Salesforce Canada Illustrates How Customer Expectations Across Canada Have Changed Since the Beginning of the Pandemic

The pandemic adjustment period is long over, and Canadians need more from their online shopping experiences than ever before. E-commerce is now simply commerce, and more than three-quarters (76%) of Canadians expect customer service online to be as good as, or better, than the in-store experience. 

New research from Salesforce Canada reveals insights around how consumers expectations have evolved after a year that redefined and recalibrated long held shopping habits. 

POST-PANDEMIC, CANADIAN ONLINE SHOPPERS EXPECT BETTER EXPERIENCE, ABILITY TO SHOP FOR BIG TICKET ITEMS, MORE PRODUCT VARIETY 

When asked how their expectations of online shopping changed since the beginning of the pandemic: 

  • More than three-quarters (76%) expect customer service online to be as good as or better than the in-store experience. 
  • 67% of Canadians expect online stores to better understand their needs 
  • 46% of Canadians expect online brands to know their customer profile 
  • About one-third (31%) now expect to be able to buy big-ticket items, such as vehicles and houses, online. This increases to nearly half (44%) of 18- to 24-year-olds.
  • More than 8 in 10 (82%) Canadians expect to buy a greater variety of products online. 

IN-STORE SAFETY IS HERE TO STAY – CANADIANS SAY IT WILL BE THEIR TOP PRIORITY POST-PANDEMIC, FOLLOWED BY TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN EXPERIENCES ALLOWING THEM TO SHOP FROM ANYWHERE

  • 71% of Canadians say the in-store safety experience will be the most important shopping feature to them even after the pandemic is over. 
  • Other Canadian shopper priorities in a post-pandemic world include: 
    • 36% of Canadians want a variety of shipping and return options
    • 36% of Canadians want personalization 
    • 31% want social media shopping 
    • 33% want customer service live chat 
    • 20% want virtual access to in-store associates 

CANADIANS RANK PRODUCT QUALITY #1 PRIORITY IN ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – BUT MANY WILLING TO COMPROMISE PRODUCT FOR BETTER ONLINE EXPERIENCE

  • One-third (33%) of Canadians say they are willing to compromise on product quality for a positive customer experience. 
  • When shopping online, the majority of Canadians (85%) prioritize product quality. When shopping in-store, a quarter of Canadians (25%) say customer experience is top priority. 

CANADIAN BRAND LOYALTY IS IN FLUX:  BRANDS WITH THE BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE POISED TO TAKE THE LEAD

  • Nearly half (43%) of Canadians surveyed (18-34)  are less loyal to brands today than they were one year ago: the availability of more brands online means they have more selection of where to shop. 
  • Pandemic supply strain is a notable factor in customer loyalty: 41% of Canadians say they are less loyal to retailers today because they shop wherever there is a consistent and plentiful supply of the products they need. 
  • Of those Canadians who are more loyal to the retailers they shop with today, top reasons include: 
    • 44% of Canadians said the experience is convenient and easy to shop whether they’re online or in-store, while 53% value consistent product quality. 
    • About half (48%) said the customer service they receive is quick and readily available.

MORE THAN POINTS: CANADIANS SAY THEIR BRAND LOYALTY IS LINKED TO COMPANIES THAT GIVE BACK, PERSONALIZED SHOPPING EXPERIENCES AND EXCLUSIVE OFFERS 

  • More than one-quarter (26%) of Millennial Canadians (18-34) expect brands to reward their loyalty by giving back to a cause they support. This is over double compared to older generations (15% of 34-55 and 13% of 55+). 
  • 34% of Canadians surveyed cited brand loyalty being driven by shared values with the brands they shop from. 
  • About one in five Canadians expect brands to reward their loyalty with even more personalized shopping experiences 
  • Nearly half (48%) of Canadians expect exclusive access to new offerings or discounts. 

About the survey:

From April 14 to April 15, 2021, an online survey of 1,521 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and, in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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