The Moneris® Merchant Scoop Series takes a closer look at Canadian businesses who are thriving in an ever-changing business landscape. Learn about what it took to get their businesses off the ground and how they are maintaining their success.
Snuggle Bugz is a family-owned Canadian baby store, serving the needs of expectant parents and their newborns. Envisioned as a local mom-and-pop retail store, Snuggle Bugz has grown to become one of Canada’s most prominent baby stores with their commitment to going above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service.
The Beginning Baby Steps
Snuggle Bugz began as the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Ben Burmaster and his wife, Tanya Burmaster. With an existing interest of starting a business together, the idea came together when Tanya became pregnant, and they found themselves spending a significant amount of time dedicated to all things baby. They saw the need for a baby store that focused less on upselling to every customer who walked in, and geared more toward educating customers on what they’ll need for a smooth transition into parenthood.
From there, the idea for Snuggle Bugz was born. Capitalizing on Ben’s entrepreneurial mindset, and Tanya’s clever naming skills, Snuggle Bugz originally opened a small location in Burlington, Ontario, in 2006. They quickly found their unique retail idea to be a hit. Since then, they’ve grown into nine different retail locations in Ontario and British Columbia, and an expansive ecommerce store.
An Integrated Payment Processing Approach
When Snuggle Bugz first opened their doors, cash registers and countertop payment terminals were set up to give their customers payment options. But as business grew, Snuggle Bugz searched for a company that could handle not only their in-store payments and newly-developed ecommerce platform, but could also integrate with the POS system they already had. Moneris was able to offer this solution, with the addition of incorporated administrative and reporting tools to manage analytics and sales data.
Now, after almost six years processing their payments with Moneris, the in-store and ecommerce integration has become more important than ever. In an ever-growing digital market, Snuggle Bugz knows the importance of offering an outstanding customer experience regardless of where their customers find them.
Friends First, Customers Second
One of the most interesting business challenges Snuggle Bugz faces is knowing that the customer lifespan in the baby industry is very short. Expectant parents have little time to prepare for their child, and once they arrive, they grow fast. The Burmasters have developed a business model that takes this into account, by making sure that their operations perfectly reflect how they want to be seen in the marketplace – the go-to place for all things baby.
The way they’ve been able to accomplish this is the belief that their business is not just there to push products onto customers; it’s there to be a source of education and support for expectant parents - to be a friend.
The Burmasters explained that when you think of your customers as your friends, you immediately treat them better than you would otherwise. You’re excited to see them; you want to make sure that they’re equipped with the knowledge they need to make the right purchases; you help ease their transition into parenthood; and you hope to see them again soon. This not only makes running the business easier; it revolutionizes the customer experience.
This philosophy has made Snuggle Bugz the go-to retail store for baby gear, and helped them become a staple in their stores’ communities. Snuggle Bugz generously gives their friends a wealth of content-based programs and education without direct ties to their products or sales targets, including stroller tune-up days, baby sleep clinics, lactation consultant meet and greets, and a series of Facebook Live events where Tanya chats with professional guests ranging from Doulas to Neonatal Chiropractors. By operating on this business model, Snuggle Bugz has been able to cement themselves with new and expectant parents.
Safe and Steady Expansion
Snuggle Bugz believes one of the most important things for continued growth is finding a way to differentiate yourself in a competitive market, and use that to your advantage. For them, it’s instilling confidence in their customers with their “friends-before-customers” business model, and to become a source for more than just baby gear. With an increasingly digital marketplace, it’s important to be able to do this wherever they can meet their customers – online or in-store.
Snuggle Bugz’ long-term plans include nation-wide expansion, while continuing to grow their ecommerce platform in the ever-changing internet marketplace, and finding new friends in families across Canada who are experiencing the joy of their first year of expectant parenthood.
®MONERIS is a registered trade-mark of Moneris Solutions Corporation. All other trade-marks are the property of their respective owners.
Moneris Solutions Corporation (“Moneris”) is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied in this article. Moneris does not administer and is not responsible for the promotional code offer or any other offer in this article, which is the responsibility of Snuggle Bugz Inc. Persons wishing to rely upon this information or utilize the promotional offer should consult directly with Snuggle Bugz. The information in this article is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting or other advice to you, and should not be acted or relied upon in that regard without seeking the advice of a professional.