Step Your Game Up, Retailers! When It Comes to Shopping, Canadians Want – and Expect – It All

Canadian consumers have high demands when it comes to the experience of shopping, according to Total Retail: Customer Expectations Driving the Next Retail Business Model, a new report released by PwC today.

Canadians want convenient physical store locations, websites that enable them to find and purchase products, and easy-to-use mobile sites or apps—and retailers need to adapt in order to compete, says PwC.

The report confirms that online shopping is here to stay:  87% of Canadian consumers shop online at least once a year, and nearly half (49%) do so on at least a monthly basis. When asked what they would do if their favourite retailer closed down their local store, 42% said they would start ordering online, showing that is a new willingness on the part of consumers to shift channels in order to get what they want. Furthermore, respondents cite the ability to shop from home and to shop 24/7 as reasons for purchasing online and, 55% of shoppers believe they can find better deals online than in-store.

Mobile shopping is also catching on with Canadian consumers. Almost a third (29%) have already used this platform to actually buy merchandise and even more are using it for other aspects of the purchase journey—for example, 85% of respondents have used their mobile device to compare prices with competitors, 84% to locate the physical store, and 87% to research the products. Canadians are worried about security and capability, however, as 38% state that they are worried about the security of mobile shopping platforms and 36% feel that the screens are too small for a proper shopping experience. 



E-commerce aside, Canadian consumers still enjoy shopping at a physical store, citing the ability to see, touch and try the merchandise, and immediate access to products as the top benefits. In-store, consumers want technology to help enhance the shopping experience. The number one item on consumers’ wish lists is the ability to quickly check stock in other stores or online (47%). Consumers are also looking for sales associates who can take payment without going to the cash register (28%) and in-store wifi with a simple log-in process (27%).

“The physical store still offers consumers that tangible aspect that cannot be replaced,” says Ilya Bahar, National Leader, Retail Consulting at PwC. “However, online channels enhance the shopping experience—ultimately, it doesn’t matter where or how consumers actually make their purchases, they want technology that provides them with convenience, easy access to information and a transparent, real-time view of the retailer’s inventory.”

“Retailers need to ensure that they provide efficient and secure technology that maximizes a consistent and distinctive brand experience, while still maintaining trust amongst their customers,” Bahar added. “Customer expectations are high, and consistency, convenience and multi-faceted options are the keys to success in this new ‘Total Retail’ reality.”


Image: PwC