Birks Launches Pilot Program to Target Chinese Visitors

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By Mario Toneguzzi

Birks, Canada's leading luxury fine jewelry brand since 1879, has launched the pilot program u·plan in Canada, allowing Chinese travelers to download QR Codes containing Birks promotions on their mobile devices.

When Birks launched the program this spring, it was the first merchant to join u·plan in both North and South America.

“U·plan is the world's first open cross-border marketing platform that provides services in the fields of finance, travel and retail. Inspired by new technologies such as Geo-fencing, u·plan focuses on accurate marketing and instant discounts for cross-border consumption, permitting cardholders user-friendly and upgrading capabilities,” said Aynsley Knight Mariani, director of public relations for Birks Group.

  Yorkdale Shopping Centre Location (Toronto). Photo: Birks

Yorkdale Shopping Centre Location (Toronto). Photo: Birks

  Photo: Birks

Photo: Birks

  Rideau Centre Location (Ottawa). Photo: Birks

Rideau Centre Location (Ottawa). Photo: Birks

“As a growing brand, we believe that u·plan will benefit our customers - with a focus on our Chinese clientele - as we look to align ourselves with these technical capabilities while achieving our expanding objectives.”

She said the Chinese clientele is a large market for Birks and continues to grow and the program is currently available in all stores across Canada.

“Birks looks forward to aligning issuers, acquirers, travel agencies and merchants into the same industry chain with the ultimate focus of making the shopping experience more user-friendly in Canada,” said Knight Mariani.

Jean-Christophe Bédos, President and Chief Executive Officer of Birks Group, said the launch of the program is of great significance to the brand.

  Downtown Montreal Location. Photo: Birks

Downtown Montreal Location. Photo: Birks

  Saskatoon Location. Photo: Birks

Saskatoon Location. Photo: Birks

  100th year anniversary Catalogue. Photo: Birks

100th year anniversary Catalogue. Photo: Birks

  Quartier DIX30 Location (Brossard, Quebec). Photo: Birks

Quartier DIX30 Location (Brossard, Quebec). Photo: Birks

Birks said cardholders will have the ability to utilize u·plan by accessing the exclusive QR code gift certificate coupon in the mobile apps of UnionPay International and Chinese issuing banks such as Bank of China and China Merchant Bank.

“Alternatively, cardholders can receive the gift certificate coupons that could be used at the destination promoted by the apps of UnionPay International's partner travel agencies at the time of booking airlines or hotels. A reminder to cardholders of these discount coupons will also appear when they are in the vicinity of any Birks location,” said the company.

  Yorkdale Shopping Centre Location (Toronto). Photo: Birks

Yorkdale Shopping Centre Location (Toronto). Photo: Birks

  Chinook Shopping Centre Location (Calgary). Photo: Birks

Chinook Shopping Centre Location (Calgary). Photo: Birks

  Carrefour Location (Laval, Quebec). Photo: Birks

Carrefour Location (Laval, Quebec). Photo: Birks

Birks said it looks forward to aligning issuers, acquirers, travel agencies and merchants into the same industry chain with the ultimate focus of making the shopping experience more user-friendly in Canada.

Birks operates 28 stores under the Birks brand in most major metropolitan centres in Canada. The company’s history dates back four centuries to Sheffield, England.

In 1879, Henry Birks opened a jewellery boutique in the heart of Montreal. Birks now has an international reach and its collections are available through select Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths locations in the UK, in Mayors stores in the US and at select jewellery retailers across North America.

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.