,” said Sharon Price John. “Our aim is to meet guests where and how they prefer to shop. Because we are a high-engagement brand, we wanted to develop an interactive, digital shopping option that not only delivered on our iconic in-store process but offered a dynamic experience to create your own furry friend. E-commerce has traditionally been more transactional, but we believe Build-A-Bear is the perfect brand to break the mold by adding more fun and engagement to online shopping as we continue to execute our digital transformation strategy."

When guests enter the Bear Builder 3D Workshop experience, they are greeted with whimsical music and a selection of furry friends to choose from, with each featured in a row of Cub Condos. Once selected, the furry friend is whisked away to the stuffing area via a fun trip down the Rainbow Slide. Guests are prompted to click and drag clouds of stuffing into the furry friend.  After completing the stuffing step, the Bear Builder 3D Workshop offers a fresh version of the brand's Heart Ceremony including making a wish on the furry friend's heart to officially bring it to life!  After brushing and fluffing, the furry friend dances over to the Wonder Wardrobe to select from a wide variety of clothing and accessories to create a unique and fashionable look. The next step is a stop at the Hear Me Station to add a sound or song to the furry friend. To complete the process, guests fill out a birth certificate, including giving a name to their furry friend. With the activity complete, the finished furry friend grabs a red heart balloon and floats back to the main e-commerce website where guests can continue shopping or finalize their transaction. 

Build-A-Bear also offers local delivery options so furry friends can be picked up at nearby Workshops with BOPIS or curbside options. In addition, Build-A-Bear has partnered with Shipt which provides same-day delivery in select areas throughout the U.S.

[See more: The Future State of BOPIS and Curbside Pickup]

a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera
Build-A-Bear Workshop has hired Char Nicanor-Kimball for the newly created role of vice president of e-commerce. Photo credit: Build-A-Bear

New Hire and Promotion

Build-A-Bear Workshop has hired Char Nicanor-Kimball for the newly created role of vice president of e-commerce and has promoted Art Huggard to the role of vice president of digital technology.

Char Nicanor-Kimball brings more than 20 years of e-commerce experience to Build-A-Bear Workshop. Most recently, Nicanor-Kimball was the Sr. director of e-commerce at Hannah Andersson where she led the business team responsible for the operations, consumer journey and interaction of the site. She has extensive experience in e-eommerce site operations, revenue and profit responsibility as well as merchandising management. Prior to Hannah Andersson, Nicanor-Kimball worked in expanding the digital commerce at National Geographic, Stride Rite, Dick's Sporting Goods and Nordstrom. Nicanor-Kimball will be responsible for leading the growth of Build-A-Bear's e-commerce business as the company continues to strategically expand its effort to drive its omnichannel initiatives and digital transformation. 

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera
Build-A-Bear Workshop has promoted Art Huggard to the role of vice president of digital technology. Photo credit: Build-a-Bear.

Art Huggard joined Build-A-Bear Workshop in 2017 as director, e-commerce development. Huggard was instrumental in the company's successful implementation of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform and Deck Commerce Order Management System. His efforts have significantly contributed to increasing Build-A-Bear's consumer-facing digital initiatives and the retailer’s expanding relationship with Salesforce. In addition to the technology side of e-commerce, Huggard and his team are leading several of Build-A-Bear's new systems initiatives critical to the ongoing advancement of its digital transformation. Prior to joining Build-A-Bear, Huggard held the roles of director of e-commerce at Bass Pro Shops as well as omnichannel program director at Hudson's Bay.