Cover Story: Child's Play
"Parents want to touch, feel and demo products for their children before they make their choices," says Wing, "which is why having retail establishments is an important part of our business strategy."
The consultative selling environment giggle has created is another reason for its retail focus and success. "We have trained personal shoppers and salespeople to help customers get a lay of the land, to ask questions so they know which specifications will matter to customers, and then to help them translate the often jargon-loaded manufacturer functions and features," Wing adds. "This type of one-to-one interaction is difficult online, but works well in-store."
What's more, sometimes shopping in-person is simply faster, according to Wing. "For those customers who live near a giggle store, popping in can be both efficient and inspiring in ways that an online search simply cannot."
That's not to say the online channel isn't important for giggle. The company is truly multichannel, and a large percentage of giggle's sales come via its website — so much so that giggle launched a new, more sophisticated website this month with a more integrated approach to content at the infrastructure level.
Catalogs are the latest addition to giggle's cross-channel strategy. Last fall, giggle sent a holiday mailer to test lift. It was so successful the company went ahead and created a 32-page catalog that hit homes May 15.
Why publish a catalog when e-commerce is where the growth is? Because Wing believes catalogs can help build your brand.
Specialty retailers — as opposed to mass-market retailers that focus on price and selection, or boutique retailers that focus on unique merchandise — live and die by their brands, according to Wing. "giggle's brand focus, which is to be an informational resource for new parents, can be communicated well through a catalog."