Ivanhoe, digital specialist create special mall experience

Ivanhoé Cambridge has enlisted w.illi.am/Valtech Group to assist with a pilot project using an omni-channel approach to stimulate traffic and increase sales at two of its shopping centres in Surrey, B.C. and Montreal.

Gift Shop“In terms of innovation and in-mall experience, it’s definitely a first in Canada and maybe in North America,” said w.illi.am/Valtech Group project lead Ludovic Maire.

One Stop Gift Shop

Surrey’s Guildford Town Centre launched its pop-up One Stop Gift Shop and e-commerce platform on Dec. 1. A website enables consumers to browse a list of suggested gifts selected by stylists and personal shoppers from 12 retailers in the mall.

Those presents can be purchased online and the consumer can park in reserved spots near the One Stop Gift Shop to pick them up, already gift-wrapped.

“We’re definitely trying to push forward the way people shop and help the retail industry benefit from digital marketing and digital experiences,” said Maire.

“There are a lot of struggles right now in that sector as companies like Amazon are taking huge chunks of the market. We want to help shopping centres and retailers compete with giants like Amazon and other companies.”

Guildford Town Centre came up with the concept and approached Ivanhoé Cambridge. The real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pension fund helped put it in place with the assistance of w.illi.am/Valtech Group, which has also launched a web platform for the company’s shopping centre websites during a two-year relationship.

w.illi.am/Valtech Group

Montreal-based w.illi.am/Valtech Group has a team of 70 people who design and develop digital and connected experiences and guide clients with digital innovation strategies.

“We’re working towards different digital pilots and a digital transformation of our shopping centres and retail portfolio, and w.illi.am is one of our digital partners in that, along with others,” said Jennifer Dunn, director of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s year-old digital marketing team.

Guildford Town Centre and Montreal Eaton Centre have also installed large screens created specifically for the initiative using Android technology. They offer a visual and interactive way to select gifts for different types of “hard to shop for” people, including the mother-in-law, the co-worker, the neighbour, the teacher and the party hostess.

Consumers are able to watch the virtual person’s reaction to the gift selected and, if they’re satisfied, can buy it — from the One Stop Gift Shop at the Guildford Town Centre or from a particular store at the Eaton Centre to which the person will be directed.

Pilot projects end on Dec. 24

These pilot projects will end on Dec. 24 and could lead to new connected environment projects in 2016. Their success will be evaluated on the number of visits online and to the Pop Up Gift Shop as well as sales, interactions with display screens and consumer-generated content.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from shoppers who are emailing or Facebooking us, and they’re saying how happy they are because they’re discovering products they wouldn’t have known about otherwise,” said Dunn.

“We’re just trying to see what works and what doesn’t work and assess from there whether we will scale it out to other properties or whether we will grow the experience at the properties where they’re at right now.”

Ivanhoé Cambridge owns 28 Canadian shopping centres in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.



Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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