Canadian consumers’ expectations are growing higher by the day, reports the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) in a new study.
The responses of more than 5000 Canadians indicate today’s customers are less willing to accept mistakes and more focused on convenience, speed, and cross-platform integration. This holds true across multiple demographics and for both e-commerce and in-store transactions.
The study results say 67 per cent of respondents encountered difficulties with online shopping and 41 per cent ran into problems in-store. While human error has always played some part in the retail experience, the modern shopper is less willing to tolerate it, says RCC CEO, Diane J. Brisebois.
“We are seeing a consumer who will not hesitate to switch retailers when problems occur,” she explained. “Consumers are frustrated by long checkout lines in-store and annoyed by all the credentials required for an online purchase or by finding a product is out of stock after they have decided to buy.”
In other words, flawlessness and a seamless experience across all channels are two of the keys in today’s market. This is particularly true for millennials—in the study, 59 per cent of the demand for a better retail experience was reported by this demographic. However, 32 per cent of older consumers also shared similar sentiments.
“Younger Canadians are technology experts. They want shopping to be more personal, faster, and better, and it should work across all devices and surfaces by merging online and offline to create one intuitive experience,” said Eric Morris, director of retail for Google. “If a retailer can’t connect its customer to the right product in as few steps as possible, they will go elsewhere.”
The study also found the majority of shoppers are combining elements of both online and offline shopping, with 61 per cent doing at least one online activity (such as research) before buying in-store and 65 per cent doing at least one in-store activity before buying online.
Conducted by RCC’s Marketing Advisory Council, Google Canada, and customer insights platform WisePlum, the study ultimately highlights speed, selection, service, and price as major priorities for Canadian shoppers.