Ecommerce Report: Customer Experience Can Make or Break You

Digital Commerce 360 has released an analysis of their 2020 Top 1000 ranking of leading online retailers based in the US, Canada and Mexico. The report focuses on the top online retailers and includes other consumer research surveys conducted by the company. The result is a tried, tested and true road map to online success that revolves around the customer experience.

Just over 51 percent of all retail growth was in eCommerce, as online sales grew by 15.1 percent and total retail sales increased by only 3.5 percent. Canada’s eCommerce penetration is far lower at 3.6 percent, but it grew by 23 percent in 2019.

That will almost certainly change as the pandemic forces offline retailers to develop and grow their online presence and functionality. It’s a critical part of today’s business continuity plan and it is inadvertently proving its own profit potential.

We already have a large number of online shoppers in Canada. However, the virus pushed even more Canadians to try online shopping for the first time. Now that they’ve jumped over whatever obstacle that had been holding them back, a large portion will continue to shop online.

Numerous reports suggest that Canadians want to buy from small businesses, but they can’t find them online. We’ll find a lot more Canadian choices by this time next year, including (finally) Canadian small businesses. While Amazon remains popular among online shopping Canadians, it wouldn’t take much for small business to steal a portion of those online sales. Amazon Canada has been seriously lacking in selection for several years.

All of this together points to an upcoming boom in Canadian online shopping!

Ecommerce Continues its Growth Spurt

Interestingly, the top three fastest-growing online retailers are entirely web-based. Six out of the top 10 positions go to these ‘digitally native’ retailers.

Year-over-year eCommerce growth for the Top 1000 retailers by merchandise category:

  1. Housewares & Home Furnishings 22%
  2. Food & Beverage 22%
  3. Sporting Goods 21%
  4. Mass Merchant 20%
  5. Health & Beauty 19%
  6. Specialty 17%
  7. Hardware & Home Improvement 15%
  8. Jewelry 13%
  9. Apparel & Accessories 13%
  10. Automotive Parts & Accessories 12%
  11. Toys & Hobbies 11%
  12. Consumer Electronics 11%
  13. Flowers & Gifts 4%
  14. Office Supplies 2%

As more Canadian businesses go online, related Business to Business (B2B) categories are expected to grow. The need for eCommerce software and related hardware will jump and remote eCommerce employment will increase.

Do it Right the First Time

As many Canadian businesses are venturing into online sales for the first time, they would do well to pay attention to the shopping experience. Past reports of discontent can ensure you do it right the first time. If you’re looking to improve sales on an existing site, listening to consumers will ensure you spend your time and money on what matters most to them.

  • 24 percent want a more efficient checkout process.
  • 21 percent are looking for better search results.
  • 20 percent want faster websites
  • 18 percent want an easier mobile shopping experience.

Do it Better

A Digital Commerce 360 / Bizrate insights survey of 4969 online shoppers found the following improvements could make consumers buy more online.

  • Faster delivery 39%
  • Less tracking and ad targeting 39%
  • Better product info and product images 30%
  • Efficient checkout 24%
  • Better search results 21%
  • Ability to access the shopping cart, coupons and personal info across devices 20%
  • Faster website 20%
  • Better customer service 19%
  • Education about merchandise categories and guides to help make decisions 18%
  • Easier mobile shopping 18%
  • Ability to easily buy online and pick up in-store 16%

What do consumers find most important on a website product page?

  1. Quickly find products 65%
  2. Simple overall user experience 47%
  3. Info available about specific products and categories 24%
  4. Product assortment overview to help guide the selection process 21%
  5. Efficient checkout 20%
  6. Assessing product availability and arranging for delivery/pickup across channels 15%
  7. Finding answers to questions 9%

Which attributes of shopping on retail websites are most important?

  • Ability to zoom in on pictures 50%
  • Product reviews 42%
  • Alternative views of featured product 34%
  • Preview colour options 16%
  • 3D product spin 13%
  • Customer-generated content showing how they use the products 13%
  • Product page videos 11%
  • Product recommendations 11%

Which shopping cart attributes are most important during checkout?

  • Ability to save your cart 54%
  • Express checkout 37%
  • Minimum number of clicks to check out (less than four) 33%
  • Ability to access cart from desktop to mobile devices 30%
  • Ability to reorder products previously purchased 22%
  • Links to customer service 16%
  • Ability to sign up for a subscription to receive products on a recurring basis. 8%

Take it With You

Clearly, your path to online retail success starts and ends with the customer experience. All of the above data shows what you should pay attention to as you bring your business online, or how to improve your existing online presence. Use it as you design or update your website and share it as a guideline to your designer and developer.

??? Is your company new to eCommerce or are you an old pro? Please share your questions or suggestions in the comments below.

2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000
Digital Commerce 360 / Bizrate insights survey
Digital Commerce 360 Web Design survey

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
2020 Multi-Source Report: The Canadian Online Shopper
Tap Into the Exploding Canadian eCommerce Market
Canadian Guide to the Best eCommerce Platform Software


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

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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It’s amazing just how BAD the user experience is on many websites. You’d think anyone could go through their own site and see what would annoy them if they were the buyer. I guess they just didn’t know what to aim for but now they do. Thanks for being a guiding light for struggling biz.