I love books and lattes. I love stationary and giftware. I love home decor and seasonal accoutrements. I love shopping at Indigo.

Where else can you sip on a hot beverage, stroll through aisles of magazines, books, toys, notebooks, greeting cards, cocktail accessories, fine chocolates, cozy blankets and throw pillows? Where else can you find a lovely, quality gift for a colleague or for your mom? And if you really want to, you can also smell delicious candles, peruse playful purses, and try on stylish cashmere-blend scarves. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

Actually, I do want more. I want to shop for furniture and party supplies. Aside from clothing and shoes, they’re my favourite product categories. Indigo doesn’t carry these product categories in their stores, but they do offer limited furniture and partyware online. Naturally. Thankfully.

Indigo came into the Canadian marketplace in 1996, founded by Heather Reisman, chair and CEO. Coles, W.H. Smith and Smithbooks were its predecessors, with Chapters Inc. being born in 1995 and Indigo launching a year later.

Indigo is Canada’s largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer. According to the Indigo website, the company was “conceived as a booklover’s cultural department store and aims to consistently provide the most inspiring, richly stocked and inviting retail environment in the world.” I think they’ve nailed it.

What makes Indigo stand out?

Indigo carries an astounding collection of books and on-trend gift and homewares. They carry hot brands (e.g. Kate Spade New York, Sugar Paper, Rifle Paper Co., Umbra, Owen & Fred, etc.) that can’t be bought together anywhere else, and they have their own exclusive, in-house line of products that are contemporary, stylish and irresistible. For me anyway. Can’t get enough.

The in-store experience is relaxed and visually beautiful, and online shopping experience is easy, customizable (great wish lists and gift lists), and cost-saving. The online deals are fantastic, and orders over $25 have free shipping. The best.

How do Indigo’s signature elements translate into their web and social media presence?

Much like the physical store, the online shop has clearly demarcated product categories, and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can look through the sale items, shop your favourite categories and brands, all the while collecting items in your virtual shopping cart or adding them to your wish list or gift lists. It’s easy, visually enticing, and hassle-free. Everything shopping should be.

Indigo’s website includes a great deal of white space. It is a design dream: clean, clear, allowing colours and designs to really pop. Everything is sorted into neat, tidy squares or rectangles. Indigo’s social media channels tie in nicely with the website experience, using the same iconography, fonts, colours and styling. Their Facebook page is great for following sales, special offers and new product releases. Their Instagram account gives us a glimpse into the sort of life we may wish to live. A woman in a cozy sweater is sipping hot tea from a lovely mug, eating fresh berries from a beautiful bowl, and reading the latest, hottest fiction in paperback. Looks and sounds like a great Sunday morning.


Indigo’s Pinterest account separates those on your gift list into boards (i.e. Gifts for Her; Gifts for Him; For Baby; etc.), and includes boards for “The Foodie,” “The Romantic,” “The Globetrotter” and more. It’s all about the life one desires and the accessories one needs to make those dreams become – or , at least, seem – real.

What can we learn from Indigo?

Indigo knows their audience. They have honed in on their target markets and done everything in their power to anticipate their needs and cater to them. They have created a highly successful lifestyle brand and huge suite of products that appeal largely to women 25-55. I would image they have determined very specific details about their target markets and developed personae for them. They know who they are selling to and they are killing it.



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