Despite only being online since May 2006, Alan Townsend and the staff at stuffedanimals.com saw over 1 million visitors flock to www.stuffedanimals.com and their other store, www.puppet.com. Stuffedanimals.com isn’t just an online stuffed animal store–it is an experience.
Alan explains how they took their fun theme throughout both their website and their company culture. “Since we don’t have a brick and mortar store, we wanted to give the customer a one-of-a-kind experience when they shopped with us that would bring the online world together with the offline world. The process started by developing our own language for our site that would be unique and special. Rather than calling our customers “customers”, we decided to call them “stufftomers”. Rather than providing customer service, we would provide “Stufftomer Service”. We used this “stufftomer” centric branding logic in everything we created, including naming our gift certificates “Gift Cerstufficates”. This helped us create a unique experience that really set us apart from other stuffed animal stores and gave our stufftomers a warm fuzzy feeling every time they visit.”
This experience does not end when the customer leaves the site. “To help us bring the online world to the offline world, we wanted every order to be a showpiece. Our goal was to put a smile on the stufftomer’s face the minute they opened the package and then wow them with the quality of the products when they took their order out of the package. We decided to use turquoise tissue paper for the box , rather than brown kraft paper or some other type of packing material. The price was comparable and it matched our logo perfectly. We also chose to individually wrap each order in a poly bag before placing it in the box, which would then we sealed using a bag sealer. As small as a detail as it may seem to be, we even used turquoise bag tap to seal the bag. By bagging the order, we not only gave stufftomers a factory fresh feeling when they received their order, but we also protect the order during shipment. Orders arrive safe and dry even if the carrier leaves a package out in the rain.”
“Every order also comes with a “Birth Cerstufficate”, which allows stufftomers to record fun details about their new stuffed animal, including their name, height, fur color, eye colors and even their “delivery” date. This was a fun way to let our stufftomers interact with us and their stuffed animal. The Birth Cerstufficates are professionally printed to look like a real birth certificate and even have a watermark, so our stufftomers get a sense of the quality and care we take in everything we do.”
To establish trust with the customer, stuffedanimals.com features their phone number and policies very clearly on the site. There are numerous testimonials, links to “stufftomer service”, and an “About Us” page written by Stuffed. A. Nimals, the company mascot.
What advice does Alan give current and future online store owners? “Be passionate about your subject matter. Whether you’re operating a forum, selling downloadable software or repairing widgets, if you’re not passionate, you’ll get bored. Everything else you’ll encounter in the online business world can be learned. Passion cannot be.”
**Please note: Alan Townsend is not actually a stuffed bear…or is he? 😉
[tags] stuffedanimals.com, puppet.com, sell toys online, online store branding, brand online store, online store marketing, internet branding, ecommerce marketing, ecommerce branding, volusion, sell online, ecommerce software, shopping cart software [/tags]