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Could Ottawa’s Shopping Experience Be More Interactive?

Could Ottawa’s Shopping Experience Be More Interactive?


By Brian Clarke

Like many others this holiday season, I ran away from Ottawa—from its cold and from its snow. While it’s nice to get away for a week in Florida, I was pretty homesick by the end and eager to get back.

Once I was back in town, however, I realized that there are some things missing in Ottawa that many American cities have. I came back to Ottawa with a bunch of ideas of cool things that could improve our city.  I seem to have forgotten many of them (the vast amount of um, “sun” may have influenced that), but expect a common theme in my writing as these ideas start coming back to me.

That being said, one cool experience stands out as something Ottawa could use more of: interactive and novel store experiences.

If you’ve ever looked at our sister website, Rickshaw Media Group, you’ll notice that we are fans of the words ‘novel’ and ‘interactive’. They motivate our whole philosophy towards business – creating a novel and interactive experience between a brand and its customers.

I want to highlight one novel experience I had in Bass Pro Shop, in Fort Myers. If anyone has ever been there, you’ll know how cool this store is. I don’t even like fishing or hunting but I had a blast looking through this store; it became a “tourist” thing to do. They had things like a huge pond with live fishing demonstrations in store, as well as a classy seafood restaurant.

This Bass Pro Shop has a bear that you have to fight before you can get into the store.

Now I’m not saying we need a Bass Pro Shop in Ottawa, as I don’t think many people here are as interested in fishing and Hunting as in the American South.  However, I think we can create more of these interactive in-store experiences that not only show people what they can be doing with a product but also make it much more fun to shop, and possibly bring in some new customers who would have never thought to buy a product.

There are a few neat ideas along these lines already in Ottawa – I can think of the rock climbing wall at MEC, the mini rink/empty net at Pro Hockey Life, and the shark tank at Big Al’s in Kanata.  If there’s any I’m missing, please let me know in the comments.

So, building off our New Year’s Resolution for Ottawa of getting hungry and less complacent, what about striving to create more of these fun, novel and above all, interactive experiences for Ottawa shoppers.

This is my challenge for Ottawa store owners, and any brave entrepreneurs in 2013.