Baby Einstein eCommerce Case Study
OBJECTIVE: Develop an online eCommerce application for a start-up company which satisfied immediate corporate objectives, seamlessly integrated with its web site's content management system, mitigated overall costs of doing business, and could scale in features and functionality over time.
Julie Aigner-Clark founded The Baby Einstein Company in 1997 with a goal to provide fun, interactive ways to expose her own babies to the arts and humanities; subjects that were important to her as a former English teacher. Her first two videos, Baby Einstein and Baby Mozart were filmed in her basement using borrowed equipment and edited on a home computer. Julie turned to Viewmark to develop a web site and eCommerce portal to sell her home-created videos.
Baby Einstein wanted to drive as much qualified buying traffic from all marketing drivers to its web site where visitors could learn more about the product line, related materials, and obtain an impression of quality, trust and value. All sales would be handled through an online store component and telephone sales through the Baby Einstein offices. All orders were to be coordinated with a fulfillment company located in San Diego, California.
Baby Einstein needed to create an engaging web site experience that supported the company's brand, offered an intuitive pathway to products and transactions, and engaged the customer in ways that would drive repeat business over time. They also required a way to monitor site activity, purchase data and marketing performance.
Baby Einstein hired Viewmark to develop an integrated content management system and eCommerce engine that not only sold its baby video products online, but offered users community mechanisms to encourage visitors to come back to their site time and time again. Some of those methods included user personalization, an interactive online learning lab, customer promotions and discounts, interactive games and the ability to easily create personalized gift sets for friends and family.
Baby Einstein also knew that some of their regular customers wanted eMail notification of new products or special offers the moment they became available, which Viewmark developed and implemented. Additionally, Baby Einstein telesales operators could directly input orders into a specially-developed "quick-store" that integrated with the central sales database. Site administrators had complete control over the online store's inventory, pricing, discounts and special incentive packages. A mechanism was also created to automatically tie-in all orders and order status to their fulfillment house.
A separate reporting portal was created for Baby Einstein administrators to track order totals, specific inventory popularity (i.e. "best-selling title"), and web traffic analytics.
Baby Einstein understood that creating a high value web site, heavy into customer-focus, would pay back high dividends, and it did. By 2002 the site averaged more than 100,000 impressions per month and online sales of greater than a quarter-million dollars in a typical 30-day period.
As reported in The New York Times on October 28, 2003: 32 percent of all new babies born in the United States owned Baby Einstein videos.
The initial capital outlay to create and support the web site was not only paid back to investors many times over, but gave the company the ability to grow and expand into a multi-million dollar enterprise within a few short years.
Five years, ten videos and 30 children's books later, Julie sold Baby Einstein to The Walt Disney Company. In the year of the acquisition the company's sales exceeded $20 million and Baby Einstein branded products could be found at specialty and mass retailers nationwide.