By Peter Saunders
Mark’s, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Tire, is renovating and redesigning its clothing stores across Canada. Formerly known as Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the retail chain is incorporating digital signage into its new shopping environments in multiple forms, including both passive and interactive displays.
As a central component of the overall rebranding process, Mark’s has selected AdFlow Networks, an information technology (IT) company based in Burlington, Ont., as its new digital signage provider, working in partnership with Mediavation, a Montreal-based advertising agency. Their goal is to use innovative, dynamic in-store media more strategically than in the past, to deliver unique shopping experiences for each customer and achieve a variety of business objectives.
Forming a partnership
Mediavation is a longstanding agency partner to Mark’s, having worked with the retailer for 20 years. It has been the driving force behind the new vision for in-store digital media, including content creation. The company recommended AdFlow to help achieve this vision after a previous digital signage system had not met the retailer’s expectations and needs.
“We and Mark’s decided to partner with AdFlow after much due diligence,” says Joseph Levy, president of Mediavation. “The decision was made mainly because of their years of experience and proven expertise.”
By way of example, AdFlow had previously arranged liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in strategic zones of Grand & Toy stores, including outward-facing displays in the front windows that were readable even in the glare of sunlight. And the company had paired passive and interactive displays in both Rogers and Telus stores, including ‘lift/touch’ systems that brought up pertinent product information on-screen when triggered by a customer picking up a tethered mobile phone. The projects provided precedents for Mark’s.
“We felt they had a powerful and flexible system that would allow us to integrate our multi-platform digital signage strategy seamlessly,” says Tom Ranieri, associate vice-president (AVP) of store design for Mark’s.
AdFlow was called upon to provide everything from hardware components to content development, based on ideas from Mediavation’s collaborative teams.
“We are delighted to be their in-store digital media partner and a key contributor to this initiative,” says Mike Abbott, president of AdFlow. “Retailers today are looking for new and more effective ways to promote their brands, educate and entertain their customers and drive sales. Mark’s and Mediavation are leading the way together by creating a unique and engaging shopping experience.”
The deployment began in 2011 and will reach both the new rebranded stores and upgraded existing stores over a two-year period, on a region-by-region basis.