- Amidst the toy industry's transformation, Build-A-Bear Workshop has hired Char Nicanor-Kimball to serve in the newly created position of vice president of e-commerce. The retailer also internally promoted Art Huggard from director of e-commerce development to vice president of digital technology, the toy brand announced on Tuesday.
- In Nicanor-Kimball's new role, she will oversee the revamp of e-commerce operations. Before joining Build-A-Bear Workshop, Nicanor-Kimball held previous roles at Hannah Andersson, National Geographic, Stride Rite, Dick's Sporting Goods and Nordstrom. Huggard, who held positions at Bass Pro Shops and Hudson's Bay, will also lead in the company's efforts to accelerate its digital operations.
- The company also announced the launch of its Bear Builder 3D Workshop on Tuesday. With the Bear Builder 3D Workshop, shoppers can use an interactive guide to create a customized stuffed animal online, the company said.
While the toy retailer taps e-commerce veterans to update its online strategy, the rollout of the Bear Builder 3D Workshop experience is a stepping stone toward contemporizing its digital operations. The website now interactively guides shoppers through the "bear-building experience" to create a final product that will be shipped to them at home.
"The retail landscape has been shifting as consumers have increasingly moved to online shopping," Sharon Price John, president and CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, said in a statement. "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."
Toy retailers have increasingly had to change their operations to appeal to a digital-savvy generation of children. John said that the company is diverging from a transactional e-commerce experience by crafting a more engaging, fun online shopping experience.
As Build-A-Bear Workshop appoints new executives to implement its digital turnaround, other companies, including Tailored Brands, HBC and Bed, Bath & Beyond, have hired new tech leaders, too, as online shopping experiences become increasingly important to streamline and perfect.
The revamped site, therefore, "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 company said in a statement.