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Canadian retailers view mobile commerce as the way of the future

Canadian retailers are recognizing how important the adoption of digital and mobile technologies are in the face of rising consumer demand and new competitors entering the Canadian retail industry, according to the fifth annual Canadian Retail Insights Report released today by American Express.

According to the report, 88 per cent of businesses feel their industry is more competitive than ever thanks to new online competitors, with 74 per cent fighting harder than in the past to retain customers.

What holds the key to success? There is a consensus that the key to winning the battle is to put the customer first. In fact, 91 per cent of businesses are focusing on enhancing their customer service experience to differentiate from their competition, and part of that strategy involves mobile offerings for customer engagement and retention.

"Canadian retailers are listening to what their customers want, and what they're hearing is that consumers are demanding more from their shopping experience," says Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager, Merchant Services, American Express Canada.

Across all industries, 76 per cent of Canadian retailers believe that mobile commerce is the way of the future, while the sentiment is even stronger in certain industries as 90 percent of fast food businesses echo this belief.

"Mobile has had a profound impact on the digital shopping experience. The modern consumer has a global marketplace in the palm of their hand 24/7, and this creates opportunity to engage with them at so many more touch points. Creating a mobile commerce strategy that includes intuitive app experiences and mobile responsive design enables consumers to connect with you when and where they want to."

The Rise of Mobile Payments

As mobile continues to grow as the dominant medium for online sales, 91 per cent of Canadian retailers who adopted new payment technology practices in the past 12 months believe the shift to mobile payments is being driven by consumer demand and is critical to staying competitive (compared to 75 per cent in 2016) in an industry where existing players are investing in technology and new competitors are entering the market.

Furthermore, 72 per cent of Canadian retailers believe that adopting new technologies will be key to their future and helping them to attract new customers, while 61 per cent believe these technologies are already changing the way they engage with their customers.

While it is clear to retailers (72 per cent) that adopting new technologies is a matter of survival, there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to actually implementing these new technologies. Of all the industries surveyed, respondents from the fast food industry who haven't adopted new payment technologies in the past 12 months were most likely to say they are planning to invest or improve their mobile payment options (31 per cent) in the next 12 months, while the numbers were significantly less for other industries, including gas (6 per cent), restaurant (11 per cent), general retail (12 per cent) and grocery (16 per cent).

"It is surprising how low these adoption rates are, when online technologies have also been listed as a source of increased competition," says Santaguida. "In order to remain competitive retailers will need to meet the changing consumer demands. American Express is committed to mobile payment innovation and to helping Canadian retailers make the most of their mobile payment infrastructure."

Still, Canadian retailers remain confident about the future, with 89 per cent reporting a positive outlook for their business over the next 12 months, despite the shifts in technology and rising competition.

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