COVID-19 has fundamentally changed business in Canada. While cities and provinces across the country transition in the next phase, many businesses still feel unprepared to open.
• When asked if ready to reopen their business next week, nearly a third (30 percent) of businesses say they would not feel prepared to do so
• The top three reasons for businesses not feeling prepared:
1. Almost half (44 percent) say they don’t have a health and safety work plan in place.
2. A quarter (24 percent) say they don’t know where to start when it comes to reopening their business.
3. Another 1 in 5 (20 percent) say they have been unable to adapt in today’s environment, due to not having the right technology in place.
Technology has been essential in helping Canadian businesses adapt and thrive, in order to stay competitive during these times, and continue serving their customers.
• 83 percent of businesses agree that technology has allowed their business to quickly pivot and adapt in today’s business environment; and
• Six in 10 businesses who were prepared to reopen felt ready to do so because they were able to use technology to quickly pivot.
When asked about future shopping behaviours, if stores were to fully reopen tomorrow:
• A third (33 percent) of Canadians say they would shop in-store, no problem;
• 30 percent of Canadians say they would split their shopping between in-store and online; and
• 17 percent of Canadians say they would only shop in-store for necessary products and services that are not available online.
As businesses have been forced to adapt, consumer expectations and behaviours have changed, with a greater importance placed on an experience that is relevant, more convenient and aligns with their values.
When purchasing brands online, Canadian consumers say that a brand’s values and online experience is more important to them now, compared to before COVID-19:
• 34 percent say brand loyalty is most important now (compared to 43 percent before COVID-19);
• 34 percent say a seamless online shopping experience is most important now (compared to 29 percent before COVID-19);
• 32 percent say brand values is most important now (compared to 28 percent before COVID-19);
• Half (48 percent) of Canadians want to be served relevant ads that provide product recommendations and brand updates they will care about; and
• A third (32 percent) are willing to share their personal data if it improves their online shopping experience.
Despite this, for some businesses, there remains a lack of understanding of how technology can help which they acknowledge is holding them back.
• A third (31 percent) of businesses still don’t understand how technology will help their business remain competitive.
• Over half (53 percent) of businesses say they know they need technology to help their business stay competitive and relevant in today’s business environment, but they don’t know where to start.
As we enter a ‘New Normal’, businesses will need to adopt technology to meet the consumer and employee expectations of today, in order to be more resilient for tomorrow.
• 85 percent of businesses can’t see a future for their business without technology.
The top two areas where businesses see technology helping them succeed in the future:
• Personalized customer experiences (i.e. service, marketing, engagement) (46 percent);
• Workplace preparedness (29 percent); and
• Seven in 10 (75 percent) of businesses agree that to succeed in today’s business environment, they need to invest in reskilling their employees.
As the future of work has shifted due to COVID-19, Canadians have new expectations of their employers, that prioritize their wellbeing and prepare them for the future:
• Support those who want to work remotely (51 percent);
• Have a clear plan for any future crises (46 percent);
• Have a clear plan in place for person-to-person interactions (42 percent); and
• Have modern technology in place to create a better work experience (34 percent).
Source: Salesforce Canada and Maru/Blue Omnibus Data — June, 2020.