New Store Design: Canadian Tire Showroom

I visited the new Canadian Tire Showroom store at Eglinton and Laird in Toronto. I was taken back by the transformation of not only the style of the store, but also the technology the store is using. You surprised me Canadian Tire.

When entering, the shopper is greeted by a digital screen that gives a little information on how the showroom works. There was a patio set that was beautifully merchandised with accessories from a rug to an outdoor fire pit; this foreshadows the tone for the entire store. The Showroom resembles an IKEA style format where products are displayed together in a realistic setting. The shopper then pictures their family creating memories instead of thinking about how to piece the products together from around the store. They have put together the ultimate camping trip or an epic barbeque so you don't have to. Since Canadian Tire has such a large range of products, they can take advantage of this selling style. Selling like this takes outstanding merchandising with eye catching layouts, trend setting color combinations and thoughtfully placed products.

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The layout of the store feels like a disassembled home. From front to back it turns from outdoor living, to garage, to inside the house. I can almost imagine the perfect suburban home with everything you’ll ever need.

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Around the outside walls of the showroom, they utilizes the huge airy ceiling heights to display product 40 ft in the air. Many retailers are concerned about getting products close to the shoppers’ eye to look, touch and feel. Canadian Tire is about seeing the idea: The collection of elements that make an environment. It feels like a life size pinterest page.

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The space is filled with digital screens. They are used for education, from how to buy a trampoline to styling your house and offer extra information on features, benefits and prices. Unfortunately the screens are unresponsive and not intuitive so it’s hard to control: I became frustrated and moved on.

The path to purchase was a little different from the expected. As you walk the showroom you would be accompanied by a store associate that would scan the items you wanted to buy. After all the purchases were made, he would download your purchase information to a card that you would take to the front cash to pay for the items. You could have the items shipped to your house or loaded into your car now or at a later date. I like the idea but would want the ability to scan or remove items myself and view my products on a tablet and even make credit card purchases using it.

Canadian Tire has taken the leap. It could have been a little further when it came to the functionality of the technology element, but definitly in the right direction.

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