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Canadians’ love affair with in-store holiday shopping still going strong
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Canadians’ love affair with in-store holiday shopping still going strong 

“Despite global e-commerce trending upward, Canadians still prefer the in-store experience during the holidays,” said Augustin Nguyen SAS retail solutions specialist for SAS Canada.

SAS surveyed 4,061 adult consumers from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom about their holiday shopping habits. The research found that 85 per cent of Canadians surveyed favour shopping in-store for their holiday gifts, compared to 59 per cent and 70 per cent of their British and American counterparts, respectively.

The poll is important for retailers because it provides valuable insight into the behavior of consumers and provides some advice on how a store can win over shoppers.

Canadians are skittish about mobile payments – While Canadians prefer shopping in-store, many are still hesitant to embrace mobile payments: 90 per cent of shoppers today do not use mobile payments, 62 per cent say their credit or debit card is just as convenient, and 31 per cent are worried about security.

Canadians won’t stand for ‘Out of Stock’ -Retailers need to be equipped with the right volume of each product in stock during the holidays. Half (51 per cent) of Canadians surveyed said that if a brand or item they wanted to purchase was not available in-store, they would go to another store to find it. Likewise, if an item is out of stock online, more than half (59 per cent) of those surveyed would go to a different website to get their desired gift.

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How to improve online revenues

Of course, SAS sells analytics software, but they have a point when the say analytics can help improve an organization’s forecasting capabilities.

For example, the right type of analytics tools can help retailers determine how much product has to be kept in stock during the busy holiday season to avoid being caught short.

SAS also suggest that in order to get around inventory issues, stores can offer customers gift cards.

The SAS survey found that gift cards are the most popular gifts Canadians plan to give this year (66 per cent), followed by clothing and accessories (48 per cent), and books, music or movies (39 per cent).

Why personalized marketing is important

 Canadian shoppers might prefer picking up gifts from a real store but they still do their gift research online. As much as 29 per cent of respondents reported they consult a retailer’s online product suggestion when looking for a gift.

More than half (54 per cent) go through with buying an item suggested online by a retailer at least some of the time.

However, respondents also felt that retailers have to work on their product recommendations. As much as 44 per cent of shoppers felt retailers’ product suggestions were not very accurate. 

Canadian shoppers are looking for more personalized communications across the board. Sixty-six per cent of respondents said they prefer personalized emails from companies they do business with. Forty-four per cent said they like promotional emails and offers in their inbox from companies related to their lifestyle and/or interests.

Other key findings

  • Shopping on Black Friday (22 per cent) and Cyber Monday (16 per cent) have become increasingly popular days for Canadians – both up from last year.
  • Six in ten of respondents plan to shop during after-holiday sales.
  • Thirty-five per cent of online shoppers cited saving time as the main reason they shop via the web, 35 per cent also stated free shipping offers as a reason and 48 per cent do so out of convenience.
  • Online shoppers are savvy: 90 per cent read product reviews and 97 per cent compares prices online.

If given the options for a robot to buy gifts for a specific set of people on their shopping list, 78 per cent of Canadians said they would prefer to buy gifts on their own which means nearly a quarter would be open to an effortless holiday shopping experience, according to SAS.

And finally, “e-retailers take note, 18 per cent of online shoppers will only wait less than twenty seconds for a transaction to complete once they’ve placed their gifts in a virtual shopping basket,” said SAS.

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