Empowered customers force Canadian retailers to re-strategize

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Only 5% of traditional retailers believe their customers are loyal and are searching for innovative approaches to stay relevant against the threat of new competitors, according to the results of an EY survey.

How can retailers afford the rising price of loyalty? finds that new consumer standards for price and convenience are placing pressure on Canadian retailers to disrupt in order to remain competitive ahead of the busy holiday season and beyond.

“The holiday season is coming up fast, and customer loyalty has shifted from an emotional experience to a transaction,” says Ted Salter, EY Canada Consumer Products and Retail Leader. “Digital outlets are empowering consumers more than ever. They’re expanding into new channels and setting new consumer standards for convenience, value and experience – proving hard to match profitably and straining customer relationships with physical stores.”

Almost all (87%) retailers believe a loyalty strategy is a critical priority with just 16% saying that their traditional approach is fit for purpose. And they know that getting it wrong can be expensive; 80% say a “one size fits all” loyalty approach damages profitability.

“Retailers need to create loyalty that sticks,” says Salter. “Leveraging customer data is key to building a personalized, convenience-based approach to capture and retain customers. But research shows that too few companies are tapping into the insights available.”

The survey finds only 19% of retailers are leveraging their data and systems to understand individual customer needs and a mere 30% have the ability to use technology to personalize the offer and experience for a customer every time.

“In order to stay relevant, retailers need to prioritize diversifying product ranges, improving customer experience and providing value and convenience to be distinctive,” says Salter. “This holiday season, and beyond, the focus needs to move from buying to building loyalty.

Transcontinental Media G.P.