Cineplex and Cadillac Fairview’s long standing partnership is looking to expand further and to innovate new ways to attract shoppers. The collaboration aims to enhance the consumer shopping experience by integrating immersive digital displays and personalising advertising with key data-driven insights – changing the retail landscape in Canada. Fab Stanghieri, executive vice president and general manager at Cineplex Digital Media, and Jason Anderson, the senior vice president of CF, discuss the progression of digitalization in shopping, the current state of digital screens, and plans for the future such as increasing interactive technology and personalisation.
Reshaping the shopping experience in Canada’s leading malls, the state-of-the-art and interactive directories are a strategic tool designed to personalize and transform the consumer journey. By using advanced data-driven advertising and AI, the partnership aims to deliver targeted and engaging content – influencing shopping behaviours and purchases.
The digital transformation goes beyond consumer experiences; it opens new avenues for retailers within CF properties to engage more meaningfully with consumers. Despite the challenges of keeping up the pace with the rapid technology advancements, the partnership between CF and Cineplex is looking to create advancements. Digital screens in malls can have a huge impact on consumer behaviours such as what shoppers are buying. These screens also showcase sales throughout the mall, and can help with navigation.
“We have had a long term partnership with CF as we opened at the Toronto Eaton Centre with 18 screens in 1979. We have been in the mall and media business for a number of years and CF chose us based on our approach. We are experts in location-based digital signage solutions and are very different from our peers. We provide end-to-end digital signage experiences and in-store retail media networks for some of the leading brands,” says Stanghieri. “If you look at the emerging technologies now, we think advertising in the shopping experience is set to become even more targeted and personalised – and that is the bigger opportunity. Is it not just about technology, it is more about how we can work with advertisers; using data-driven insights to deliver increasingly relevant and personalised messages to shoppers that create highly engaging, targeted campaigns that resonate with individual shoppers and ultimately – influence their journey.”
Stanghieri says the screens have been improved to be more attention grabbing, bright, can be anywhere from 65 to 85 inches, and have evolved over time. As the costs today are more affordable than before, Stanghieri says there are more opportunities for businesses to target audiences and increase personalization. Anderson says the digital screens act as a digital directory and are two sided: one is about helping customers find where they need to go, and the other side is large digital screens which will be upgraded over the next year to get them to be more immersive and entertaining for consumers.
“We are constantly thinking about how we can create more entertaining experiences for our customers, and digital media plays an important part of that. Being able to leverage digital screens throughout properties, helps bring people together and creates this really interesting dynamic place where we can add to the experience. And we can also have the opportunity to bring brand new brands and advertisers into our centre that want to tell a story to customers,” says Anderson.
Expansion into Digital Media
Cineplex and CF are taking advertising to the next level as they are going to be rolling out a massive expansion of digital screens across Canada’s top malls, such as 200 digital display screens in CF shopping centres in CF Toronto Eaton Centre, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver, CF Chinook Centre in Alberta, CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa, and CF Carrefour Laval in Quebec. Anderson and Stanghieri say it is not just about adding more screens – but changing shopping behaviours.
“I am really happy to say our network includes nine out of the ten highest visited shopping centres in Canada with CF and there is more to come as there will be some additional properties hopefully added shortly. We pride ourselves on being a one stop shop for media buyers looking to target mobile shopping audiences in Canada. Retail media is on everyone’s mind, because it really allows retailers to further monetize the audiences they have in their spaces,” says Stanghieri.
Anderson says these screens will also be more interactive, bringing significant benefits to retailers.
“The benefit to our retailers is that you can target consumers with a message inside our property before they even enter your store. Having these screens in our malls allows retailers to deliver their story. Yes, retailers could target a customer on their mobile device or at home, but there is this one method that really delivers the last mile of retail and that is the digital screens inside the property,” says Anderson. “When someone is walking through a shopping centre, and all of a sudden sees content from one of our retailers, that is ultimately going to engage them at the moment they are walking through the mall and consumers will be interested in buying the product. Tell consumers a story, inspire them, give them information, and ultimately – attract a customer to walk those few extra steps and make that turn into your store.”
Digital integration is no longer a luxury – but a necessity
Just being a touchscreen is not enough, Anderson discusses how he plans to transform its digital structure: “We are constantly thinking about how we can create more entertaining experiences for our customers.” Anderson’s goals for the screens are to make them larger, brighter, more vibrant, and more engaging: “Turning shopping centres into not just places for commerce, but immersive digital experiences.” Overall, Anderson wants to make sure the screens contribute meaningful information and will attract customers to stop and look.
To make the content more meaningful to consumers, Stanghieri places a strong emphasis on data-driven advertising, to allow shopping centres to have a more targeted and personalised approach by using AI technologies. This approach will leverage consumer data to enhance the relevance, timing, and impact of advertising content, making it more engaging and tailored to individual consumers. Stanghieri’s vision is for these digital platforms to showcase unique shopping habits, preferences, effectively influencing purchase decisions, and enhance consumer’s experience in the mall.
These goals don’t come without challenges as Stanghieri and Anderson both understand the complexities in the cutting-edge digital technologies into retail environments. Main challenges include keeping up with technology advancements, creating new innovations for screens to keep people engaged, and blending digital experiences with the aesthetic of shopping centres, ensuring the technology enhances rather than disrupts a consumer’s experience.
While the path forward may be lined up with challenges, it comes with rewards – a new way of advertising, an enhanced shopping experience for consumers, and more consumer engagement. As the partnership between Cineplex and CF grows, so will its innovation; paving a path for the future of retail in Canada.
“Our goal is to build the most sought-after digital media network in the country and we feel confident that we are going to do that and Cineplex is a really great partner. We are so excited to expand our partnership as we have been working with them for decades. We really want to go out and create engaging experiences and these vibrant destinations, and Cineplex is a great partner to do that with,” says Anderson.