Innovative educational toys and games are only part of the attraction at The Toy Space Inc., a Toronto-based family-run business. The retailer also enjoys a reputation as a destination attraction known for in-store events, extra services and top-shelf customer service. As the young company looked to grow all areas of its businesses, it was challenged to put the same vibrancy and life into its Web site, TheToySpace.com.
“We wanted to create a personalized shopping experience on the Web similar to what we’re known for at our two brick-and-mortar locations,” said Shelley Goldschlager, VP of The Toy Space Inc. “But we were using a simple out-of-the-box point-of-sale software solution in our stores that wasn’t integrated with our e-commerce site.”
The system was also limited, Goldschlager added, in that it wouldn’t be able to handle the company’s future expansion of multiple stores and warehouse locations.
As a solution, The Toy Space Inc. turned to Staten Island, N.Y.-based Celerant Technology in September 2008 to meet its long laundry list of needs. The retailer selected a real-time software solution to help manage all areas of its organization through one, single integrated platform.
The solution, Celerant’s Command Retail management system, integrated The Toy Space Inc.’s point-of-sale, inventory management, warehouse, distribution center, allocation, e-commerce, datamining and advanced reporting capabilities.
“Choosing a solution on one single platform was a huge advantage for us because it eliminated the need to poll between stores,” Goldschlager said. “In addition to running the backend, Celerant designed a colorful, playful design for the site that truly helped it become an extension of the brand.”
With the help of the new technology, it is now easy for The Toy Space Inc.’s customers to browse inventory by age, brand or category on the company’s site. The site has also added an application to help shoppers select gifts for people based on age, gender and interests, and build a gift registry.
“Customers can create registries both in-store and through the site—this not only helps to close the multichannel gap, but it also makes shopping more convenient for our customers,” Goldschlager explained. “In addition, shoppers can sign up to be notified through e-mail when the item is back in stock.”
Once the Celerant solution was up and running and integration was made between its channels, The Toy Space Inc. noticed a big jump in Web traffic and sales.
“We hope and expect to continue to see wonderful growth online and in our stores,” Goldschlager said. “We have plans to open more stores in the future and feel secure doing so now that we have a dynamic, integrated technology structure to help back us up.”
In the meantime, The Toy Space Inc. is building up brand buzz by reaching out to shoppers via a variety of social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. The company is drawing attention to its in-store events, announcing product news and creating a dialogue with devoted fans. It also uses blogs and videos on its site to lure both new and existing customers back to its site.
“We’ve made a lot of great strides in the past few years with our site, from developing a strong backend to enhancing the customer experience,” Goldschlager said. “Now with a firm foundation in place, we’re poised, ready and excited for future growth.”