RICHMOND HILL, ON–A recent survey conducted by Maru/Blue and commissioned by Staples Canada revealed that Canadians will be seeing less family and friends in-person this holiday season, opting instead to have their gifts shipped this year, among other shifts in behaviour to help them stay safe.
Canadians are looking for solutions to be close to their family and friends while remaining physically distant. Unsurprisingly, 84 percent reported they will see fewer family and friends in-person. Instead, four out of 10 (39 percent) anticipate they will have virtual celebrations. But surveyees also identified some of their most significant pain points when it comes to getting everyone in one virtual room. The top three were people talking over each other (34 percent), connection issues (31 percent) and a lack of knowledge on how to use technology (30 percent).
Because many Canadians won’t be able to gift or celebrate in-person, and with health and safety being a top priority for shoppers the survey revealed changes in the way they shop for gifts.
–Six out of ten (62 percent) reported they will be doing more holiday shopping.
–Almost half (47 percent) will be using shipping and delivery for more of their gifts. One in three (33 per cent) of respondents plan to ship gifts to loved ones. However, six out of 10 (58 percent) are worried about shipping delays over the holiday season.
–As a result of physical distancing during the pandemic, more than half of Canadians (56 percent) are likely to seek more personalized gift options.
–When it comes to shopping in-person, Canadians consider fewer crowds and shorter lineups (38 percent) as the main benefit to starting their holiday shopping early, followed by items more likely to be in stock (26 percent).
–Eight out of 10 (81 percent) Canadians also report that they will only shop in-store with retailers that have the appropriate physical distancing measures in place.
Staples has taken steps to make the shopping easier and safer. It has introduced a ShopSafe program to keep its associates and customers safe. In-store health and safety protocols include physical distancing guidelines, all-day disinfection, face mask requirements, sanitization stations and a ShopSafe app that gives customers the option to join a virtual queue in-store during peak times.
Because staples.ca uses its own fleet to deliver online orders to 85 percent of the country, customers can expect their purchases to arrive within one to two days. Contactless curbside pickup is also available in-store for orders placed online.
Staples also has an extended returns policy. Purchases made after November 1 can be returned until January 16 or 14-30 days from the purchase date (whichever is longer). Returns must be accompanied by a receipt of sale and items returned with a gift receipt will be eligible for exchange or store credit.
“The holidays will be altered in a big way this year, and it’s important for us to understand how we can better support Canadians when it comes to gifting,” said David Boone, CEO, Staples Canada. “As part of our commitment to offering a safe shopping environment, we have an expanded assortment of gifting solutions available on staples.ca this year. From the latest technology to stocking stuffers and pack and ship solutions through our delivery partners, we’re doing what we can to serve our customers safely and confidently.”