Cover Story: Child's Play
Ali Wing has a lot to smile about.
Wing's New York City-based company, giggle, was founded in 2003 with a website and concept store in the city's SoHo district. Since then, the founder and CEO of this cross-channel retailer of baby products, gifts and informational resources for new parents has seen it grow to include 11 brick-and-mortar stores throughout the U.S., a sophisticated transactional website, a series of print catalogs and a growing line of baby products called giggle Better Basics
The secret to Wing's success lies in her keen understanding of her customers — she's a parent herself, after all — and a forward-looking cross-channel strategy based on consistency.
"giggle was born out of a multichannel strategy," Wing says. "We're big believers that to be a great brand to your customers, you have to be multichannel, and you have to make sure your customers' experiences — and the standards of service they receive — are the same regardless of the channels they choose." That includes making sure all product offerings and prices — as well as return and exchange policies — are channel agnostic and consistent in all locations at all times.
giggle gets it, according to Andrea Syverson, president of IER Partners, a branding and merchandising consultancy, and author of "BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants."
"Starting off with solid brand positioning as 'new parent advocates' and moving into a tangible product fit chart on its website for merchandise selection, the leaders at giggle have customers hearts," Syverson says. "By intentionally planning to 'WOW!' and befriend new moms and dads at every customer touchpoint, giggle creates a memorable brand experience across all its multichannel avenues."
A big part of giggle's cross-channel strategy for growth is to expand its retail stores across the country. Plans are in the works to open shops in new markets this year and going forward.