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For Lagging Retailers in Canada, Customer Focus Has Been Lost

Recent study shows that technology will be key to improving brand performance


The customer experience and giving consumers want they want is a critically lagging element when it comes to the Canadian retail industry, according to a PwC Total Retail 2016 study. The findings particularly apply to attracting, converting and retaining the Millennial demographic, a generation that’s always on the lookout for modern, simple ways to shop, especially online and via mobile.


In fact, over 40 percent of Millennials between 18 and 34 years old reported that they make online purchases monthly and want to seamlessly use a mobile device in the brick-and-mortar store. This underscores the overarching understanding that in today’s marketplace, customers expect a continuous experience––from browsing and product comparisons to after-purchase customer service.


Additionally, Canadian Millennials use mobile devices more often than the typical consumer on a global scale, with 50 percent saying they utilize a device for store coupons and promotion codes. This figure is a full 15 percent lower worldwide.


Cost is another influencing factor in Canadian retail. A full 66 percent of Canadians surveyed said price is a top driver when they’re shopping with a preferred retailer. However, 63 percent said they’d consider purchasing a product online from another country if the price was more appealing.


Here are a few more important findings from the report:


• 46 percent say the main reason they shop online is for convenience.


• 68 percent purchased their first online order more than three years ago.


• Almost 40 percent of respondents under the age of 34 report that social media has had an impact on their perception of their favorite brands, building respect and appreciation.


As the Canadian retail industry looks ahead, it seems as though technology will be at the forefront. Brands will need to re-focus their attention on the customer while improving current systems that create and blend the omnichannel shopping experience. From a seamless, personalized purchase path to stronger loyalty programs, the customer should be at the helm––and retailers should be at their service.