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How Wood Wood Toys Uses Shopify Inbox to Differentiate and Win Sales

Wood Wood Toys is a Canadian-based wooden-toy store that sells handpicked Montessori-inspired toys. Caretakers from all over the world purchase the toys from the company which was founded by a mom and dad who were looking for toys for their own child.

Before the pandemic hit, business at the online-only toy shop was modest but steady. But COVID-19 impacted the demand for educational toys and changed how they were purchased. Caregivers weren’t able to view toys at brick-and-mortar retailers and needed to be able to trust a fully digital brand to provide toys they’d never played with or touched. The unexpected surge in demand supercharged Wood Wood’s business. Now, co-owner Rennie Wood and his wife, Melody plan to make their ecommerce side gig their sole focus.

But in order to do that, they needed to make some upgrades to their tech stack and their customer experience.

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Implementing Shopify Inbox to manage customer conversations enabled Wood Wood Toys to:

  • Win a sale eight out of 10 times when they have the opportunity to chat with a shopper
  • Fulfill every order within 24 hours
  • Differentiate their business by providing a fast, personal customer experience
  • Acquire new customers as existing customers age out

The challenge

As the pandemic boosted online sales and brick-and-mortar retailers suffered from store closures, Wood Wood Toys received a lot of the extra traffic. Sales boomed. But Rennie and Melody both still had a nine-to-five job to juggle while staying on top of their growing online business.

Add to that the need to prioritize customer acquisition.

For its first three to four years in business, Wood Wood Toys had a solid base of repeat customers. But as their customers’ children started to age out, there was a renewed focus on customer acquisition.

The only thing we can control is our customer experience and the message and personality of our communication.

This is where they realized customer experience is one of the biggest opportunities for differentiation, especially when Amazon is thrown into the mix. “We have to deal with some of these same lines being sold by third parties or fulfilled by Amazon resellers,” says Rennie. “So even though it's not coming out of Amazon, it's still in the Amazon marketplace. The only thing we can control is our customer experience and the message and personality of our communication.”

But with an increasing number of messages to monitor and respond to, customer conversations become labor- and time-intensive. Wood Wood Toys needed a tool that could not only capture all the conversations but also streamline message management at the same time.

The solution

Rennie knew he needed a way to manage customer conversations while improving the customer experience, which would ultimately support the brand’s customer acquisition objectives. So he set some goals.

To create a customer experience that stood out, his goal was to “be hyper responsive, fulfill orders within 24 hours, and add a personal touch,” he says.

And while this level of responsiveness fueled the company’s growth, Rennie knew it wasn’t sustainable to maintain that standard. So he turned to his tech stack and looked for some Shopify apps to help.

Having had experience with clunky plug-ins on Wood Wood’s previous WordPress site, Rennie was eager to find something simple.

“I kind of helped myself to the ‘Made by Shopify’ apps. And almost from day one, that was part of it,” he says. Now, the brand uses Shopify Inbox to streamline customer conversations. “I [didn’t] have to deal with some third-party developer and plug in any code.”

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With Shopify Inbox, Wood Wood Toys is able to promptly answer customer queries, cutting down on all the back and forth that comes with email communication. This interaction is key in driving sales, as it allows the brand to get to the customer while they’re in consideration mode, answer their questions, and instill confidence to make the purchase. “With Shopify Inbox, we can deliver a good customer experience, and answer shoppers’ questions accurately, more often, and faster,” Rennie says.

The results

Chat has become a valuable sales tool for Wood Wood Toys. And Shopify Inbox has streamlined the way it manages each chat conversation, as well as customer conversations from other channels. It’s also enabled it to easily prioritize the most important conversations—the ones with high-intent shoppers that have the potential to impact the bottom line.

Shopify Inbox is a powerful tool... It helps me rescue sales after spending time, money, and energy getting a customer to that point. It pays huge dividends.

“People send emails, people Instagram us, people send us Facebook messages,” Rennie says. “The communication comes in from a lot of channels, but having [chat] on the store is nice because I know they’re actually looking at products. We can do a better job of guiding that shopping experience when they’re on the site rather than if it’s happening on an Instagram or a Facebook DM.” And with cart events, Wood Wood Toys can give top-notch help via chat.

Cart events provide context on what items shoppers have in their cart—or have removed—so you can anticipate potential questions and provide personalized recommendations.

Though Shopify Inbox is powerful and packed with features, it’s not too cumbersome for the small-business owner. “But at least for us, as a very small operation, it’s usually just me answering the chats,” Rennie says. “[Shopify Inbox] is simple and effective.”

Wood Wood Toys uses Shopify Inbox in a variety of ways, but two key approaches stand out:

Mimicking the in-store shopping experience through personalized recommendations. Wood Wood Toys uses chat as a place to have a real two-way conversation, not just a place to answer questions. The best chats start with a discussion about what the shopper is looking for, so Rennie can guide them to find the perfect product. “With Shopify Inbox, we can have a text version of that great in-store experience, ask them questions, build rapport, make some thoughtful suggestions, and create a bundle,” he says. “That’s the best kind of situation.”

Saving the sale and answering questions at checkout. Many shoppers turn to chat when they have issues finalizing their purchase decision—these messages from high-intent browsers are super important and an excellent conversion opportunity. Maybe they have questions about inventory availability or their email isn’t working or they didn’t receive the discount code they were expecting. “With Shopify Inbox, I can save those sales that could have been lost because the customer found some kind of communication barrier,” says Rennie.

Having chat available on Wood Wood Toys’ online store helps create trust. So even if a shopper doesn’t have an immediate question, they feel more confident buying knowing that support is only a message away. “Having that subtle pop-up that shows that we’re available, I think that that drives conversion because [it inspires] people to be more confident, to build a bigger basket, and to trust that we’re going to ship them what we say we will.”

Ultimately, Shopify Inbox supports Wood Wood Toys in its growing business and empowers them to deliver a customer experience that drives both retention and acquisition in a sustainable way. “People that use chat are high-intent customers that tend to make purchases,” Rennie says. “I don’t know if I can put a number on it, but I do know that if somebody reaches out with a problem, I bet eight times out of 10 we can solve it and win the sale.”

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