Mattel and Walmart open virtual store in Pearson airport

The brand and retailer are targeting busy travellers this holiday season

Mattel and Walmart are spending the holidays at Pearson Airport. The two have partnered on a virtual toy store that will be installed at the Toronto-area airport for four weeks starting Tuesday.

Travellers can use their smartphones as a “remote” by entering a URL displayed on the store’s screen. The experience happens entirely via the mobile web and doesn’t require the user to download an app.

Once logged in, consumers can build toy wish lists, look at products and play several interactive games designed for the virtual store. They can also make purchases and ship them anywhere in Canada, with no charge for standard shipping.

The store features a slew of Mattel’s top sellers, including Barbie, Monster High, Mega Bloks, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price and was built by the company’s technology partner, BrandFire Marketing Group. The virtual store is located by the airport’s food marketplace, an area of the terminal that 1.6 million travellers passed through in 2013.

Melissa Farjo, a brand manager at Mattel, said in a release that the virtual toy store is a reflection of two consumer trends: an increase in time spent on mobile and a higher demand for personalization. “That’s why we are taking mobile shopping one step further and providing Canadian travellers with a fun and interactive digital shopping experience – one that is fully personalized by the user and controlled in the palm of their hands.”

This is the third year Mattel and Walmart have partnered on a virtual toy store. In 2012, the two set up shop in Toronto’s underground PATH walkway and in 2013 the virtual store was located at another of Toronto’s busiest transportation hubs, Union Station.

“Shopping for toys during the holiday season can be very stressful with so many toys to choose from and finding the time to shop. The virtual toy store carriers some of the year’s hottest toys, making shopping easy, accessible, interactive and convenient, especially for the busy traveller,” said Cheri Anthony, Walmart Canada’s director of merchandising and toys, in a release.

The retailer has been testing several new ways of reaching consumers during the busy holiday season. Earlier this month, it hosted a “Holiday Helper Workshop,” a pop-up experience where consumers could play with and purchase toys from a variety of brands, including Mattel, Lego, Spinmaster and Hasbro.

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