Bayview Village keeps Lunar New Year prosperous

The Toronto mall's curated selection of goods and virtual self-care sessions aim to keep its high-end shoppers feeling pampered.

Lunar New Year themes of fortune, happiness and health might seem out of reach during a pandemic, but that doesn’t stop brands from trying to connect with consumers in different ways.

Sephora Canada is extending its “We Belong to Something Beautiful” diversity and inclusion-focused series to also include the two week-plus festival, with an influencer-led effort focusing on the meaning of Lunar New Year – and showcasing how people are still celebrating it amid lockdowns and social distancing.

Bayview Village, a QuadReal Property Group-owned shopping centre in north Toronto, is doing Lunar New Year differently and virtually this year, tapping into self-care trends accelerated by the pandemic.  

From Feb. 6 to 11, the shopping centre, in partnership with Chinese publication eliteGen, is hosting “Pamper in Prosperity,” a series of live virtual sessions meant to “help refresh, rejuvenate and discover your best self,” as the company describes them. It’s part of an effort to reach the mall’s haute fashionista audience, according to Rachael Tang, Bayview Village’s marketing director.

For $28, customers can purchase an exclusive self-care kit (valued at $200) featuring beauty, food and wellness goods from a number of its tenants, in addition to access to all six virtual sessions. There will also be a daily grand prize draw, valued between $130 to $200, and additional giveaways for attending the sessions throughout the week.

Available for curbside pick-up, the self-care kit includes Powder Kiss lipstick from MAC Cosmetics, and an assortment of products including juices, face washes and florals from Toronto brands like Pusateri’s Fine Foods.

Tang tells strategy that health and wellness is always a relevant topic around the New Year. “It is a reminder to cleanse and have a fresh start so given the current pandemic, it is more important than ever,” she says, adding that the Asian community has always been an important demographic for Bayview Village.

As reported in strategy, according to Vivintel data, Chinese consumers are an increasingly influential demographic group, 36% of whom report saying they like to live a lifestyle “that impresses others” compared with only 8% of the general Canadian population. That happens to fit well with Bayview Village’s positioning and roster of tenants, which are targeted to a more luxury-focused consumer, reflected in the package. “They are highly covetable, luxury products within the beauty, lifestyle, and wellness space that we felt our fashionistas would love.”

Last year, Bayview Village shopping centre hosted its first Lunar New Year customer initiative and created “haute” pink pockets to spread well wishes – a spin on the traditional red envelopes – as well as a gift with purchase incentive and a live artist installation at the shopping centre.

The success of that event informed the 2021 approach, and the brand wanted to offer something innovative to customers again this year, with the theme “pamper and prosperity.”

It is also informed by virtual events the shopping centre has hosted to keep itself and its tenants connected with consumers. A “Fashionista Virtual Summit,” in partnership with Canadian fashion and celeb news site The Kit, took place in October, followed by “Haute Holiday” virtual programming. Both events, Tang says, were incredibly successful, and that it wanted to keep the momentum going, specifically by offering its customers unique, one-of-a kind moments they responded well to – providing them the kind of care and exclusive experiences they would otherwise get in an in-person retail environment.

In addition to earned media, Bayview Village has a paid partnership with eliteGen to promote this Lunar New Year initiative across its radio, digital, and social channels. Bayview Village will be promoting it across its BV channels as well and is working with Jane Gill PR.

Retailers continue to struggle with economic uncertainty and heightened ecomm spending. At the onset of the pandemic, Deloitte’s COVID-19: Voice of Canadians and impact on retailers survey revealed that 66% of survey respondents said they would visit shopping malls less often, a point that almost became moot with a series of emergency lockdown measures that followed suit across multiple jurisdictions. According to the latest figures, e-comm spiked 68.5% increase for the 3 months ending October.