3 mins

EML Payments is the world's biggest name in gifting solutions. The company's North American malls partner, Cadillac Fairview, has mastered the art of bridging unique physical and digital customer shopping experiences across an impressive 35 million square foot retail and office portfolio.

Jose Ribau, Executive Vice-President of Digital & Innovation at Cadillac Fairview, began a lively conversation with EML with his reflections on 2021:

”The business went from crisis to trying to recover, to now – where we’re seeing early signs of thriving. Businesses started to reopen, and consumer sentiment is up. Over the last 6 months, there’s been a shift from the crisis of disaster of lockdown to consumers and shoppers starting to appreciate it’s safe to go out.

Retailers and brands were delighted to see more creativity around customer engagement, with digital and online growing significantly. We continue to find exciting ways to connect clients to marketplaces and ecosystems. There’s an ever-increasing level of innovative interaction between brands and clients, which is very positive.

The EML and Cadillac Fairview partnership is an example of a successful product journey. We have a great collaborative partner playing an active listening role, even as remote working became the new norm. We leaned in together and worked hard to figure out how to solve problems like how to cleverly market when malls were closed. Take Ontario, where we had malls closed for over 200 days of the year, comprising nearly 50% of our total volume, but we still did it. Looking back on the 12 months, we sometimes wonder, how did we ever accomplish so much? With the new product lineup on the digital gift card front, we’re now on such a firm footing.”

Jose Ribau shared his thoughts on the Christmas buying rush:

”The holiday season is our super bowl. It’s the opportunity to show up, be in the market, and get noticed. Right now is our chance to impact retail, and have our team deliver the best physical, digital, visual, sensory and storytelling experiences. We had more than 300,000 attendees on various platforms last year through the holiday as we expanded to launch more digital experiences.

Enabling customers to search for a store, a brand, a product, and pay on a mobile device gives us the ability to create outstanding marketing campaigns. Payments is the pillar of how we differentiate the experience. An attractive offer could mean a customer spends $100, and we give them an extra $10 on their card.”

Jose’s 2022 predictions:

”Since being introduced during the pandemic, many of the customer-focused solutions, like curbside pickup and mall-based delivery fulfilment, have solved an important need that are likely here to stay, possibly for the long term as customers find these valuable ways to interact with the properties. We anticipate creating a service to manage centralized collect and return for shoppers instead of pick up from each retailer as there’s so much volume. It’s a terrific way to bring consumers and retailers together.

Here’s what we predict will translate into higher sales per visit. Not treating physical shopping separately from the online experience – bringing these two essential aspects together. Urban malls stay relevant, transactions are simplified, and no one has to carry around shopping bags with a centrally consolidated experience where items are put in your car or sent to your home or office. It’s a better way to experience shopping.

With less international travel in the short term, we anticipate more staycations where people have realized there’s so much goodness in their local community, neighboring state or neighboring province. It’ll create a different kind of tourism where we can influence the buying experience and attract repeat visitors in the future.”

About Cadillac Fairview
Cadillac Fairview (CF) is a globally focused owner, operator, investor, and developer of best-in-class real estate across retail, office, residential, industrial and mixed-use asset classes. Wholly owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, CF manages in excess of $35 billion of assets across the Americas and the United Kingdom, with further expansion planned into Europe and Asia.

Internationally, CF invests in communities with like-minded partners, including Stanhope in the UK, Lincoln Property Company in the U.S., and Multiplan in Brazil. The company’s Canadian portfolio comprises 69 landmark properties, including the Toronto-Dominion Centre, CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Tour Deloitte, CF Carrefour Laval, CF Chinook Centre and CF Pacific Centre.

Continually striving to make a positive impact in communities where it operates by promoting social connection, growth, and a sustainable future, CF’s Purpose is Transforming Communities for a Vibrant Tomorrow.