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Towards an explosion of e-commerce

Credit: @PhotoMIX Company

Over the past two years, COVID-19 has disrupted consumer habits through lockdowns, curfews, non-essential store closures and other health measures.

One of the big winners in this health crisis is e-commerce. In 2020, 80% of Canadians made a transaction online compared to 73% in 2018. They also spent $84.4 billion online, compared to $57.4 billion in 2018. And, according to e-marketer, the trend will continue: sales are expected to reach more than 105 billion as early as 2025. So e-commerce is here to stay.

Towards a new way of consuming

The pandemic has changed consumers' attitudes and buying habits. Thus, they are turning more and more to local, organic and responsible products. The Blue Basket platform, which offers "made in Quebec" products, is the result of this craze. In addition, several sites now have filters for local or ecological products, and consumers are increasingly demanding to know the origin of the goods as well as their composition.

Consumers are also buying more and more second-hand or refurbished products. The second life market is booming as shown by the new initiatives of Souris Mini, Vinted or Upcycli, which allow people to buy or sell second hand clothes or products.

Towards the end of the traditional store?

Phygital store

Some would say that e-commerce is the end of small businesses. On the contrary, it should be considered as a business opportunity and a possibility of growth. It is a chance to change your business model, to reorganize and especially to better respond to the needs and expectations of your customers.

Moreover, despite the meteoric growth of e-commerce in Canada, the so-called "traditional" or "offline" retail sector still represents more than 85% of sales in North America according to CBRE.

Towards the best of both worlds

The question is not whether the store is dying, but rather how the physical and digital worlds can and will coexist. Consumers are becoming increasingly indistinguishable between the two, and new demands are being made as a result.

The first strategy for retailers is to make the customer journey more seamless and increase the compatibility between online and offline commerce. Phygital (a contraction of the words "physical" and "digital") is a new trend that

combines the physical and digital worlds to offer customers a new experience and strengthen ties with them: techno and digital experience in store (like the Burberry store in London), humanization of the website (live shopping, for example), improvement of the customer experience (delivery in a few hours, optimization of payment methods, in-store pick-up, etc.).

The proximity with the customer has also become one of the challenges of e-commerce. The goal is to enter the circle of intimacy of the consumer as have done very well brands such as Netflix and Amazon.

E-commerce and physical stores still have many years ahead of them. However, the hardest part is still to be done: pooling their efforts and finding a synergy in order to meet customers' needs and, above all, to build loyalty!


Statistics Canada. Canadians' online shopping in 2020. Results of the Internet Use Survey.

Arielle Feger, "Canada's ecommerce sales to reach nearly $80 billion in 2022," Insider Intelligence/eMarketer, February 8, 2022,

Alex Wang. "What Is the Share of E-Commerce in Overall Retail Sales?", CBRE,

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