Well.ca opens virtual store in Toronto

Retail for smartphone users on the go

Retail for smartphone users on the go

Online retailer Well.ca has partnered with Procter and Gamble (P&G) to launch a virtual store in downtown Toronto.

The virtual store is located inside a Toronto building near a subway station and consists of photographic representations of products. Consumers can download an app on site (or from the iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone or Android app stores) and use their smartphones to scan product QR codes and complete their electronic checkout. Products are delivered to customers’ home with no additional charge.

The store, which launched today and will remain open until April 30, features 120 P&G products including Pampers diapers, Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste.

“What we’re trying to do is let Canadians imagine what shopping can be like in the future,” said Paige Malling, vice-president of marketing for Well.ca. “We wanted to create this space and let Canadians see that there’s lots of different ways to shop, whether it’s online or in the store or a virtual store.

“[P&G] is a great partner to work with, especially because they have a lot of expertise in building shelves and those types of things which, as an online store, we don’t necessarily have that experience. And they’re really forward in terms of e-commerce and what they want to do with it.”

Malling said Well.ca was inspired by similar executions elsewhere in the world, including South Korean agency Cheil Worldwide’s virtual version of a Homeplus grocery store, which won the Grand Prix award at the Media Lions competition in Cannes last year.

Malling pointed out that the Well.ca initiative was the first of its kind in North America and differed from previous virtual stores in terms of the variety of products on offer and the existence of apps for a wider range of smartphones.

“We really wanted to bring it to Canada first,” said Malling. “It’s really a very visual experience, coming down and seeing the walls, and we wanted to let Canadians have that opportunity.”

Well.ca is publicizing the store with online and poster advertising. Well.ca developed the digital assets in-house and enlisted the help of Toronto-area firm Brandfire Marketing Group on the print creative.

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