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Canada’s 1st 3D Virtual Grocery Store Opens in Partnership With McEwan Fine Foods

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Canada’s leading on-demand grocery delivery service Inabuggy has partnered with McEwan Fine Foods at CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto to launch what they call the first 3D virtual grocery shopping portal in Canada to enable customers to visually shop for groceries from home.

“We are thrilled to partner with Inabuggy to launch this exciting virtual grocery shopping portal at McEwan Don Mills,” said Mark McEwan, Chef and Owner of The McEwan Group. “We have a wide variety of unique products and quality produce and this feature will allow our guests to discover our offerings from the comfort of their homes, making it even easier to eat well.”

Inabuggy App Allows Customers to Browse Curated Aisles in Seamless 3D

By selecting the option to shop virtually on the Inabuggy app or website, customers are virtually transported to McEwan Don Mills (38 Karl Fraser Road, Toronto), where they can “walk through” the carefully curated aisles in a seamless 3D store environment and visually shop and select grocery items from the comfort of home.

McEwan first opened in June 2009. The company has three locations in the Toronto area.

McEwan Fine Foods is a gourmet marketplace and a reflection of Mark McEwan’s distinctive style of cooking. McEwan Fine Foods brings the freshest produce, world’s best culinary finds and Mark’s signature prepared meals straight to a customer’s table. The three Toronto locations are: McEwan Don Mills, McEwan Yonge & Bloor and McEwan TD.

“We’re all about edited grocery like a comprehensive grocery offer but really the main focus of the store is chef-prepared meals in conjunction with a full edited assortment from fish to meat to produce to dairy to flowers to pastries to cured meats. The whole idea of the store was I never really enjoyed going into 60,000-to-80,000-square-foot stores. We found them too cumbersome, too much repetition with offer and not really what I wanted,” said McEwan.

“So my vision of a store was to pick all my favourites in the categories and have comparative price categories as well. But just be mindful of that. All about the season. All about freshness. All about a chef driven kitchen.”

He said the chef-prepared component of the store is about half of the company’s business.

“I will also bring in other curated items from other chefs in the city that I think are really exceptional. We’re all about trying to offer the best offer that we possibly can. So if I find advantage to buying someone else’s product because it’s really, really great I think when you curate a really good assortment that’s really what you’re hoping for in a store,” added McEwan.

McEwan said Inabuggy came up with the concept of doing a virtual tour in a store so customers weren’t just looking at lists of product.

“It would give you a feel for the proprietorship of a store. They asked us to spearhead it and be the first to do it in Canada. We were very happy about that. What it does is give people that visual reference of product and style and quality and attention to detail. That in itself gives them better comfort than just a list of products when they go online with it. That whole ecommerce relationship with clients can be very analytical where food is anything but that. Food is generally very visual,” he said.

“I think what the visual tour does also is it will prompt people with ideas because they’ll see product that maybe they hadn’t thought of and that would maybe change their minds as to what a dinner party would look like or their shopping list would look like.”

He said the company’s main store represents the brand’s total offer and why the virtual tour is there.

Since launching in 2015, Inabuggy has allowed Canadians to shop thousands of items online and via the Inabuggy app from their favourite grocery and specialty stores including Costco, Rexall, and PetSmart – and have everything delivered to their doorsteps in as little as one hour.

Inabuggy’s personal shoppers handpick, pack and deliver orders to ensure quality and freshness, and to fulfill special requests from customers about their items. Inabuggy delivers to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, with more plans to expand in the coming months.

“Our first-of-its-kind virtual shopping portal piloted with McEwan Don Mills is offering customers a glimpse into the online grocery shopping experience of the future,” said Julian Gleizer, CEO and Founder of Inabuggy. “This premium experience enhances both customer engagement and convenience, and lets customers get a close-up view of store items within each aisle, letting them feel like they are physically in the store.”

Article Author

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 National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. i think that’s great for mcewan and his new app. issue i have is his prices are outrageous. more expensive than anyone else so hows this nee technology going to effect his already ridiculous prices? personally i wouldn’t shop in his stores or pay for his new app.

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