Online Shopping Goes In-Store

At the base of Canadian Tire Corp. headquarters on Yonge St. near Eglinton Ave., a small, chic experiment is taking place.

Humble products, including baseball caps and cotton T-shirts, toques and hoodies, branded North Point, hang like designer wear off elegant racks in a small concept store being tested. The atmosphere is spare and white and bright.

It’s not just a different look for the retailer, which also runs more workmanlike Mark’s stores. Beside the wall of sneakers and shoes at the concept store is a tablet, where customers can swipe to find the shoe they want, to see whether it is in stock in their size, and have a sales associate bring it out of the storeroom to try.

In the store’s change room, another tablet. A shopper with an armful of products to try on can order a different size or colour, or a different product altogether — perhaps a pair of shoes suggested by the interactive tablet — without having to poke their head out of the room, flag down an associate and wait while the associate searches the floor and returns.

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