Canadian Tire partners with AI research lab on omnichannel experiences

The retailer is working with the Vector Institute to find ways to differentiate and deepen the customer experience across its banners.


Canadian Tire is continuing to invest in its strategic omnichannel growth plan, announcing a five-year partnership with AI research lab The Vector Institute. 

The team up will have Vector’s community of artificial intelligence experts collaborate with Canadian Tire.

Canadian Tire is exploring the potential of AI-enabled solutions to create “a differentiated and deeper customer experience in-store and digitally.” It builds on the retailer’s March announcement that its recent omnichannel investment includes $1.2 billion earmarked for “improving the connection of digital and physical channels and driving an enhanced customer experience.” 

The move is aimed to enhance the customer experience across Canadian Tire’s banners, including its retail brand, but also SportChek and Mark’s, personalizing the shopping journey.

“We’re thinking differently about how best to provide a connected and seamless customer experience,” said Cari Covent, VP of enterprise data strategy and insights enablement at Canadian Tire Corporation. “Partnering with Vector will help us further enhance the customer experience both digitally and in-store, enabling us to better respond to their preferences and anticipate their needs.”

Launched in 2017, Vector is funded by the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, as well as a long list of industry sponsors. The Vector Institute works with industry, institutions, startups and government to build AI talent and drive research aimed at unlocking economic and social opportunities. Canadian companies it has worked with include BMO, CIBC, Telus, Scotiabank, Manulife and Thomson Reuters.

In May, Canadian Tire, which turns 100 this year, announced it was raising its dividend 25% following a Q1 earnings beat – reporting net income of $217.6 million, compared with $186.4 million a year ago.

In its recent earnings call, Canadian Tire says it’s honing in on attracting and engaging its loyalty members to gain further insights into their behaviours, and to shape sales through promos.

Greg Hicks, the company’s president and CEO, says that in addition to the rich first-party data it can mine through Triangle Rewards, its Triangle credit card provides critical insights into the retailer’s customers and their preferences and shopping behaviours.