Retailers to engage with shoppers in multiple ways to create holiday magic: EY
MONTRÉAL, Oct. 31, 2016 /CNW/ - Canadian retail sales are expected to grow 3.5% this holiday season, according to EY. But to make shoppers' wishes come true, retailers should think like Santa and be the same jolly person in all places, for all people with a true cross-channel strategy.
"Consumers are seeking convenience, customized offerings and convergence – the new three Cs of retail," says Daniel Baer, EY partner and National Retail and Consumer Products Leader. "This means retailers must make shopping easy by offering multiple ways to buy and return products. At the same time, retailers can't forget about compelling offers to encourage consumers to visit their physical locations, not just online stores. Finally, mobile phones need to be part of retailers' holiday strategy, as they're increasingly becoming the number one way shoppers search for and purchase gifts".
"Cross-channel retail is not a trend, it's a retail imperative, and the very survival of retailers depends on the seamless execution of this strategy", adds Baer, who sums it up with the following tips for retailers:
- The experience should be consistent across all channels, from email promotion, to mobile, to store, to online.
- While using mobile technology is a growing trend, consumers spend the most in stores, and they demand an exceptional store experience.
- Developing an app (application) can draw customers, and can be an excellent tool to consider in the future for retailers looking for opportunities to engage and interact with shoppers.
Lower gas prices, less cross-border shopping, the federal middle class tax cut and moderately resilient consumer confidence are all expected to benefit Canadian retailers this holiday season. Consumers, on the other hand, may find higher prices than last year for some products, due to the depreciation of the Canadian dollar.
As for gift popularity, clothing, toys, electronics, jewellery and gift cards will remain Canadians' top choices. As millennials and Gen Z exert their influence, gift cards will increasingly be for services and experiences (restaurants, shows, spas, etc.) as opposed to products. Gifts promoting healthy living and personal care will also see an increase in popularity.
The 2016 holiday sales forecast throughout Canada is expected to vary by region and timing. EY notes the following trends:
- British Columbia will continue to lead Canadian retail sales.
- A sluggish economy will drag down results in Alberta and Saskatchewan to a slight year over year drop in sales, although stabilization is within sight.
- Ontario sales gains are expected to slightly exceed the national average based on employment gains.
- Quebec sales are expected to reflect the national average.
- Sales in Atlantic Canada will be below the national average.
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SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)