SOTI Research Finds Canadian Retailers Must Master Hybrid Shopping Experiences to Meet Consumer Expectations

Global research finds Canadian consumers will look at shipping and delivery tracking, multiple return touchpoints and sustainable shopping options before making a final purchase

Mississauga, CANADA – January 11, 2023 – The retail sector is officially taking on the hybrid business model. The way consumers shop has radically changed once again due to a global supply chain crisis that limited product selection. Inflation and currency issues have also impacted the price of goods at a global scale. Adding to these pressures, consumer expectations have increased. Consumers are now looking for retailers to accommodate their personalized shopping preferences, both online and in-store. 

According to SOTI’s new global research report The Tech Effect: Strengthening the Omnichannel to Meet Consumer Demands, retailers that do not leverage technology to enhance online and in-store shopping experiences risk losing consumers to competitors quicker than in previous years.

2022 Created Consumer Shopping Challenges

The 2023 retail report reveals that economic and supply chain issues made it difficult for consumers to shop, as 88% of global consumers experienced availability, pricing and shipping issues. This is a 7% increase from the previous year’s report.

The research demonstrates that Canadian consumers are expecting and looking for solutions to these factors before making a purchase online or in-store:

Items are more expensive: 58%

Items are no longer available: 34%

Delivery times are slower than usual: 28%

Delivery charges are more expensive: 27%

The Best of Both Worlds

With consumers identifying numerous challenges, it is the retailers offering the most seamless shopping experience, online and in-store, that thrived. The report found 43% of Canadian consumers still prefer to shop online. While emphasizing the strength of e-commerce, the research confirms a consistent preference for a hybrid shopping model, with 58% of Canadian consumers most likely to continue shopping in-store. This provides retailers with an opportunity to merge strategies from both worlds and fix consumer pain points.

In this hybrid shopping model, consumers are looking for retailers to offer enhanced and more personalized experiences. In fact, 48% of Canadians prefer to shop with retailers who offer an experience based on their individual preferences.

“Retailers looking for success in the Canadian market must break down the silos across sales channels to ensure a seamless consumer experience between online and in-store shopping,” said Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy at SOTI. “The complexity lies in creating the link between these channels on the backend, which can only be achieved by using technology that unites every touchpoint. In doing so, retailers can instantly access real-time information across the consumer journey, speed up shopping and checkout processes and quickly fix issues as they arise. This gives Canadian consumers more choice on how they want to interact with your brand.”

Transaction Deal Breakers

Both the purchasing and fulfillment processes are important to consumers. Two-thirds (66%) of Canadian consumers expect to know where their order is at all times, and over six in ten continued shopping with brands that could deliver goods the fastest (63%). 

When it comes to ordering items, the top three options for Canadian consumers are front door home delivery (58%), in-home delivery (14%) and designated drop-off points between the store and their home (10%). In addition, 68% said delivery time and speed are still the most important to them, followed by returns, with 57% stating they are more likely to shop from an online retailer that provides multiple options to return a product.

“The ‘last mile’ in delivery continues to play a critical role in how Canadian consumers choose who they shop with, which for many retailers is one they have limited control over,” adds Anand.

“Carefully selecting the right delivery partner is the first step to deal with this. The second is updating both hardware and software across their entire supply chain management processes. This gives retailers visibility in areas such as warehouses, delivery vehicles and stores. When retailers have access to important information in the supply chain, they can better inform consumers of product availability and delivery timelines. This ensures they are providing the most cost-effective delivery option available and meeting consumer demands.”

The Grass Can Be Greener on the Other Side

As Canadian consumers become more conscious of their spending, carbon impact is becoming a new deciding factor. The report echoes this sentiment with more than half of consumers in Canada (58%) agreeing that they prefer a more sustainable way to return goods – Canada ranking among one the top countries in the study. Additionally, 44% of respondents agree they would prefer to shop with a retailer that offers carbon offset and more recyclable packaging.

“Canadian retailers that understand consumer pain points and brand preferences, such as sustainable delivery options, will drive consumer loyalty at a time when the market continues to face more macro challenges,” said Anand. “As technology advances, retailers have a strong incentive to review their existing mobile device strategies across the entire supply chain to create the flexible hybrid business model Canadian consumers want in today’s landscape.”

SOTI’s 2023 Retail Report, The Tech Effect: Strengthening the Omnichannel to Meet Consumer Demands, can be downloaded here.

Report Methodology

Commissioned by SOTI, Arlington Research, an independent market research agency, conducted 10,000 interviews using an online methodology, with adults aged 18 to 65 years old with nationally representative quotas on gender, age and region set at country-levels between October 26 and November 3, 2022. The 10,000 interviews were split across eight markets as follows: U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Australia.

About SOTI 

SOTI is the world’s most trusted provider of mobile and IoT management solutions, with more than 17,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide. SOTI’s innovative portfolio of solutions and services provide the tools organizations need to truly mobilize their operations and optimize their mobility investments. SOTI extends secure mobility management to provide an integrated solution to manage and secure all mobile devices and connected peripherals in an organization. For more information, visit soti.net.

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