While the Garage brand has some 310,000 Web mail addresses of customers, it has more than 455,000 Facebook connections, making it an increasingly strategic channel. One of its early successes was conducting a contest to search for a real-life Garage model, where photos would be uploaded and voted on through its Facebook page. This was supported by in-store collateral with QR codes to drive further awareness. Joncas said the company has also used Facebook polls to better understand its target market.
A more recent contest featured videos that indicated a fighting couple could either make up or breakup. Customers could vote on how the story should end by sending a text message vote to Facebook, or even to YouTube.
"You have to have people dedicated, full-time, looking at this," he said. "That's one of the most important lessons we've learned."
While the customer-facing and internal IT Joncas is using to transform Groupe Dynamite serve many business needs, he told the IDC event he realizes there's a need for better integration. That's one of the reasons why, last year, Oracle announced that Groupe Dynamite had signed on as a customer of its Retail Suite for POS. This includes Oracle Retail Merchandising System, Oracle Retail Store Solutions, Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting and Oracle Retail Price Management. "We want to link all of these things together."
IDC uses a maturity model to gauge the level of interactive retailing in Canada, Hand said. The model ranges from non-mobile to foundational (where retailers are doing pilots around mobility), engaged (where they're making specific mobile investments), empowered (where they have enabled upsell/cross-sell apps, as well as apps for customers), to transformed retailers that fully empower employees and customers. Only 14 per cent of retailers in Canada, however, are in the engage to transform phases, according to Hand. Most are doing nothing at 35 per cent. That's a problem, because given the nature of this market, the competition around interactive retail is bound to get intense without warning.
"While I was here, I visited the Toronto Eaton Centre," she said. "I didn't do an exact accounting, but I estimated that maybe 40 to 50 per cent were global retailers, brands I sees everywhere she goes around the world. Some of these companies, they just have to decide to turn it on anywhere, and then it's here."
OMICHANNEL RETAILERS IN ACTION
Leslie Hand is standing with her legs slightly apart, her head bowed over the smart phone in her hands, pretending she is in a checkout line frantically doing price comparisons before handing over her credit card.
bile retail were based on work by U.S. firms. Some ideas that Canadian SMB retailers might steal include: