Digital toy store pops up, for a month, at Toronto's commuter hub
Walmart-Mattel virtual toy store (HO)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7:42AM EST
TORONTO -- Holiday shoppers walking through Toronto's business district now have the option of making purchases with their cell phones from a new virtual store.
Walmart Canada and Mattel Canada have set up a digital pop-up store at Brookfield Place in the PATH -- Toronto's underground tunnel network -- right next to an entrance to Union Station, the city's commuter hub.
The store features two walls with images of products like doll houses, toy trucks, and race car tracks, and will be open for the next four weeks.
To purchase the products shoppers use a smartphone app to scan a code, or access the store's website and find the product code manually.
Through the app, shoppers can charge purchases to their credit cards, and the products will be shipped to them before the holidays.
Toronto is Walmart and Mattel's first test-market for the virtual store, and the companies say they expect strong results.
"The objective was to provide an easy holiday shopping experience for the tech-savvy, time-crunched commuters that are going to and from Toronto every day," said Melissa Chau, brand manager for Mattel Canada.
Over 200,000 people pass through Union Station every day, "so there are a ton of eyes that are going to see this," Chau said.
"On top of that we've seen stats that say four out of five consumers are shopping with their smartphones."
This is thought to be the second store of its kind in Canada.
The first one, by Well.ca, popped up earlier this year in the same area of the PATH and gave commuters the option to shop for health and baby products.
Ali Asaria, the founder of Well.ca, said he considered the virtual store a huge success.
"We had tremendous growth, especially on the products that were on the virtual store," he said.
South Korea adopted virtual shopping on a larger scale last year when Tesco Homeplus, a retail chain in the country, put up billboards that featured their products accompanied by codes that could be scanned.
Virtual stores have also emerged in Sweden, started by a company called Jetshop. In the UK and Ireland, Argos, a general goods retailer, has launched its own string of coded stores.