Learning from Canada’s Digital Retail Marketplace

A Canadian study points out that this year the largest Canadian retailer are absent and 5 of the top 10 online retailers are from other countries.

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As can be expected Amazon, who offer Prime and millions of items in Canada, is on top. Will this market see another set of product lines move online, similar to many British and US categories? Will this market see another set of product lines move online, similar to many British and US retailers? Is there major disruption awaiting similar to Britain for physical bricks and mortar retail? Can lagging retailers learn from mature ecommerce players to add even better capabilities to stem this tide?

Canada has seen the retail marketplace become its most competitive ever in 2013. Adding to the mix were 124 Target stores, and soon to follow are Nordstrom and Saks, with Walmart, HBC, Canadian Tire, and Home Depot investing in growth at higher rates at least partially to protect share. While this is happening in the bricks and mortar seemingly less attention is being paid to online. Stories and discussion on retail and turnarounds, similar to Britain and the US years ago, seem focused on fixing yesterday’s problems and are not keeping up with today’s new problems and threats.

For a Canadian client with limited online, their flyers over 3 months were 95% product matched online from Amazon.ca. The time to act is now.

Using historic precedence, many retailers have imported best-in-class practices from those in more mature markets. We would argue this makes sense in the digital market. However with shifting there are growing instances of mature companies learning best practices from smaller companies.

So what does the growing prominence of digital take to be successful not only to be driving future growth but also to take advantage of omni-channel best practices across the enterprise – mean for lagging companies? Some of the key lessons include:

  • Available to promise inventory based on accurate perpetual inventory in every location
  • Expanded hours of operation, you are now competing 7X24 against online
  • Better bricks and mortar replenishment, customers now have a choice. With minimums meant can you flexibly deliver to your stores as frequently as required?
  • Lowering supply chain costs to nearly break even with better service to stores and consumers. This involves implementation of best practices
  • 2 day shipping in place for 70% of population with capability to have 1 day wherever possible. This may require shipping from designated stores
  • Finding new opportunities for consumer service using the combined channels to better provide service to valuable customers

We have assessed these lessons and can discuss potential implications with you.

Posted in: Retail

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