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07/30/2021

Canadian toy retailer grows digital sales 300% with AI

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Mastermind Toys is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to create a customized, personalized omnichannel experience, which is paying dividends.

After the outbreak of COVID-19 required Canada’s largest specialty toy and children’s book retailer to temporarily shutter its stores, the company quickly shifted to digital commerce and contactless, curbside pickup. To eliminate common online search issues, Mastermind Toys utilizes Fast Simon AI shopping optimization technology. 

The Fast Simon solution employs advanced techniques that understand shopper intent to match them with unique product collections. As a result, customers can digitally locate products at Mastermind Toys, even if they don’t know the brand name of what they are looking for. The retailer is also able to offer features such as curated web boutiques and a gift finder tool that allows gift-givers to customize their search.

These capabilities have helped Mastermind Toys grow online and mobile channel sales by approximately 300% in the past 12 months. Following the retailer’s increase in digital and contactless channel sales, it is modernizing stores with new spaces called “Woo-hoo HQs” for a new shopping experience that blends physical and digital experiences.

[Read more: CSA Exclusive: Footwear brand segments customers with AI]

“Mastermind Toys is proudly a customer-obsessed company. We are passionate about putting ourselves in our littlest customers’ shoes and providing experiences of wonder and delight in stores, online, or at curbside,” said Sarah Jordan, CEO of Mastermind Toys. “Fast Simon’s AI shopping optimization delivered the perfect digital advantage that matched our innovative curation of toys, books, puzzles, and games to bring our expertise in play patterns to life online. It solved nagging search issues for hard-to-find items that frustrated shoppers and amplified our creative offerings.”

“Mastermind Toys exemplifies how specialty retailers and brands compete on curation that differentiates them from the endless, impersonal results of the big internet retailer searches, such as Amazon,” said Zohar Gilad, CEO of Fast Simon. “AI shopping optimization offers the kind of intelligence that amplifies the creative work of expert human designers and merchandisers, like the play experts at Mastermind Toys, to instantly predict intent. Adding science to the art of merchandising, AI helps merchants take adaptive control of the shopping journey, ultimately driving search through personalization, reducing cart abandonment, and boosting average order volume and conversion rates.”

Founded as a single educational software store in Toronto in 1984, Mastermind Toys operates 68 locations across Canada and an e-commerce site.