Canadian brands playing catch-up when it comes to digital

Canadian companies are a good five years behind when it comes to ecommerce integration. Their difficulty with digital stems from the fact that they don’t have digital roots. This is the conclusion of Kathleen Polsinello, of Boston Consulting Group, who recently appeared at the HOP! Retail Summit to present a road map for companies entering the digital age.

If Canadian companies are having trouble keeping up, it’s not because Canadians aren’t connected. Our access to high-speed Internet is 88% and online searches by Canadians are similar to, and perhaps even greater than, our American cousins. Yet, we spend 50% less online.

The difference, according to Polsinello, is that our companies are about five years behind, resulting in inventory issues, higher prices and steeper shipping fees.

Canadian companies have also suffered due to three organizational challenges. First, changes in the digital universe work faster than the internal decision-making cycles of most organizations. It is also hard for Canadian companies to manage risk of divergence between the management team, their community of experts and existing operational teams. Lastly, understanding digital remains an issue. Organizations absolutely must have the necessary talent and understanding to embrace digital, but that is rarely the case, unfortunately.

The good news is that there are solutions. During Polsinello’s presentation, the Toronto-based expert proposed four ways to help transform your business and boost your digital assets.

  1. Think – Use the most advanced analytical tools available to become client-centric
  2. Connect – Gain insights from the data to personalize the digital path of each client, from starting point to goal achieved
  3. Select – Make predictions to improve inventory management (reduce order processing time and cut waste)
  4. Reap – the benefits and repeat

Her presentation ended on a positive note—it’s not too late for Canadian companies to catch up, quite the opposite actually. In order to become more digital, Kathleen Polsinello recommends that managers choose ideas that will create value, rather than following a digital trend because it’s popular. Since each idea and each organization is unique, you must also surround yourself with the right tech partners and build a strong digital team. Finally, you have to stay flexible—find the right concept before investing in holistic solutions and then make the necessary changes quickly in order to test those concepts.

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