Canadian Tire outshines Walmart at their own game


walmart canada logo

WalMart’s great idea is being executed significantly short of its potential and not positively impacting sales in the way the Canadian Tire is.

The vast majority of WalMart greeters are GONE (Hey, I’m a Wally World fan and shopper across North America, because of their great value in several areas) but these people do not emotionally connect.  walmart greeterLast year I heard 3 consecutive “thanks for returning the cart” from one greeter, insincerely communicated and sounded like a run-on sentence!  So no wonder they have been abandoned.

To have worked effectively, WalMart/Greeters needed to do more with less.  If they have hundreds of customers per hour, they are more effective in dealing with the customer who makes eye contact (therefore is in need of assistance).  They should physically approach the customer and be asking how they can help their shopping experience and find something unusual or difficult in one of these mammoth stores.


Canadian trie stores

If you have been to a Canadian Tire store recently (for me Kingston & Perth ON), they are out-executing in every single corner of the store, taking the role of the WalMart greeter from the great concept it was, to one being executed by every employee in the store!

Returning to Canada after a 3-year absence, I was stunned by the positive transition in customer service and interaction in Canadian Tire stores.  CanadianTire customer interactionOn numerous occasions upon entering a store, from any one of several directions, I have had store staff warmly and openly interact and ask if there is something they can do to help me find an item that I am looking for.  They are sincere and virtually everyone correctly directed me to the aisle of the item that I was looking for.


It is so simple in your business?  Be sincere with the consumer either when entering your location or in any personal communication.  Don’t let them fumble around!  Note this does not mean be the fragrance people in the old-fashioned department stores or suit stores or car lots, where they hunt you down like deer fly to a moose.  Just a simple statement to get them talking.  Anything:

  • Is this your first time here?
  • Beautiful day outside, what brings you inside?
  • Do you live in town?  Where are you from?  Are you enjoying yourself here?
  • As it is (whatever day of the week), we are doing X special
  • When you are a one item store, what is it makes you special, (your USP), and tell them about one specific item that has a unique feature or benefit
  • Tell a joke?  ” why does virtually everyone believes in an invisible man in the heavens  who created the universe, yet tell them the paint its wet, and they have to touch it to be sure” 

Anything that will get the customer engaged.  You can then provide content.  Help them to learn about products, anything new or different in the store, or what your reason for being is.

If you have cashiers, get them to engage.  Not with meaningless things like did you find what you were looking for?  But rather:

  • Are you enjoying….. (time in town if it is a vacation spot), weather, anything timely, if there were samples being given out, did they try them, did they like them (if they did not see a purchase, what would encourage them to buy next time)
  • Are you a frequent shopper here?
  • What is your favorite?
  • Did you know that we carry (something others carry, but yours is different)

When you get people speaking back, you are being given permission to give them more content (information about your products or services, that would be of interest this time or in future).  You are then seen as more personable, caring and an expert, resulting in them more likely to return in the future to BUY MORE STUFF and also tell their friends about their experience.


I spent time training in a small coffee shop, in a small town with very distinct locally sourced and grown coffees.  It is a tourist town.In Store wall

So my first statement to any customer who has approached or entered the locations is:

  • Are you enjoying your time here?
  • Where are you from?  
  • What are you planning to do in the next few days?

From here I can provide advice on a unique local thing they can include in the next day or two, so now I am an expert and have given them something.  Next, I tell them something great about my product (not overwhelming them), and I offer them a sample.  Specialty TrioAfter they have tried this sample I ask for immediate, meaningful feedback with a loaded question.  Could you taste the hint of chocolate in that?

Now they have connected and I am more of a friend.  This means they are more likely to buy or buy more.

If they order a drink or small snack I tell them that we sell only locally sourced Free Trade coffee and that if you like your beverage or sample “You might consider taking a bag or two home as a gift for family or friends”.  Planting the seed of extended use.

As they are paying or leaving I then indicate that we are a new/unique craft business, Tri Level Chocoworking hard to grow in this rough and tumble digital world.  If they enjoyed their experience, we’d be so appreciative if they would just put a short, unique, one-liner on Google Review or other sites they use to communicate the quality of their visit.  Doing so will help us deliver this unique and indigenous experience to more people and to help the farmers that we buy from.

If you do not ask, you will never get!

How could they not?  They are using our free wifi and we have provided samples in order to connect with them!  logos of google, yelp trip advisorWe did not break the review rules, but rather engaged ….to encourage a review.  If they need a link to the site, ask for their number or email and you will send them a link.



Take this further correctly using the most effective and lowest cost marketing tool you have in your next experience as I uncomplicate marketing.

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