Immediately on the heels of my rant about a sporting goods retailer doing digital signage badly comes word of another Canadian retailer – also kinda sorta in the same category – expanding and revising its in-store digital signage.
Mountain Equipment Coop, or MEC, is very much like REI in the United States – with goods and apparel skewed heavily to outdoors pursuits that vary from day hikes and camping to climbing the seven summits.
The store has 20 locations across the country and has, I think, tended to do the USB stick/DVD thing at the few screens I have seen in the stores I know. Now MEC has announced a partnership with Cineplex Digital Media, and do the thing I think is smart for retailers: outsource the digital signage work.
As part of the new partnership, says a press release, CDM will work alongside MEC to provide ongoing customer support as well as develop and maintain a customer-first content strategy that engages and educates shoppers throughout their visits to the stores.
To further boost the in-store experience, CDM has installed an 86” touch overlay screen in the ‘basecamp’ area of MEC’s flagship store in Toronto, ON, which opened in April 2019. The screen provides a touch interactive solution that allows customers to easily access information on products and upcoming events.
Both new features are currently displayed at MEC’s new flagship store, with plans to expand to 20 additional MEC locations throughout Canada over the coming months.
“MEC’s mission to provide co-op members with not only outdoor gear,” says Fab Stanghieri, EVP/GM of Cineplex Digital Media, “but the community and know-how to make the most of it, matches perfectly with our digital media capabilities. We are happy to help support getting Canadians outdoors and exploring Canada’s natural wonders.”
MEC says it selected CDM for its deep expertise in designing strategic digital experiences for retailers, including its scalable and flexible content management and engagement platform, along with its award-winning content and creative work. Once rolled out, the MEC network will help strengthen its overall brand by improving the shopping experience and providing easy outdoor information to the co-op shopper.
It is hard to get wound up very much about a single touchscreen – albeit a big-ass touchscreen – but it is a start. Better than screens everywhere, with no real purpose other than eye-candy.
Cineplex has a solid background in this sort of thing. They did – as EK3 and then CDM – the Tim Hortons network for many, many years. It was a pure example of a total solution – hardware, software, management, monitoring and even creative. The Timmie’s people didn’t even have access to the CMS.
CDM is still involved with the coffee chain, I’m told, but not as heavily as it was for many years.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.