Who says you can't teach a 90-year old retailer new tricks?

Canadian Tire announced that it will be significantly enhancing its digital technology practices in the next few months and to show it means business it has partnered with Communitech, a startup accelerator based in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Canadian Tire will have five full-time employees on site at its new Communitech lab to develop apps, content, and other digital innovations to improve the shopping experience of its customers both online and in-store.

Marco Marrone, Chief Operating Officer for Canadian Tire, reiterates: "We have been on a digital journey for several years now - and it is clear that to succeed we need strong capabilities in digital and technology. Our Communitech partnership puts us deep inside the smartest brain trust in Canada and will deliver the 'next in class' thinking that we need to lead the retail industry and deliver a better customer experience."

Canadian Tire already has a head start on the digital turnaround with more than 100 million visits to its stores in 2012, a popular retail app and an e-flyer that has obtained more than 20 million views. It also owns sports Sport Chek , which has among the most advanced digital retail space in North America on Yonge Street in Toronto, with more than 140 screens in less than 12,000 square feet that are pulling from more than 70 custom content feeds.

That has spurred new digital initiatives notably an upcoming deployment of about 5,000 tablets to enable staff to help customers more efficiently and developing more targeted content in catalogue, magazine and online community formats.

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