OTTAWA — You know the digital era has fully arrived when even Sandy McTire, the Scottish icon that’s appeared on Canadian Tire’s paper money since 1961, is adopting mobile payments.

On Tuesday, Canadian Tire Corp. launched a digital version of its money that can be accessed with new versions of its mobile apps (on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry) and via a plastic card or Canadian Tire Options Mastercard. First announced Sept. 9 and made available as a pilot in Nova Scotia Oct. 10, the My Canadian Tire ‘Money’ loyalty program is now rolling out across Canada.

So why did it take so long to create a digital version of the paper-based loyalty program that’s been in circulation since 1958?

“It’s such a big part of our brand and our heritage that people wanted to tread very carefully,” says Rex Lee, vice-president of technology at Canadian Tire. “You don’t want to alienate your loyal customers. The stories are amazing of where Canadian Tire money is accepted at par and used for certain things. We didn’t want to lose that.”

A look at the new Money screen in Canadian Tire's mobile app.
A look at the new Money screen in Canadian Tire’s mobile app.

So the paper-based money remains. But on top of that is the mobile app and card-based loyalty program and Canadian Tire is hoping it will be able to collect data from it that will help it serve customers better. In fact, it has already put that data to use in Nova Scotia where the program has been trialled, Lee says.

For example, when customers prepare for Spring maintenance on their lawns, they need to buy an assortment of products such as wood chips, sod, and soil. Canadian Tire had organized those products by category, requiring customers to walk to different aisles to pick up each item. But data showed that many customers didn’t find each item, and would buy only four out of the five items they needed to do that job. So it made a change by grouping those products together, instead organizing inventory by brand.

“When we started organizing the brands together, it was easier for our customers and they could get it all at once,” Lee says. “We saw an uplift in sales.”

Whether consumers use a mobile app or card, they’ll be accessing their same Canadian Tire Money account, Lee explains. Users of the mobile app should also expect to see offers pushed to their devices after they start collecting points through the app.

Collecting Canadian Tire Money or using it for purchases is done by displaying a bar code in the app, and allowing the cashier to scan it.

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  • I picked one up at my local Canadian Tire. I’m going to validate it today. Thanks for posting the comments. You probably saved me some time and frustration!