Melissa & Doug and Harnessing Digital Transformation to Achieve Success

Date Posted: September 27, 2022
Melissa & Doug uses as a keystone in their successful “Play to Win” initiative

From classic wooden toys to realistic pretend play sets, Melissa & Doug products inspire creative thinking through screen-free, open-ended play. It’s Melissa & Doug’s mission to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover their passions and their purpose.

In early 2020, Melissa & Doug embarked on a company-wide Play to Win initiative. They envisioned Play to Win as an always-transforming strategy to keep them in lockstep with their customers alongside the future of digital evolution.


Melissa & Doug’s internal assessment was that they were a well-known, well-loved brand, but that their brand recognition wasn’t where they wanted it to be. And while the company had grown every single year since its inception 30 years ago, they felt they weren’t capturing its full potential.

With that broad thesis in mind, Melissa & Doug knew they needed to better understand their existing business to identify untapped market spaces, improve in existing areas, and transition from organic growth to digitally-focused growth.


▶ A POS-based data analytics platform

The Melissa & Doug team knew that insights and analytics were core to their Play to Win initiative, and sought out enabling technologies such as’s data analytics platform. They specifically sought one that was simple to get up and running quickly as it would require adoption across the entire company to make the transformation successful. This proved to be prophetic as, little did they know at the time, volatility from the pandemic would require data-backed insights to surmount.

▶ Change management is a critical success factor

Melissa & Doug’s executive team knew the success of the transformation initiative would require team members at all different levels of the company to own component projects. The executive team identified project leads and set expectations up front that cross-functional partnership was imperative to achieve project goals which helped break down barriers across the organization. Team members were also empowered to ask questions upfront and to flag issues and obstacles when they arose so they could be solved as a group.

“Everyone from the sales analyst on the Kohl’s account to the CEO are using”

Roxanne O’Hara, VP of D2C, Specialty/B2B Sales, Analytics @ Melissa & Doug

Roxanne O’Hara, Melissa & Doug


Melissa & Doug’s partnership with has enabled them to: 
  • Achieve their goal of building a data-driven organization with an easy-to-use tool that delivers executive reporting to the CEO and enables detailed demand analysis for individual retail teams
  • Save time by automating data ingestion and harmonization of cross-retailer POS data
  • Spot category and segment trends to better craft more profitable, targeted promotions
  • Improve forecast accuracy by forecasting on POS data instead of shipments
  • Understand how categories & items penetrate in different retailers, segments, geographies
  • Better craft merchandising strategies when approaching a new customer or recommending a new planogram for an existing customer – bringing data to recommend best sellers rather than an extremely long tail of unproductive SKUs
Achieving a record year of growth: 

Melissa & Doug achieved a record year of growth in 2021 despite unprecedented supply chain and retail environment challenges. Because they were already on the digital transformation journey, they were able to see obstacles sooner, find ways to overcome them and have NO disruption to their business. They had stock on shelf when competitors did not. This allowed them to achieve much greater brand recognition across the various channels where their consumers are shopping and ultimately achieve their corporate mission of getting their toys into the hands of as many children as possible.

Key Takeaway

Melissa & Doug was already on the digital transformation journey when the pandemic hit the U.S. Because of this they were able to see obstacles sooner, find ways to overcome them and have NO disruption to their business.
They had stock on shelf when competitors did not.
Ready to learn more about how can help you achieve record growth? Contact us today!

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