WE Store Toronto is the first retail store for ME to WE located at the iconic downtown CF Toronto Eaton Centre. With more than 21 screens and interactive elements carefully arranged in a 500-square-foot retail store, WE was able to create a beautifully immersive and educational retail environment.
WE is an innovative social enterprise that provides products that make an impact, empowering people to change the world with their everyday consumer choices.
The WE Store, which opened in September of 2016, was the next step in introducing people outside of school and student initiatives like WE Day, to the WE brand and its socially conscious message and products. Canada’s iconic CF Toronto Eaton Centre attracts an estimated 50 million visitors annually, and the WE Store location next to the subway provided the opportunity to expose WE to a whole new audience.
WE needed an eye-catching design that incorporated technology in a natural way to help showcase new products, introduce student and family trip programs and promote upcoming events as well as represent the excitement of the WE brand and its message.
WE Day events are big arena spectacles, and the international social programs span multiple countries and cultures. Trying to capture that experience in a 500-square-foot store was immediately seen as a challenge.
Technology needed to blend with the new store design and help tell a story as visitors moved throughout the store. There was a big desire to not only shape the look and feel of the store digitally, but to also provide immersive and interactive elements throughout. Back-end space was limited, and ambitious digital plans had to be weighed against all identified objectives for this new space.
Creating the store to be a first step for many as a way to get more involved with WE was key. A detailed content strategy would be needed for all channels that also allowed for them to be worked into the overall communications and marketing plans for WE as an organization.
WE chose BIG Digital to work with store designers right from the start to integrate the latest technology to help realize the WE Store vision.
The main focus of the store is the large “WE Wall” and ribbons consisting of Samsung ultra-thin bezel video wall displays. All content is created and displayed in 4K and is synchronized throughout the store. Individual 48-inch and 75-inch interactive touch displays provide a canvas for beautiful interactive storytelling from around the world and product showcasing beyond what is currently in store as well as in-store charitable programs.
Tabletop tablets are used alongside product to collect leads for trip programs as well allow customers to participate in the ‘Track Your Impact’ program right inside the store. Samsung Gear VR is also used to transport visitors through immersive 360-degree videos of trips to Africa and other WE experiences being filmed and updated regularly to the system.
Although the WE Store has only been open a few months, sales and awareness of the WE brand have jumped significantly against plan from initial estimates. BIG also added a Wi-Fi marketing program to not only provide Internet to visitors, but also to measure mobile marketing initiatives, record dwell times and provide other important day-to-day statistics in order to drive decision making.
Through WE Store digital, the live excitement of WE Day can now also be broadcast live into the mall, increasing traffic to the store and creating a sense of destination and moment with shoppers. The Store has already been the backdrop of key special events with many more planned as the digital ecosystem created provides unlimited ability to change the look and feel of the store anytime. Fact: No other retail store in CF Toronto Eaton Centre has as much technology per square foot as WE Store.