Tag Archives: North America

Visa Canada’s Head of Mobile Talks Canadian Shopper Culture

Not long ago we may have been able to argue that retailers
thought that Big Data was just a bunch of hype that didn’t actually lead to
better returns, but we’ve come a long way since then. In fact, a recent survey
reveals that 73 percent of retailers consider shopper insights to be very important or
essential to the performance of the departments in which they work. In addition,
76 percent think leveraging insights is important to the performance of the
company as a whole.
I recently caught up with speaker Derek Colfer, Head of Mobile at Visa
Canada and speaker at the upcoming Consumer Insights Canada conference in Toronto, to discuss how Canada’s shopper culture is unique to the rest of North
Here’s what Colfer had to say:
IIR: What
makes insights ‘strategic insights’?
Colfer: I
think all insights are strategic; however it’s their application to a specific
opportunity that makes them meaningful and impactful.
IIR: What is
the key to using the power of consumer insights to make smarter decisions in
Colfer: Consumer
insights can help businesses evaluate the success of current products and are
especially important when entering the product development lifecycle. The gaps
in between product awareness, intent and usage can help businesses understand
the needs of their customers. Visa recently utilized consumer insights with the
design of Visa Checkout, a payment service that enables consumers to pay for
goods on any device with just a few clicks. We know consumers are using their
phones for more these days but that mCommerce can be onerous on small devices,
leading to low conversion rates from cart to checkout. With Visa Checkout, we
addressed issues like too many fields of information in the checkout process
and big thumbs on small screens to ensure an easier online shopping experience.
IIR: How are
shopper insights unique in Canada compared to the rest of North America?
Colfer: Canadian
shoppers are savvy with a very high propensity for loyalty. A 2014 Maritz (Bond
Brand Loyalty) report found that 90 percent of Canadians are members of at
least one loyalty rewards program. We have also quickly embraced online
shopping and have a high penetration of mobile usage. Almost 80 percent of
Canada’s addressable population owns a mobile phone, according to a 2014
eMarketer report. These factors, along with companies like Starbucks and Tim
Hortons who have tied loyalty to mobile payments, are helping to drive Canadian
comfort levels with mobile payment adoption.
IIR: Where
do you see the shopper culture in Canada five years from now?
Colfer: Canadians
will continue to use their mobile devices in a hyper accelerated manner. What
we refer to as eCommerce today will become more of an omni-commerce experience,
blurring the lines between various channels (in-store, desktop, laptop, tablet,
mobile device, wearables, etc’) as consumers use more than one channel and form
factor to search, compare, apply loyalty and purchase. 
Image via

