How Canadian shopping habits affect manufacturers

by Jason Zanatta

With retailers falling over backwards to satisfy online and in-store customers, Canadian shoppers have it good. Recent announcements to open more  stores north of the border from U.S. powerhouses WalMart and Target show there is still a demand for in-store shopping. Even though many stores across the U.S. are closing, these companies realize it takes money to make money and are responding accordingly to the Canadian demand.

However, brick and mortar are not for the faint of heart. The battle against the booming e-commerce trend, extra-knowledgeable and selective customers as well as “showrooming” can be exhaustive for businesses. Don’t be discouraged though. There is still hope for those that stay the path and for those than can find a niche that works. We see this with The Hudson’s Bay company, a grand one-stop shop for consumers.

Many large retailers are all leaning heavily on the demand for a one-stop shop offering everything a customer would need for the home. This is where the future of retail lies. As a manufacturer that supplies to both online and brick and mortar, at Novo we understand there is a difference between buying in-store and online.  The shopping experience becomes a part of the decision-making process and as product developers we need to understand this and deliver. As the online shopper zeroes in on where they can find the best price and quality from a selection of stores, the in-store shopper looks around at all types of products.

And they are looking for a more tactile experience. In-store shoppers have a general idea of what they want to purchase and will shop around for items – in any category – that catch their interest. They are constantly asking themselves: does it feel great, look nice and is at a good price point?

Canadian manufacturers need to focus on how they can leverage both the online and in-store shopping experience for their businesses. At Novo, we focused on research and development and partnered with a retailer to offer a range of high quality hospitality products exclusively for a specific customer vertical. We worked with our suppliers and in-house product development teams to create a suite of products customized to their program and needs.

Customization is a trend that has crosses many industries and services. Product development has evolved drastically from the tired and tested existing standard product line. Now, meetings are happening earlier with more decision makers at the table with specific goals, often varying for each potential retailer and market. We hear what we, and the consumers, want developed rather than what we already have in stock.

The customization of products has ups and downs. Do you commit yourself to a bespoke product that becomes limited to one retailer or do you create your own product and sell it to many? Ultimately, it’s up to manufacturers to assess whether their customers are online or off.

©Novo Textiles co 2014