Build-A-Bear Workshop’s "Pay Your Age Day" event generated an overwhelming response, resulting in long lines and disappointed shoppers when the experiential retailer had to turn away customers, citing "crowds and safety concerns."
In a nutshell, the retailer, which allows children to create their own stuffed animals, hosted its first "Pay Your Age Day" event in all U.S., Canada and U.K. stores on July 12, meaning if a child is four years old the entire in-store collection of "furry friends," including licensed characters, would be available to that child for $4.00. However a surge of shoppers resulted in chaos and this statement from Build-A-Bear on Twitter:
Granted, the promotion was a kick off to the retailer's "Count Their Candles" deal where shoppers can pay their age for the Birthday Treat Bear (normally $14) in the month of their birthday, an offer that will be available all year long.
Still, some shoppers were left wondering why the company seemed to have such bad planning in the first place.
While the promotion was a huge success in terms of turn out and publicity (albeit bad), has Build-A-Bear irrefutably damaged its brand image? The fact the company must have generated a massive amount of new loyalty members isn't lost on the public.
CEO Sharon Price John apologized to the public Friday on the "Today" show.
"There was really no way for us to have estimated those crowds. We were fully stocked, fully staffed. If I could do it over though — if there was a way to extend the day to just make sure we service everyone, I would have loved to have seen everyone get a bear."
"We couldn't throughput," she said simply before apologizing to those who didn't get a bear at the event.
Is Build-A-Bear's response correct for the situation? Do you think this will have lasting effects on its brand equity? Email us your thoughts at [email protected].