Oxford Properties Launches Online Shopping Platform ‘StyList’ for Malls [Interview]

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Oxford Properties has launched StyList, an online shopping platform that allows consumers to search and shop from different stores with a single basket and single transaction. 

The unique initiative is available at the real estate company’s properties at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.

“We know that the customer journey begins online with customers searching before they buy a product. We designed StyList to let visitors make the most of their time at our centres beyond shopping, to enjoy dining and entertainment amenities,” said Lucia Connor, Vice President of Marketing, Oxford Properties.

 “By providing real-time live inventory from participating retailers, our customers can plan ahead before they shop in-mall or browse online and buy from multiple stores in a single transition. Our StyLists complete the transaction by shopping each store and packaging the items for in-mall or curbside pick-up at no additional charge for the service.” 

Image: StyList

In 2019, Oxford launched a platform called ShopNow. It wanted to expand the search capabilities on its website to meet the growing trend of people researching online before buying products.

“We understood that the way customers were shopping they don’t necessarily come to the mall to window shop like we used to . . . We wanted to get to a place where we could support our customers in bridging the gap between online search and physical stores,” said Connor. “We had ShopNow and what it was able to provide is a listing of products.”

Lucia Connor

The online platform made it possible for customers to search store products at all its malls as a way of nurturing property-specific loyalty and engagement. To enhance the ShopNow platform and make shopping seamless, Yorkdale and Square One evolved the platform, now launching as StyList, Oxford’s first omni-channel platform that allows consumers to search and shop inventory with a single basket and single transaction. Guests may pick up the parcels at Yorkdale Guest Services/Square One Guest Services or curbside at no additional charge for the service. 

“We were fine at search (with ShopNow) but after the pandemic we recognized that we really wanted to take it to the next level which is how can we further bridge the gap between our retailers and our actual stores that are available in our mall,” said Connor.

“So we’ve added the functionality of live inventory. StyList now has the capability to review products that are available in stores. A really great filtering opportunity for the customer . . . We’ve added a customer amenity on top of that and this amenity allows a customer to now bring in products from one or more stores and add it to a single basket and then they can actually shop Yorkdale or Square One with a single transaction.

“The order comes through to our Customer Service Desk, they receive the order and then they go shopping on behalf of the customer, they group all of the products together and the customer is alerted via text or email whatever the customer selects as a point of communication. And they can connect. If there’s a price difference, if the size isn’t there by the time they go pick it up, they have an opportunity to communicate. And the customer is alerted when the order is ready for pick-up. They can come into the mall at a central location and we even provide curbside pick-up at valet.”

Image: StyList on Yorkdale.com

StyList can be accessed via Yorkdale.com or ShopSquareOne.com. The platform also includes a Wishlist feature, for consumers to save their favourites to purchase at a later time or share with family and friends.  

Connor said there are about 65,000 products available at each of the malls.

She said the retailers need to have a live inventory capability in order to be part of the platform. 

Yorkdale and Square One are the largest shopping centres in Oxford’s portfolio. They were also the first properties that piloted the first iteration of the concept as well.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Search for your item of choice (for example, a black dress) 
  2. Narrow down your search by filtering by brand, store, colour, price and/or category. 
  3. Choose your desired item and add to your cart or wishlist (to be saved for later). 
  4. Checkout.  
  5. Wait for a pick-up confirmation email (within 48 hours), then pick up your items in-mall or curbside, at no charge. 
Image: StyList on shopsquareone.com

Connor said Oxford will roll out the concept to other properties in the future.

“This is a test for us. We’re doing a pilot and so we will have the opportunity to expand it across our other shopping centres. Our other shopping centres have the ability, we call this a Wishlist, they still have the ability to select products and they drop it into a Wishlist and that tool really helps and re-enforces the ability to plan your visit so you know when you’re coming in the products are available in-store and you’re not just searching for the store itself.”

Oxford Properties Group, established in 1960, manages approximately C$60 billion of assets across the globe on behalf of its co-owners and investment partners. Oxford’s portfolio encompasses office, retail, industrial, hotels and multifamily residential and spans more than 100 million square feet in global gateway cities across four continents. Oxford is owned by OMERS, the AAA credit rated defined benefit pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees. 

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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