Canadian Shopping Data Reveals How to Capture Sales Online & In-Store

A recent comScore/UPS survey provided some interesting insights that may be strategically applied to both online and offline sales. Retailers of all sizes can benefit from a plan that allows their digital and ‘brick and mortar’ presence to compliment each other for increased conversions. That can be as easy as focusing on how and why Canadians use their smartphones when they shop.  Boosting online sales can be a simple matter of offering products that Canadians can’t find on this side of the border.

77% of Canadian shoppers surveyed are satisfied with their online shopping experience, especially when using a desktop or laptop computer. Satisfaction falls to 66%, however, when shopping on their smartphone.

Omnichannel shopping (which in this case is defined as shopping online and/or in-store), is a favourite practice of 40% of Canadians. 37% look for products or services online and purchase them online. While we’re big on smartphone use (81%), only 41% of us use one to purchase online. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t use our smartphone in other ways while shopping.

How Canadians Use Their Smartphones While Shopping in Stores

Your store may not intentionally provide a omnichannel experience, but that doesn’t mean your customers aren’t getting one to some degree. Facilitating it with your own omnichannel strategy will help you keep shoppers focused on your store, and ultimately result in more sales conversions.

  • 73% Read product details online. An excellent information page on your website and a QR code on the product or shelf, can ensure shoppers go to your website for information, not your competitors’.
  • 71% Use their smartphone to compare prices. Having a price matching policy will make it logical and convenient to buy at your store.
  • 71% Search for product reviews. You can add product review capabilities to your own website, along with comparison charts when applicable. This can all pop up on the same product info page mentioned above.
  • 69% Check your eCommerce website to see if the price is the same. Make sure it’s higher and suddenly you’ve created urgency to make the purchase in-store. Higher website prices are often the case anyway, since stores frequently have to add the cost of shipping either to the product price or separately at checkout.
  • 68% Search for a specific product, but also similar alternatives to those products. This is another time your product info page can come in handy, specifically with a comparison chart.

Don’t fear the smartphone in your brick & mortar store, make it work for you. Omnichannel options are feasible for any size of business. You don’t have to start with a big, elaborate system to initiate a omnichannel strategy. Once you test the waters and experience the positive impact on your bottom line, you can explore other ways to use an online strategy to compliment offline sales, and vice-versa. The easiest way to do that is through an eCommerce platform that’s designed for it, such as Canada’s Shopify. You can make it as simple or elaborate as you want to. The tools to implement additional omnichannel features are at your disposal within the platform when you’re ready.

Canadians Shop Globally Online, But Prefer Local

Once again, statistics show that Canadians prefer to shop within Canada. When they shop globally, it’s almost always for a reason that could be addressed in this country if more merchants were there to sell to them. 52% of those surveyed said the reason they shop beyond our borders is because they simply can’t find the brand online in Canada. 48% said they found the product being sold by an international seller through an online Canadian marketplace (such as, at a lower price.

Research can help you determine what Canadian online shoppers are looking for, but can’t find here in Canada. The first thing you can do, is simply ask your social media followers what products they buy outside of Canada and why they do so. You can increase participation by adding a random draw from all comments.

You can also get creative by researching Bestsellers. Search for best sellers in related categories, then click on them to find out if they’re being purchased from a seller outside this country. It takes time, but anyone can do it so it’s a perfect task for a Virtual Assistant, student, etc.

For example, you could select Office Supplies from the drop-down menu to the immediate left of the search bar, then search for ‘business software’. The results will show the best sellers. You can also search by ‘popularity’ to find out which products are most popular in any category.

Best Selling Products in Canada

With the low Canadian dollar, as well as the high cost and delays involved with cross-border shipping, there is no reason why Canadian retailers can’t give global merchants a run for their money. It’s unfortunate that the Government will not pressure Canada Post to provide truly economical options for businesses, allowing us to easily compete at the global level online. However, there are alternative shipping services popping up that can give you access to volume pricing with couriers. Your eCommerce platform may even have that particular perk integrated.

There are multiple online marketplaces available to Canadians, including Amazon. 96% of online shoppers said they’ve purchased a product through an online marketplace. You can be there too! If you use services such as Fullfillment by Amazon (FBA), you can take advantage of features like free shipping and fast delivery.

Canadian retailers need to view the Internet as a lucrative tool, not competition. When you approach online and omnichannel retail as an opportunity, you may be surprised at how fast your ideas and sales will grow.

??? What has your experience been with omnichannel consumers? Have you found creative ways to make Canadian online shoppers happier? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.

Data Source: 2018 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ Global Study (comScore)

You may also be interested in reading:
How to Choose the Best Products to Sell or Drop Ship Online in Canada
Canadians Online: Statistics to Guide Your Multi-Channel Strategy
Your Unique Selling Proposition for Online Business and eCommerce


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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Adalicia Gagnon

Our staff carries a tablet around and will use it to answer questions or even help customers compare products. We’ve found helping customers helps us even if we happen to lose a sale to similar product that is more suitable to what the person is looking for. Trust and knowledge are really hard to prove online but b&m stores can make it their superpower. Sprinkle fabulous customer service on top and you’ll be hard to beat.