While the revival of Zellers floods many with nostalgic memories, the company responsible for its return has a different goal in mind, says a University of Guelph marketing expert. 

Dr. Tanya Mark smiling in gray jacket
Dr. Tanya Mark

Dr. Tanya Mark is a professor at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, where she studies customer experience, customer management and marketing strategy in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies. Mark also creates models to analyze how marketing activities and customer behaviour affect the allocation of marketing resources.  

“Hudson’s Bay, like many retailers, is struggling to compete,” says Mark. “They need to attract and retain customers to remain successful.” 

One way to do that is to expand the types of products available online and in store. For Hudson’s Bay, bringing back Zellers is just one option, since there will be even more products available at different price points to offer customers variety. That’s also likely the reasoning behind The Bay’s recent partnership with MEC, Mark says.  

Plus, the move will attract new customers and “increase the value of the shopping basket for those who already shop at The Bay.” 

“By partnering with premium brands and offering exciting, quality brands at a reasonable price across all retail channels, the company is hoping that consumers will continue to buy from The Bay,” she adds. 

While The Bay’s recent marketing decisions seem reasonable, it overlooks the success of department store giants like Walmart and Amazon, she warns. So, if The Bay wants to join their ranks, it will need to make significant investments in technology to improve its online shopping.  

“People want to browse and make a purchase whenever they have time and don’t want to be restricted by a company’s hours of business,” says Mark. “It’s essential for The Bay to improve this component of their business to remain competitive, especially post-pandemic.” 

Mark is available for interviews.  

Dr. Tanya Mark