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Canada’s Retail Revolution: Technology Reshapes the Shopping Experience

  • 14 Aug 2017
  • 2:00 PM
  • Webinar

The Conference Board of CanadaAugust 14, 2017 at 02:00 PM EDT 
Live Webinar by Michael Burt

Canada’s retail sector is in the throes of a technological revolution, affecting everything from e-commerce and online ordering, to the implementation of checkout technology. Technology is reshaping the retail experience for both customers and workers, in front of the counter and in the stockroom. To name just a few examples:

  • E-commerce saves costs by reducing the need for floor space and can improve the customer experience, by increasing convenience, choice, and retailer/customer interactions.
  • Automated checkouts have allowed retailers to improve output per worker and save on labour costs. 
  • Radio frequency identification devices (RFID) allows retailers to more accurately track their inventory and better plan their supply chains.
  • Retailers face an increasing challenge in managing consumer data, breaches of which could create financial burdens and can cost them customers.

The Conference Board of Canada creates annual industrial profiles for clothing and department stores; furniture and appliance stores; grocery stores; and home improvement stores. As we head into the important back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons, join Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends, for this check in on the Canadian retail industry.

Webinar Highlights

In addition to discussing the technological revolution in Canadian retail, Michael will present the key factors shaping the industry, including:

  • Consumer confidence and consumer debt — Fragile consumer confidence will dampen the outlook for some major purchases. Future growth in retail sales will slow as record levels of consumer debt continue to weigh on household budgets.
  • A weaker dollar – The relatively week Canadian dollar is a blessing in that it limits the appeal of cross-border shopping. But it leads to rising costs for retailers that rely on sales of imported goods.
  • Wealth Effect – The strong housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver have been key factors supporting Canadian retail sales growth, with the markets cooling, what are the implications for retailers.

About Michael

Michael BurtAs Director, Industrial Economic Trends, Michael Burt oversees regular forecasts for more than 30 different sectors of the Canadian economy, including an annual Industrial Profile for Canada's Retail Trade Industry. Michael joined The Conference Board of Canada in 2004. In addition to contributing to the development of the Industrial Outlook forecast model, Michael has introduced new industry-specific products and conducted commissioned analysis. Michael has a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Toronto, and has also completed the Chartered Financial Analyst program.

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