Combining tech and human interaction to redefine the customer experience
Canadian consumers want convenience, choice and control when they shop. For that reason, and to deliver to constantly evolving expectations, retailers are looking for inspiration outside the retail environment, using emerging technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile-first initiatives and payments to better meet consumer demands and reinvent their shopping interactions.
Our survey of more than 1,000 Canadian respondents explores the main tech-enabled approaches retailers are using to give shoppers a superior customer experience.
Advanced analytics offers new ways to understand customers, sometimes even before they understand themselves. And AI gives retailers the opportunity to tap into the preferences of potential customers before creating new products—combining the best of human experiences with the best of machine learning.
68% of Canadian CEOs believe AI, robotics and blockchain will disrupt their business in the next five years
23% of Canadian consumers plan to buy an AI device
28% of Canadian consumers expect retailers to have up-to-date information on how they like to interact with them
32% of Canadian consumers are comfortable when retailers monitor their shopping patterns to tailor offers specifically for them
Early digital adopters—typically consumers aged 25 to 34—expect more, buy more and spend more. Our survey found that these shoppers are less price conscious and have higher expectations. They’re more upbeat about the economy, buy in bulk and pay using their mobile devices.
65% expect same-day delivery
19% buy daily items in bulk
35% plan to buy daily items in bulk
50% are positive about the economy
39% expect to spend more
39% are more likely to use mobile payment for everyday purchases
Waiting in line to check out, the final touchpoint before leaving the store, is often the most frustrating step for shoppers. Taking a cue from the payment convenience of ride-sharing apps, retailers are experimenting with new forms of digital checkout, using scan-and-pay systems, in-app payments and click-and-collect options.
No longer just a space for inventory, today’s reimagined stores are outlets for product discovery, forums to educate and entertain and channels to reinforce the brand. The goal is to create a boundaryless environment that combines commerce and community, finding new ways to make shoppers feel at home.
All about the experience
Today’s consumers are more focused on the overall shopping experience. Our survey revealed that 58% of consumers spend their disposable income on products, while 42% spend it on experiences. Canadians aged 18 to 24 are particularly engaged by this community of commerce. They spend on experiences like socializing with family and friends (71%), events (55%) and travelling/vacations (51%).
Retail is transitioning into a wider community of commerce, one that effortlessly combines entertainment with shopping. Whether in a single store or at a shopping centre, retailers are finding new ways to keep customers engaged.
As companies continue to adapt to the future of retail, only those willing to take advantage of the opportunities offered by technology will be able to find new ways to satisfy the increasing demands for convenience, choice and control. The time is now to take bold steps into the future.