IIR: What’s your advice on effective ways to reach
Canadians on the path-to-purchase?
Colfer: There are
various technologies available for businesses to engage and interact directly
with their customers on more than one device throughout any given day. One
challenge for merchants is to ensure content and offerings are universally
available across all channels so that consumers can shop in the channel that
best suits their purchasing patterns.
IIR: What’s
the best part about shopping in Canada?
Colfer: Canadians
are incredibly loyal and the Canadian brands and merchants that we frequent
tend to reward loyalty in a very innovative manner. The most notable recent
example is the CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa Card with a pioneering
two-button technology that enables users to switch between paying with their
Visa card with built-in loyalty, and the redemption of their earned Tim Cash
rewards. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this type of innovation and
loyalty tied to apps as we move forward and it’s going to positively impact
Canadian adoption of mobile payments.
IIR: How is
technology empowering the always-on shopper today?
Colfer: Technology
is incredibly empowering for Canadian consumers. It’s not uncommon to see a
consumer take out their mobile device, open up an app and scan a barcode on a
product in-store. That mobile app can provide access to an array of product
reviews and ratings and it can also drive the consumer to make a purchase
in-store with a profile driven incentive. Conversely, that same app can prompt
a consumer to leave that particular store and purchase the product online or in
a competing merchant down the street. Consumers remain at the center of the
commerce lifecycle, however technology is empowering them today in ways we
could not have imagined five years ago.
IIR: How do
you embed a culture of customer experience at Visa Canada?
Colfer: Every
digital product we build and put in market has been built with the lens of a
Visa’s aforementioned Visa Checkout is a great example of this, and
so is Visa payWave. Visa payWave allows a consumer to wave their card in front
of a payment terminal to securely and quickly make payment, reducing time in
line and at the cashier, improving the point-of-sale experience. This same
technology provides the foundation for NFC mobile payment apps, which are
gaining popularity in Canada and are available to consumers through Visa
issuers like TD, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and Desjardins. Our Vision at Visa, to
be the best way to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere, prioritizes
consumer behaviour and drives every product innovation.
IIR: What
have you learned about Millennial shopper insights in Canada working at Visa?
Colfer: Millennials
are early adopters of technology and are an important segment to consider in
mobile payment adoption. According to a 2013 eMarketer report on age-based
digital behaviour, Millennials are the prime demographic for digital adoption
as they were born and raised during the emergence of the internet with an 80
percent adoption of mobile.
However, while Millennials are an important segment to
consider with regards to mCommerce and mPOS, there are also other demographics
with interesting behaviours that shouldn’t be forgotten. Gen X’ers lead all
other age brackets in ecommerce purchases for family staples and are the most
likely to transact on tablets and smartphones, according to an Ipsos Reid study
cited in the same eMarketer report, and Baby Boomers have shown the strongest
interest in loyalty programs. Sometimes I think we put too much focus on the
current consumer insight trend rather than being strategic with more than one
IIR: How do
you see mobile affecting the future shopper in Canada?
Colfer: Canada is
already very advanced in contactless payments, but NFC payments will become far
more ubiquitous. Visa was the first payment network in Canada to pilot NFC in
2010 and we were the first payment network to commercially deploy with CIBC
back in 2012. To date, TD, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank and Desjardins all offer
various NFC mobile payments to their clients that run through the Visa Network,
providing Canadian consumers with many accessible options.
Canadians love their mobile devices and I think they will
become more comfortable using them in-store to make purchases quickly and
securely. New technologies like Host Card Emulation (HCE), where consumer data
is secured in a cloud, will help to increase consumer usage. Visa’s new cloud
based payment specifications allow our banks to offer the same
interoperability, scalability and security to consumer’s phones that they trust
with plastic cards today.
If you’d like to hear
more from Derek, don’t miss him present at Consumer Insights Canada. The
event is taking place this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto,
Canada. For more information about the event and to register, click here: http://bit.ly/XPjI56

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Inside Insights: Susan Williams

