Build-A-Bear Merges Hands-on Bear-making Experience With Interactive Digital Technology

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Build-A-Bear-0313Build-A-Bear Workshop has created a newly imagined store design that merges the hands-on bear-making experience with innovative technology. The updated store allows guests of all ages to personalize the bear-making process and creates a different experience each time they visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop store.

According to Brandon Elliot, director – digital ventures, Build-A-Bear Workshop, the company’s goal is to re-invent interactive retail by keeping the core friend-making process intact while infusing the experience with the leading-edge interactive technology platform that will allow the company to continue introducing personalized branded experiences for years to come.

Six pilot store locations were installed in 2012:

West County Center, St. Louis, Mo., September 21
Stoneridge Shopping Center, Pleasanton, Calif., October 5
Annapolis Shopping Mall, Annapolis, Md., October 19
The Somerset Collection, Troy, Mich., October 26
Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, Va., November 9
Castleton Square Mall, Indianapolis, Ind., November 16

Project Partners were Microsoft, Samsung, Infusion, Nanonation, Canvys and Parametric Sound Corp.


In any project of this size and scope, numerous challenges were overcome. Everything from internal change management, software development, hardware and systems platform integration and development, end user experience testing, budget and time line management, fixture design and development, system integration and in-store installation.


Build-A-Bear created a “Cub Advisor” group of moms and kids to help guide the overall design and usability of each experience. Project management and communications were critical. Support from the CEO down provided the alignment needed to successfully deliver the end result.


Three of the six prototype stores had opened by mid-October with the remaining three stores opening by mid-Nov.

“We’ve seen very positive responses to the updated store experience that has been described as half retail, half theme park ride,” said Elliott. “Sales impact has been very positive.”

This case study was reprinted with permission from the Digital Signage Connection and originally appeared here.