Study: Omni-Channel is the Key to Success in Retail Today ©

Working with any technology places us in a state of constant evolution. We have to master the ability to think on our feet and adapt accordingly. As consumers demand more technology integration, smart retailers have scrambled to accommodate them, with the ultimate goal of being proactive rather than reactive.

Many Canadian retailers, however, still view eCommerce and mobile shopping technology as optional, with little effort applied to leveraging it for a competitive advantage. Small businesses are even more passive than their “big box” counterparts, with most viewing eCommerce as the enemy instead of a sales tool. If Canadian businesses are to compete, either within our borders or at a global level, we must adapt to meet the demands of today’s consumer.

Accenture surveyed a global sample of 10,096 consumers in 13 countries, including Canada, who have shopped both online (80%) and offline in the last three months. The inclusion of multiple countries provides a more realistic picture of consumer expectations at all stages of tech adoption. The results revealed the ultimate customer experience is now firmly entrenched in omni-channel/multi-channel shopping and other technology. 48% of global respondents say they find it easier to use their mobile devices when they shop, with 40% saying they use their smartphone to find goods and services.

While there is a substantial growth in demand, most retailers have yet to satisfy these tech-savvy consumers. Their website design is adapting more quickly, with 93% having a site that is optimized for smartphones and 89% of sites are optimized for tablets. The problem is more often in bringing the two worlds together for a seamless multi-channel shopping experience at even a basic level.

How retailers are falling short of consumer demands:

  • 49% of consumers would like to be able to check store inventory for product availability before they go there. Only 28% of retailers provide that information.
  • 47% of consumers want real-time promotions, but only 7% of retailers provide them.
  • 42% of customers want to use their devices for automatic discounts and coupon redemption, yet only 16% of retailers have the ability to accommodate them.
  • 37% would like to be able to order items that are out of stock in stores, while 43% of retailers facilitate it with free wi-fi. Less than half of retailers have staff that can order out-of-stock items for shoppers. Less than 10% have self-service kiosks.
  • 37% of shoppers wish to use a mobile shopping list and item-locator in stores. 31% of retailers offer mobile shopping lists, while only 4% provide an app that helps shoppers find items in their store.

Baby boomers continue to be slower to utilize smartphones when they shop. Three times as many younger shoppers plan to increase their smartphone use in purchasing this year. Consequently, it’s the younger generation that says the mobile channel is most in need of improvement. The older generation is also more protective of their privacy.

“Overall, trust remains an issue for shoppers: 57% this year compared to 49% last year were concerned about the potential theft of their personal information, and only a third felt confident that their favorite retailer was adequately safeguarding their data,” says Accenture.

Which retailer capabilities are “cool”, “neutral” or “creepy”?

Retail technology has opened the door for a highly personalized shopping experience. However, there can be a fine line between what is considered to be cool personalization and creepy invasion, as this infographic indicates.

Which Retailer Personalization Capabilities are cool or creepy - Infographic

“The march of the internet into retail is relentless,” writes Chris Jones, author of The Multichannel Retail Handbook. “The rise of mobile is giving web access to millions more developing nation consumers, while simultaneously resetting the expectations of customers in highly developed markets. No retailer, anywhere in the world, can afford to be without a response to these fundamental changes in the way their customers are shopping.”

Those who lead the pack in omni-channel shopping in Canada clearly have a competitive advantage.  Using this data to improve the overall customer experience, both in-store and online, is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your bottom line indefinitely.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessAre you meeting the multi-channel demands of today’s Canadian consumer? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Source: Accenture Consulting Retail Customers Are Shouting, Are You Adapting?

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Canadian Retailers Facing Omnichannel Challenges (Statistics & Slides)
Canadian Grocery Shoppers Hungry for Omni-Channel Savings and Convenience (Statistics)
Canadian Omni-Channel Panel Shares Insights
Canadians Now Use Mobile More Than Computers (Statistics & Tips)


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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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This is where it gets really intimidating! Coordinating multiple channels? I can barely get a website built LOL.

Kaydan Dane

Most people get that it’s the way of the future but it’s just so overwhelming. It’s much more helpful to have specific ideas like you shared here. I can focus on something like real time promotions and then move on to the next thing customer wants. For that reason I thank you.