Next up in our Inside Insights interview series brought to
you by Consumer Insights Canada,we sat
down with Consumer Insights Canada speaker Susan Williams, Senior Director,
Strategic Insight, The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, to discuss strategic insights and Canada’s consumer culture.
Consumer Insights Canada is a conference focusing
on the power of insights to inspire smarter decision making and shines a lens
on shopper and consumer behavior in Canada. Whether you’re looking to break
into the market for the first time, or just deepen your relationship with
Canadian consumers ‘ this is your must-attend event. 
Here’s what Williams had to say:
IIR: What makes
insights ‘strategic insights’?
Williams: Strategic
insight implies it impacts business thinking and decision making in my opinion.
We can get a lot of insight from data, but turning that into actionable results
is the strategic part.
IIR: What is the
key to using the power of consumer insights to make smarter decisions in
Williams: I can’t
think of any business where the client/consumer/guest is not a critical part of
a business success. Ensuring you are relevant, in tune, and in touch with your
consumer through quality consumer insights is key. 
IIR: How are
shopper insights unique in Canada compared to the rest of North America?
Williams: The act
of gathering consumer insights is not unique, but there are a lot of similarities,
but many differences as well in the results. It is important to understand the
geographies and influences that impact behavior in different markets. Geography
can sometimes limit accessibility to certain types of services or products. We
see differences in attitudes towards technology even across the country in
Canada, and compared to the US there are additional differences. In some of the
work we have done we have seen a greater emphasis on value as well in Canada
vs. the US. It is important to note as well, the makeup of the Canadian
consumer is different in some ways multiculturally than the US consumer -
especially in terms of ethnicity. All of this stresses the importance of
ensuring relevancy in any market that you go into.
IIR: Where do you
see the shopper culture in Canada 5 years from now?
Williams: Technology
is and will continue to shape how people shop. Accessibility, transparency,
access to information and how this translates into relevant shopper experiences
of the future. Ecommerce is a way of life, although not as developed as in the
US and other countries, online browsing/accessing information and pre-shopping
will continue to grow in Canada.
IIR: What’s your
advice on effective ways to reach Canadians on the path-to-purchase?
Williams: Understand
their consumer journey and purchasing influences relevant to your category or
product. Clearly ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience will be important
as ensuring that the right type of communication and information is conveyed at
the right time. Just because some technology exists, it doesn’t mean that it is
always relevant to your shopper. Get and know your shopper.
IIR: What’s the
best part about shopping in Canada?
Williams: Increasing
selection and choice in retail. World class brands are now entering the scene
providing one of the most exciting times in consumer choice and shopping in
history. Our geographies as well provide significant cultural experiences from
one part to the other.
IIR: How is
technology empowering the always-on shopper today?
Williams: Pre-shopping
is big and continues to grow. Social media, technology in general is everywhere
and mobile phones are the shopping vehicle of the future. Everything is now,
information is accessible, and the shopper is in control.
IIR: How do you
embed a culture of customer experience in your organization?
Williams: This is
a key foundational platform for our organization currently. The value
proposition is about the experience as in many cases the product can be
replicated. It is lead from the top, and needs to form a part of the corporate
strategy. We are all in a learning stage. Ensuring that consumer insight is a
key component of this journey is critical.
IIR: What is the
future of Big Data?
Williams: Big
Data always existed, but it has now been reinvented with the introduction and
mass of digital behavior statistics. This will continue to grow and become more
and more relevant but faces many challenges. If companies haven’t figured what
to do with “small data” how will “big data” solve their
problems. What still remains to be a critical component of any data digging
exercise is to ensure that there are people that know what to do with that
data, and develop the right questions to lead the analysis . It is also
important to make sure that in a lot of cases, big data is very powerful and
creates stories and impacts of initiatives, but doesn’t always tell you why?
Still important to keep the dialogue going with shoppers to marry the behavioral
data with consumer insights. 
IIR: How do you
see mobile affecting the future shopper in Canada?
Williams: Mobile
is the future. Eventually, mobile payments will be the norm. It already is
growing at a rapid rate. It means that information has to be faster, relevant
and connected to technology. People are now shopping ‘in the moment” and
mobile is enabling that.
IIR: What have
you learned about millennial shopper insights in Canada?
Williams: It is
important to make sure that we don’t just create a broad brush and group people
into large categories. However, some key influences of this generation are that
millennials grew up on technology. It means it is already part of their behavior
and they will continue to expect this in everything you do. They may be seen as
fewer brands loyal, and because technology enables it, expecting rate of change
of products, brands, services to evolve quicker.
IIR: Why is it so
important these days to connect with customers in virtually every channel of
this multichannel world?
Williams: It is
the omnichannel experiences. Shoppers expect it, and they chose how to
communicate with you. Understand however which channels are most relevant for
your shopper and your product and ensure your messaging is tailored within. It
doesn’t mean eliminating channels however, just understanding the role that
they play within your brand.
If you’d like to hear
more from Susan, don’t miss her session, ‘Leveraging
Big Data for Mall Merchandising Mix Decisions’
at Consumer Insights Canada
on Monday, Sept 29th from 1:30-3:00 pm. The event is taking place this
September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.

For more information
about the event and to register, click here: 

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See the attending companies list here.

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Brandspark International Reveals Most Trusted CPG Brands

Recently, market research firm BrandSpark International has unveiled
the 2014 BrandSpark Most
Trusted Awards winners for Consumer Packaged Goods
(CPG), in which over
86,000 Americans determined the winning Food & Beverage, Health &
Beauty, Household and Kids brands.
‘The BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards are for CPG brands that
are dependable, well-known and part of the daily lives of many Americans,’ said
Robert Levy, President and CEO of BrandSpark International, in a statement.
Today, BrandSpark’s research approach gets at the heart of
how consumers think, why they act the way they do, and what clients need to do
about it.  With CPG expertise, the company has a unique global perspective
on the drivers of innovation as it has been measuring brand trust for many
years and previously launched the BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards program in
Canada and China. 
In 50 categories, poll participants named the CPG brands
that they consider their ‘most trusted.’ Quality perceptions and taste drive
which Food brands are most trusted, while taste preferences are most often
cited as the reason for favoring one beverage brand over others. As for health
and beauty brands, trust is built on quality perceptions such as effectiveness and
perception of a fair price.
Levy said, ‘Brand trust is important when deciding what to
buy. Our study shows 8 in 10 Americans place a high importance on established
trust in a brand when purchasing a new product. The BrandSpark Most Trusted
Awards help shoppers while they are making purchasing decisions by easily
identifying the brands that are most trusted by other consumers.’
When considering purchase of a new product, Americans
consider it very important that products come from a brand that they trust:
>77% for a new Cosmetic product
>75% for a new Personal Care & Health product
>75% for a new Household Care product
>66% for a new Food & Beverage product
>The 2014 BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American
Shopper Study saw more than 90,000 respondents contribute their opinions during
October and November 2013. 
Brandspark will be presenting at The North America Consumer Insights Event
taking place September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Don’t miss their session,
‘Understand Canadians Evolving Habits
and Reach Them on the Path-to-Purchase’ on Monday, September 29th at
11:45 am.  

