Birks Launches Pilot Program to Target Chinese Visitors

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Birks, Canada’s leading luxury fine jewelry brand since 1879, has launched the pilot program u·plan in Canada, allowing Chinese travelers to download QR Codes containing Birks promotions on their mobile devices.

When Birks launched the program this spring, it was the first merchant to join u·plan in both North and South America.

“U·plan is the world’s first open cross-border marketing platform that provides services in the fields of finance, travel and retail. Inspired by new technologies such as Geo-fencing, u·plan focuses on accurate marketing and instant discounts for cross-border consumption, permitting cardholders user-friendly and upgrading capabilities,” said Aynsley Knight Mariani, director of public relations for Birks Group.

“As a growing brand, we believe that u·plan will benefit our customers – with a focus on our Chinese clientele – as we look to align ourselves with these technical capabilities while achieving our expanding objectives.”

She said the Chinese clientele is a large market for Birks and continues to grow and the program is currently available in all stores across Canada.

“Birks looks forward to aligning issuers, acquirers, travel agencies and merchants into the same industry chain with the ultimate focus of making the shopping experience more user-friendly in Canada,” said Knight Mariani.

Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and Chief Executive Officer of Birks Group, said the launch of the program is of great significance to the brand.

Birks said cardholders will have the ability to utilize u·plan by accessing the exclusive QR code gift certificate coupon in the mobile apps of UnionPay International and Chinese issuing banks such as Bank of China and China Merchant Bank.

“Alternatively, cardholders can receive the gift certificate coupons that could be used at the destination promoted by the apps of UnionPay International’s partner travel agencies at the time of booking airlines or hotels. A reminder to cardholders of these discount coupons will also appear when they are in the vicinity of any Birks location,” said the company.

Birks said it looks forward to aligning issuers, acquirers, travel agencies and merchants into the same industry chain with the ultimate focus of making the shopping experience more user-friendly in Canada.

Birks operates 28 stores under the Birks brand in most major metropolitan centres in Canada. The company’s history dates back four centuries to Sheffield, England.

In 1879, Henry Birks opened a jewellery boutique in the heart of Montreal. Birks now has an international reach and its collections are available through select Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths locations in the UK, in Mayors stores in the US and at select jewellery retailers across North America.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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