Customer Experience Excellence report 2021

Customer Experience Excellence report 2021

As digital adoption among Canadians rose, those companies that invested in digital channels captured a big slice of the market. The retail sector – both grocery and non-grocery – is leading the charge in Canada’s top 10 list of companies. Influenced by personal health and safety during COVID-19, consumers spent more on essential goods and services, as well as products linked to wellness.

Personalization was the biggest driver for customer loyalty, while Expectations had a significant impact on customer advocacy. Smoothie bar brand Booster Juice is a good example of these pillars in action. It has consistently delivered on its mission to provide convenient and nutritious products, as per Canada’s consumers’ increasingly health-conscious expectations.

At the end of 2019, it also narrowed its focus to offer a smaller range of healthy products, playing to its loyal customer-base with a reward program1. Adding to its success is its customizable drinks menu and a new app launched in 2020 offering access to secret menus and home delivery. One customer said: “I like the fact that they customize any of their drinks... and you can split their larges into two smalls.”

Continuing the health and wellness theme, athletic apparel company Lululemon topped this year’s rankings by investing in its digital ecosystem to support an omnichannel approach. This included virtual waitlists, a digital educator service, mobile POS, click and collect and appointment shopping. As a result, they doubled their ecommerce business in 2020 from 2018 levels2.

The brand also stood out in its Empathy scores, with several initiatives aimed at taking customers’ needs into consideration. These include the opening of 106 pop-up stores in convenient locations3 and the expansion of its Peace on Purpose program. The initiative – to support UN development and humanitarian workers with their mental and physical wellbeing – was rolled out to the wider public for free with digital mindfulness tools available in 12 languages to increase accessibility4.

Fashion retailer Simons also scored highly in Empathy, with one customer praising their baby-friendly service. She said: “I needed to nurse my daughter. They took me upstairs and showed me the mother’s room. It was huge! There was a comfortable chair, a change table, diapers and wipes.” The company also performed well in Integrity, with the expansion of its Fabrique 1840 digital marketplace. The platform, designed to support local designers and makers of hand-crafted goods, grew from 117 to 500 Canadians in 2020, giving them a digital platform to reach more consumers5.

A big challenge for organizations going forward will be balancing that focus on sustainability and social responsibility with profitability. COVID-19 has made customers even more aware of how companies behave, with 80% of consumers preferring to buy from brands whose values align with their own6. Social responsibility and impact do not need to come at the cost of financial benefits.

Providing an omnichannel customer experience is also crucial to keep up with increased digital adoption. Customers expect a seamless journey across channels – both physical and digital – so those with disjointed channels will struggle to retain their loyalty. Keeping up with these expectations requires careful investment in data capture in order to allow companies to react to rapidly changing expectations. And while having access to these insights can allow brands to create ever-personalized experiences, that benefit should be used in a transparent way that takes privacy concerns into account.

Customers are saying, Know Me: my previous interactions, my preferences and translate that into a personalized / customized, contextualized experience – successful organizations have the ability to offer up more complex, innovative, digitally enabled solutions in a simpler way

Katie Bolla
Partner Customer & Digital Solutions
KPMG in Canada

Leading CX brands in Canada

Booster Juice




Leading online retailer






Roots Canada


SAQ Stores


Second Cup Coffee Co.




Swiss Chalet


*Brands are listed in alphabetical order