Hard on the heels of the WOW Guide launch, Greg Hicks, Senior Vice President Merchandising at Canadian Tire shares his perspective on what customers can expect from the new interactive catalogue and what’s next for the brand as they expand their omnichannel efforts.
K – Can you describe the WOW Guide and share your thoughts on what customers can expect from both the paper and digital editions?
G – Canadian Tire’s WOW Guide is an innovative shopping experience. The 200-page print guide is full of over 1000 finds covering everything from lawn and garden to home décor; but it’s the digital component of the guide that makes the experience unique. This is where double the amount of content can be found, including:
Access to expanded product assortment
How-to tutorials/DIY videos from experts
Ability to check inventory at your local store
Purchase ability (Pay & Pick-Up in store)
K – What inspired Canadian Tire to launch the WOW Guide and can you share some details about the discussions that went into the launch?
G – It all came down to great assortment. Last year when we opened our largest store in the country, the Canadian Tire Showcase Store in Edmonton, Alberta, we saw our assortment come to life in an entirely new way. As we walked through the store for the first time, we realized just how far our assortment had come in the last few years; from there the WOW Guide became a group effort amongst the team at Canadian Tire. Advances in technology have created new synergies between digital and print that we wanted to bring to our customers. The WOW Guide enables us to showcase our products in a dynamic manner that wasn’t previously available to us. We wanted to let our customers know that Canadian Tire really is the retailer of the future.
K – What new brand story are you telling with the launch of the WOW Guide?
G – We have a vision to be the most innovative retailer in the world in the eyes of our customers – the WOW Guide is helping achieve that by providing shoppers with a digital shopping ecosystem; something they’ve never seen from Canadian Tire before. We’ll continue to move the needle on innovation – there’s much more to come.
K – Why did Canadian Tire choose to increase its focus on augmented reality?
G –Allowing customers to experience our products through augmented reality is something we’ve been developing internally for quite some time. Available at our Edmonton Showcase store, we wanted to make the experience available to a wider range of Canadians by including the option within the WOW Guide; by using Google cardboard or other V/R technology, we’re allowing users to try out all of our different patio products to see how they would look in their backyard.
K – ‘Phygital’ – The buzzword with the launch of the WOW Guide – how does the WOW Guide marry both physical stores and digital channels?
G –The WOW Guide provides us with unlimited space to highlight product and do so in an inspirational way, something we just don’t have the space to do within our physical stores. In addition, it gives customers access to dynamic pricing, the ability to check inventory at their local store, and even find out the exact aisle where a product can be located. We’ve created a truly engaging digital experience that makes the in-store experience much more seamless and simple for our customers; something we always aim to do!
K – How can the content seen throughout the WOW Guide enhance the shopping experience and boost in-store and e-commerce conversions?
G – We’re excited about the innovation offered by the WOW Guide, as well as its ability to offer more products to local customers. We recognize that store footprints can’t always accommodate all the SKUs that we offer. This is one way for our smallest store to be on par with our largest. We like to say that the WOW Guide turns even our smallest footprint store into the biggest Canadian Tire store with the widest selection of products. Consumers can shop online and have the products shipped to their local Canadian Tire store for convenient pick up.
K – What is the secret to the WOW Guide’s digital longevity?
G –Now that we’ve got one WOW Guide under our belts, we’re receiving feedback on what worked well and what didn’t and are doing due diligence to collect reaction. We saw a very positive response from the first iteration and look forward to releasing the Winter edition in November 2016. We’ll keep it fresh by adding more digital extras, inspirational photography and enhancing the overall experience.
K – How will the WOW Guide bring customers closer to the brand?
G –We have a very powerful weekly tool in the Canadian Tire flyer and customers love engaging and reading it on a weekly/monthly basis. We feel the WOW Guide will help increase brand affinity by showing customers a Canadian Tire they’ve never seen before via an innovative and interactive vehicle.
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***All images provided by and authorized for distribution by Canadian Tire