Despite trailing behind expectations for a number of years and harbouring a laggard approach to shifting its retail industry online, the Canadian e-commerce industry is picking up the pace. With a host of technology companies equipped with technical expertise and funding, it is predicted that 10% of all retail spending will be performed online in 2019, a leap from the 6% predicted in 2014. In 2013, only 13% of business was conducted online, as illustrated by the most recent year which Statistics Canada surveyed trends on digital technology and Internet use.
With the aim of re-invigorating shopping methodology, which had become stagnant, and simultaneously enabling merchants to improve productivity and optimise costs, online business transformation has reverberated over the Canadian e-commerce industry. Four companies, spanning four categories of transformation, lead the pack:
- Digital Shopfronts
Merchants can focus on ideating more important strategic pathways from knowing that the online infrastructure of their store is handled by these companies. Digital customers increasingly require aesthetic appeal from the platform they are using to purchase products. Shopify allows a multi-channel retailing experience which handles marketing, payments, secure checkout, shipping functions whilst allowing a customisation of personalised store theme to suit the ‘look and feel’ of shopping in your online website. Entrepreneurs are enabled to manage a limitless number of products and keep track of inventory levels and reviews of products, thus boosting sales traction and potential.
- Consumer Direct Experiences
Instead of comparing and contrasting products physically, customers can purchase a widening range of goods and services from websites replicating the traditional ‘look and feel’ of a bricks and mortar store. Busbud shortens the effort needed to research and book bus tickets by providing a clean user interface. Their vision, to arm travellers with the technological know-how to efficiently obtain information like bus schedules, reviews, prices, service classes and stopping points, paves the way for more mobile intercity travel and a more acceptable environmental impact. Imagine arriving at a foreign country and having to negotiate your way through a labyrinth of streets and intelligible words to be overcharged on an incorrect bus fare! Luckily, Labyrinth services over 60 countries.
- Customer Metric Optimisation
Technology in this category allows customers to shop with more information on hand through the targeted promotion of special offers. These special offers are determined from devices such as Aislelabs’ marketing software which analyses and provides estimates of passenger flows (e.g. for airports). Wi-Fi tracked metrics behaviourally analyses in-store shoppers, in turn empowering merchants with information to target promotions to particular demographics and product preference trends. With Aislelabs’ deep learning engine, social media campaigns (engrained in today’s shopping OOTD experience) are re-configured and improved from the return on investment data provided.
- Processing of transaction
The focus is on streamlining financial payments, on the side of both merchants and consumers. SelfPay SDK expands the scope of product information available to shoppers whilst in store, and allows them to purchase items using a mobile checkout without having to wait in line. With research by Deloitte showing customer sentiment favouring self-learning of product details rather than speaking to a sales associate, this is a highly efficient alternative for merchants looking to improve customer convenience and accelerate sales revenue.
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