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Case Study: Childish
Toy Store in Santa Cruz, California

Where Imagination & Customer Loyalty Go Hand in Hand

With its nostalgic feel and unique selection of hand- picked, eco-friendly toys, Childish Toy Shop has brought joy and wonder to Santa Cruz’ eclectic Midtown neighborhood since opening in 2010. “You walk in and can see beautiful, modern bicycles next to a 1920s metal truck. It just has a really nice feel to it” says store owner Dyane Villalobos. Inspired by her own experiences as a mother of two, Dyane opened Childish to provide local parents and kids with access to the types of toys that captivated her own children’s imagination. In the midst of the recession, Dyane saw an opportunity: “I felt like I could contribute positively to our community here in Santa Cruz by creating a pretty unique toy shop. With online shopping, kids today don’t often get that experience of coming into a toy shop, but when they do, you just see them sparkle and light up. It’s really special.”

Building Community Thru Play

To compete against online retailers, Childish strives to deliver an engaging, imaginative in-store experience to everyone who walks in the door. Dyane loves creating opportunities for local kids and parents to gather and build community—whether it’s holding art and coding workshops for kids or hosting groups for post-partum mothers. “As a community-builder, I’m really big on bringing people together and am very involved with a lot of things in the Santa Cruz area. It’s important to me that Childish gives back to the community, which is why we sponsor unique events like Gay Pride Midtown, host fundraisers for local schools, and more. Staying with that community mindset has really allowed us to grow — keeping our customers loyal to us and us loyal to them.”

Investing in Customer Loyalty

Childish Toy Shop has continued to grow each year, expanding to larger retail spaces, increasing sales, and earning new, loyal customers along the way. However, one element has always been missing from its business strategy — with shoppers over the years repeatedly asking Dyane if she had a customer loyalty program.

“I always said ‘we’ll get there,’ but now that we’ve been around for over 10 years, I felt like we really needed to get something in place, as customer loyalty is extremely important to me.”

Her local SnowShoe representative, Ron Sim visited Childish and Dyane was impressed, commenting
“I liked the way he sold Spark Loyalty® to me. There was no pressure. It came with the iPad and kiosk, seemed straightforward to use, and the price was right. I signed up right then and there! Now, I have five new customers signing up every day to be a part of this program, which is huge because I want to give back to my shoppers.”

With Dyane’s focus shifting towards rewarding repeat shoppers, Spark Loyalty has been an ideal plug and play solution. “There have been no glitches and we can do everything through the supplied iPad, which is wonderful. It’s right at the front of the register, looks clean, and goes with the rest of our façade. It’s performing well and our shoppers are very happy to see that we have a customer loyalty system implemented now. It’s a really easy interface for them to use— they just put in their phone number and that’s it.”

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