Market disrupted: Five ways the Canadian retail landscape is changing

A look back at 2015 shows how disruptive technologies are leveling the playing field for retailers — and how those who don’t embrace a digital-first retail model will be left behind.

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Though Canada’s retailers have struggled in recent years, new tools, insights and operating procedures are ushering in a golden age for those that have survived through difficult times. Here are some of the key retail stories of 2015:

1. What Canada’s retail survivors should do next

In early 2015 the situation looked bleak for Canada’s retail sector. Target had just joined a long list of American brands to exit the Great White North, while others feared they could be next. Canadian retailers were also struggling to keep up with the advanced resources and technology afforded by larger, American-based competitors. This story provides a number of helpful tips and solutions for those who remained in a seemingly bleak retail landscape in Canada.

2. Promises businesses didn’t know they made

After some growing pains, e-commerce has become a seamless experience for consumers, allowing them to easily find the products they’re looking for and make purchases with minimal steps in between. This ease of purchase, however, has created new expectations for brick-and-mortar retailers, who now find themselves under pressure to have a state-of-the-art point of sale system and knowledgeable staff behind the checkout counter. This article explores how Allstream can help provide customers with an omni-channel approach to retail.

3. Why Canadian merchants need MaRS

Disruptive technologies are rapidly changing the playing field for today’s retailers. While industry veterans remain apprehensive to embrace such rapid changes, other Canadian retailers like Frank & Oak have pioneered a digital-first retail model. In an effort to ensure that Canada remains at the forefront of this evolution, MaRS launched its Retail and Digital Commerce cluster earlier this year, providing an array of resources to entrepreneurs in the industry.

4. Walking in a Canadian retailer’s shoes to digital success

One of Canada’s most successful and influential retailers, Aldo Group, shares the secrets behind its success in this article. The Montreal-based brand now boasts 1,800 stores in 93 countries with a customer-centric approach to retail. Serge Rose, Aldo’s general manager of customer applications, discusses the importance of interacting with customers through multiple channels, how the company overcame data overload and how it used that information to better tailor the shopping experience to the individual.

5. Why mobile overload with customers isn’t worth it

In the early days of the app revolution, every brand was eager to have its own presence on consumers’ phones. At the same time the world was first being introduced to smartphones, users were eager to load up their devices with any application that seemed useful. Today, however, research has shown that users have become far pickier with the number of apps and push notifications they receive. This story explores the changing attitudes of smartphone users in Canada, how to ensure your app makes the cut and how to walk the fine line between useful notifications and annoying interruptions.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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