To learn more about
the event, click here: http://bit.ly/1sXpejF

Inside Insights: Brian Byrne

In the first episode of the Inside Insights Podcast series
brought to you by The North American Consumer Insights
, I sat down with North American Consumer Insights Event
speaker Brian Byrne, President of Aviador and Associates, to discuss competitive
War Gaming and the current Apple-Samsung War.
The North American Consumer Insights Event is a conference
that showcases the local Canadian culture in its storytelling. With new
entrants like Target Canada, rapid changes in technology and increasingly
discerning customers, the Canadian retail industry is in a constant state of
change, challenging players to adapt strategies and tactics to remain relevant.
 This conference was created for our
insights community that focuses on the power of insights in motivating smarter
decision making and shines a particular lens on the local flavor of shopper
insights in Canada.

Listen to the full interview here: http://bit.ly/1hEIqgS

If you’d like to hear more from Brian, don’t miss his double
session, ‘Classic Patterns of Competitive War Gaming’ at The North American
Consumer Insights Event on Monday, Sept 29th from 1:30-3:00 pm. The
event is taking place this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.

For more information about the event and to
register, click here: http://bit.ly/1kMxqhi

Canada Cuts Ribbon on its Giant Open-Air Mall

Last week, Canada opened The Outlet Collection at Niagara,
which quickly filled with thousands of shoppers looking for the bargains and brands
they could previously only get in the United States.
‘We are sending a clear message to the outlet shopping industry that we mean business,’ Daniel
E. Fournier, chairman and CEO of Ivanho?? Cambridge, told Buffalo
The outlet mall’s 520,000 square feet of space is filled
with 94 retailers, and eight more are on the way. The $162 million mall is made
up of rows of stores, each with its own entrance connected by a series of
partly covered walkways. A separate food court sits enclosed in a stone-covered
building at one end near a grassy area where shoppers can gather on Adirondack
chairs, sit by a fireplace and listen to live music.
The Outlet Collection is a new concept for Ivanho??
Cambridge, which plans to replicate it at other malls around the world. Reactions
to the open-air style of the mall were mixed as some loved it and some worries
what would happen when winter hits.  
One shopper Shelly Berenbaum said that the new mall was nice
but that she would continue making her weekend-long shopping trips to the
States every month, where many shopkeepers and her preferred hotelier know her
by name.  She told Buffalo News, ‘We have
our routine. We do our shopping. We go out to dinner. We go to the movies.’
And though the grand-opening promotions made it difficult to
compare prices, she thought there were still better bargains to be had in the
States. ‘When you guys have sales, you have sales,’ she said. She cited a pair
of UGG boots marked down from $198 to $159 at the Canadian Outlet. A great
price for Canada, but she got the same pair on clearance at the U.S. Saks
outlet for $50 in February.
Christine Lalonde said she would still make her monthly trip
to the U.S. to stock up on clothes at Walmart. Though there are Walmarts in
Ontario, none has the larger sizes and styles she prefers. Marilyn Lock talked
about differences in inventory and selection, as well, even under identical
store banners. ‘Target over there, I love it. Target over here, forget it. It
doesn’t have the same variety or the pricing,’ she explained.
A lot of shoppers also said the new mall provided everything
they needed to stay local. For instance, Girlyn Cayabyab, who has been
venturing to Walden Galleria to shop every two weeks for years, said she would
probably be spending more time at the Outlet Collection from now on. ‘By the
time you go over the border and everything, I’d rather just pay a little extra
and not have to deal with it.’
The economy in Ontario’s Niagara region has struggled at the
second-highest in Canada, so Canadians hope its sleek new outlet mall will
be enough to keep some more of those dollars at home. Ann Ackerman, VP of outlet marketing at Macerich, said, ‘While
the newness of the competition will be intriguing to some shoppers, Fashion
Outlets of Niagara Falls is the largest outlet mall in the region today, and
will soon bring even more brands,’
Want more on this topic? Attend The North American Consumer
Insights Event this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The event showcases the local Canadian culture in its storytelling. The same
relentless commitment to quality and value means more choice, diversity and a
change of scenery. With new entrants like Target Canada, rapid changes in
technology and increasingly discerning customers, the Canadian retail industry
is in a constant state of change, challenging players to adapt strategies and
tactics to remain relevant.

To learn more about
The North American Consumer Insights Event, click here: http://bit.ly/1i0hEKK