The third annual eTail Canada event, hosted by WBR, just wrapped up three days of conferencing. The attendees were of two groups; Canadian-born retailers of varying sizes, and U.S. retailers (mostly of the larger size) who have or are in the process of entering into the Canadian market. As the day’s agenda unfolded and panel discussions continued, a significant discrepancy between how well each of these groups understands their customer became very apparent, very quickly.
This may be a bold statement, something I’m known for, but it must be said that retailers with the American parents have seriously done their homework on the digital, mobile, Canadian consumer. They seemed to be well aware that their Canadian customers want variety, comparable (if not competitive) prices and they don’t want to jump through hoops of fire to get it. Groundbreaking news.
On the other hand, national-born retailers seem to be doing what I do when trying to play Ultimate Frisbee: running circles around myself, dazed and confused, wondering which way I should be running.
Lucky for me, Ultimate Frisbee is not in the realm of my core competency and I am not attempting to generate revenue from it. If I were, I’d be in similar trouble to some of our Canadian retailers.
The good news is these retailers at the conference were admitting they were facing a problem meeting the demands of the new digitally savvy customer, and a few leaders were sharing insights and solutions to help close the giant gap between the Canadian leaders and laggers.
Though the vast array of content covered the full spectrum of high level strategies, right down to tactical checklists, a few themes were consistently emerging throughout. I’ll be addressing one each week for the next three weeks, so stay tuned for learnings and take-a-ways from the eTail Canada conference.
Tweet me @salomesallehy or the team @plasticmobile if you have any comments or questions about the conference, or if you agree or disagree with the many “bold statements” I’ll be making over the next few weeks.