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Canadian Retailers Agree the Key to Success is Unforgettable Experiences

Canadian Retailers Agree the Key to Success is Unforgettable Experiences

American Express study reveals 83% of retailers feel their industry is more competitive than ever; seamless customer experiences hold the key to success

In today’s competitive retail landscape, wowing customers is more critical than ever. According to the sixth annual Canadian Retail Insights Report released today by American Express Canada, 87 per cent of retailers agree their customers are getting more selective about where they shop. To maintain a competitive edge, retailers are focusing on improving the in-store experience while investing in new technologies to provide seamless shopping experiences that leave customers wanting more.

According to the survey, 97 per cent of retailers agree that improving the in-store experience is important and 69 per cent agree investing in new technology is integral to driving business success. In fact, over half (58%) of retailers surveyed say they plan to make more updates to the in-store experience this year. When it comes to enhancing in-store shopping, forward-looking retailers have their eyes on emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the customer experience.

The data revealed 29 per cent of retailers are interested in investing in new technologies like automation or data personalization and 14 per cent are looking to artificial intelligence or augmented reality to provide a better in-store experience.

Another key to improving customer experience is adopting a ‘payments everywhere’ strategy. Retailers are leveraging new automated payment technologies to improve checkout and provide seamless payments options at every touch point in a customer journey that can extend from social media to in-app to in-store.

In fact, 82 per cent of retailers surveyed that adopted new payments practices in the past 12 months said they did so to meet customer expectations. What’s more, it showed forward-looking retailers are interested in investing in emerging technologies like data personalization and artificial intelligence to provide a better in-store experience.

“It’s not good enough to be good anymore; retailers need to be unforgettable,” said Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager, Merchant Services, American Express Canada. “With emerging technologies poised to disrupt the industry, the stakes have never been so high. Businesses can’t afford to ignore these trends as they have the potential to completely transform the customer experience and grow market share if executed well.”

Sales growth tied to customer experience

  • Nine in 10 retailers surveyed have a positive business outlook for the year ahead.
  • 52 per cent say their sales have increased over the last year and of those, 72 per cent attribute the growth to a focus on delivering better customer experiences – beating out new products and improved product quality.

Physical-digital mindset meets customer needs

  • 53 per cent of retailers, excluding the gas industry, currently offering online shopping, reservations or ordering say it has increased sales and revenue.
  • To integrate online and offline experience, 45 per cent of retailers surveyed say they’re making investments in online fulfilment solutions like “buy online, pick up in store,” email and text marketing (42%), payments technology (38%) and mobile apps (38%).

Emerging technologies improve the in-store experience

  • 97 per cent of retailers think improving the in-store experience is important and 69 per cent say that investing in new technologies this year is important to the success of their business.
  • 29 per cent of retailers will consider using automation or data personalization to improve the experience in-store, and 14 per cent are interested in implementing artificial intelligence or augmented reality.

Growth in automated payments adoption in the quick service industry

  • 48 per cent of retailers in the quick service industry introduced new payments technology in the last year, compared to only 28 per cent in 2017.
  • Key types of payments technologies adopted by retailers this year includes mobile wallet (66%), in-app payments (49%), tablet POS (45%) and web portal payments (28%).
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