Primed for growth: How to win with digital in the Canadian retail landscape

Eric Morris, Jennifer Lee / June 2019

It’s time to start shaking the myth that Canada is a digitally immature market. By 2023, Canadian digital commerce will grow by 30%1. That’s a $60-billion market in Canada, so the opportunity is there, and there’s room for all of our retailers to thrive whether they’re traditional, pure play or brand.

And it turns out that when it comes to several elements of online shopping, Canadian consumers are, in fact, leaders. According to new research by Google and Deloitte on the eCommerce landscape in Canada, we are ahead of the U.S. in terms of online discovery — 77% of Canadians go online to discover the things they want to buy, compared to 72% of Americans2. And 82% of Canadians research and purchase online, which is on par with the U.S. at 85%3. Plus, they want to buy Canadian, too. Are you making it easier for them to purchase your products?

This new research shows just how ready Canadian consumers are to welcome new digital developments and growth from Canadian retailers in this rapidly changing landscape. There’s a great divide out there between the retailers who can quickly adapt to and thrive in this environment, and those who can’t.

Google’s director of retail, Eric Morris, and Deloitte’s Consumer Advisory and Analytics Partner, Jennifer Lee, recently presented these findings at the Retail Council of Canada’s annual Store Conference, and laid out a framework for Canadian retailers to ensure they land on the right side of that divide.

Some key takeaways from this video:

[7:12] Shift your mindset: There’s a perception that shopping has changed more, and faster in the U.S. These changes aren’t coming to Canada — they’re here already. Eric Morris talks about why retailers should be acting with the urgency that this shift requires.

[12:48] Focus on the customer experience: Our research found that 89% of Canadians are choosing their retailer they purchase from, online or in-store, based on the quality of the digital experience4. In most cases, your website or app is the primary interaction that shoppers have with your brand, and retailers need to treat it with the importance that it deserves. Morris walks through what you can do to have an amazing digital experience, from speeding up your site, to getting personal and reducing friction.

[20:27] Shift to an insight-driven organization: Insight-driven organizations, defined as companies that inject analytic insights into every decision, only make up 23% of the businesses in Canada, compared to 46% in the U.S5. The rise of the insight-driven organization, with executives embracing this mindset, will put your company on the right side of the great divide. Jennifer Lee explains where the gaps are in Canada when it comes to bringing data and digital together to drive insights on the consumer, and walks through what different types of retailers and brands can do to win Canadians over in the path to purchase.

Think planning