Canadians are mostly practical people, so I am probably not the only person north of US border who has seen images or video of a new Canada Goose experiential store in Toronto and wondered why a cold room was needed, when parka-testing shoppers could just go outside.
On the other hand, would the shoppers come back with their pricey jackets?
And, of course, it’s not always cold up here.
So the set-up of this store does make some practical sense, but more to the point, the unique shop at the high-end Sherway Gardens mall in Mississauga is about experience and branding.
It is a store that is largely inventory free. The mall facade looks like a frozen rock face, and shoppers slip through a crack in it to enter the store, walking along a narrow passage with a floor that looks like crevasse ice … and virtually cracks from the shopper’s weight.
There are interactive mannequins that explain product, and a panoramic polar scene. Then there’s the cold room, which helps shoppers understand the jacket will keep them warm even at -10 Celsius. (It will be +3 C in Toronto today, so going outside would not close the deal).
On the other hand, it is -36 C in Edmonton, which is why I don’t live in Western Canada.
AV consultant Brock McGinnis summed the Sherway project up tidily on Linkedin:
Technical design, content and programming by Digital Kitchen. Systems supplied and integrated by Westbury National. Design (and concept) by Gensler (and Ideo). Construction by Structure Corp. Genius by Canada Goose.
Pretty cool, and a glimpse of how high-end brands are selling more on experience and driving aspirational buying. There are lots of options out there, at lots of price tiers, for warm winter parkas with or without down lining. But for whatever reason, Canada Goose caught fire as a brand and consumers want that logo on their cold weather jacket.
Having a store filled with endless racks of jackets and accessories doesn’t drive that brand, and convince people they need to fork out many $100s on a jacket. This sort of thing does.
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.