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Brief Published: 12 Nov 2012

Walmart and Mattel Digital Pop-Up, Toronto


The Canadian division of multinational general retailer Walmart and US toy manufacturer Mattel have joined forces to offer consumers in Toronto a faster and more convenient way to buy children’s Christmas presents; a virtual storefront in the city’s busiest station.

Open for just four weeks leading up to Christmas, the pop-up will feature two wall-mounted screens with images of products including dolls’ houses, toy trucks and racing car tracks. To purchase the products, shoppers download a smartphone app and then scan a barcode that sits alongside the image – charging the purchase directly to their credit card. The products will be shipped to them before the holidays.

The toy store pop-up is situated in the PATH – an underground tunnel network adjacent to Union Station in the heart of Toronto’s business district that is typically seething with commuters (over 200,000 people pass through the station every day).

“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. She added that the idea was fuelled by statistics showing that four out of five consumers now shop with their smartphones.

Walmart and Mattel are the latest in a succession of retailers to realise the potential of virtual stores and targeting consumers on the move. British food retailer Tesco recently trialled digital shopping walls at Gatwick Airport and, before that, in the South Korean underground. Similarly, the US edition of women’s fashion magazine Glamour ran a virtual apothecary on the streets of New York in February 2012.