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Technology tools to push ahead of the competition

In an ever-changing economy, some retailers find themselves uncertain of the future. Yet, according to the fourth annual American Express Canadian Retail Insights Report, 56% of Canadian businesses celebrated steady growth over the past 12 months, with many seeing an increase in sales.

The study surveyed decision makers in the restaurant, fast food, grocery, gas and general retail sectors and revealed that 31% of respondents cited investment in technology as an emerging driver of sales growth. Customer service and new product offerings are always important, but embracing new technology to meet customer needs can help businesses differentiate themselves from the competition. To have an upper hand, it’s imperative to stay attuned to not only how the typical consumer is shopping today, but how they’ll be shopping tomorrow.

Interested in embracing technology to take your business to the next level? Here are some things to consider:

Keep up with emerging payment technologies. It’s an exciting and challenging time for Canadian businesses with mobile and alternative payment technologies gaining momentum. As more consumers demand new technology and ecommerce options, 43% of respondents within the grocery sector reported that their customers are driving their need to adopt these payment methods. A third (33%) of retailers across all sectors are noticing increased sales from app or online purchases, and 75% consider these technologies a way to remain competitive. In fact, providing consumers the ability to pay with new technology such as a mobile wallet is what led American Express to be the first to offer Apple Pay to Cardmembers in Canada. With mobile technologies top of mind, consumer convenience is becoming a key factor for grocers, making it a great time to embrace technology to keep customers happier.

Leverage social media to increase customer loyalty. Customers are the most important part of any business and creating loyalty is one of the keys to success. By leveraging social media, grocers can stay connected with consumers, offer promotions and discounts and keep open communication with shoppers to stay ahead of the curve and gain valuable insights. Social media creates greater opportunities for retailers to engage and develop stronger relationships with their customers and 73% of respondents specified social media as one of the best tools they are using to encourage loyalty, a nine per cent increase since 2014.

Embrace the world of online shopping. Many people don’t consider online shopping when it comes to grocery purchases, but 16% of respondents in the grocery sector reported that online shopping has had a positive impact on business, a 300 per cent increase over 2015. Although retailers are still largely dedicated to traditional sales drivers like customer service and new product offerings, the ability to offer consumers the opportunity to shop remotely can give retailers an added level of clout, helping them stay at the front of the pack.

Not all technological advancements are relevant to your customers, so it’s important to incorporate tools that make sense for your business, giving consumers the best experience possible. When your business innovates meaningfully in order to respond to customer needs, few things can hold you back.

 

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