Wage Hikes in Canada and Australia Set the Pace for Canadian Tech Adoption and Help Increase Sales

Date:

Share post:


By Jasmine Glasheen

The minimum wage in Canada and Australia is on the rise, which means higher wages for retail workers. The minimum wage in Canada recently increased in Spring of 2018. Base pay for Canadians now ranges between $11 to $15 an hour, depending on the province. Canadian legislators are seemingly playing catch-up with Australian retailers, as ABC News reports that the Australian Fair Work Commission increased the national minimum wage from an already-impressive $18.29 an hour to a straight-up staggering $18.93 an hour on July 1st of 2018.

Proponents of minimum wage increases feel that they are necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living for employees in entry-level positions – largely retail and fast food workers, who fill most of the global minimum wage level positions. However, those attempting to prevent additional wage hikes contend that minimum wage employees will simply have their hours cut by employers in an attempt to maintain profit margins in light of the increased cost of labor.


Photo:    Study BreaksPhoto:    Study Breaks

Photo: Study Breaks


The Gucci Store at Chadstone Shopping Center in Melbourne. Photo:    Jing Daily/Jennifer SparkThe Gucci Store at Chadstone Shopping Center in Melbourne. Photo:    Jing Daily/Jennifer Spark

The Gucci Store at Chadstone Shopping Center in Melbourne. Photo: Jing Daily/Jennifer Spark

However, if Australian retail is any indication of what high minimum wages can achieve, then retailers around the world should consider getting on board. In a recent SMB study weighing global retail performance across key regions, Vend found that Australian retailers have:

  • The highest transaction value per store visit ($56.80);

  • A profit margin of 50.84 percent, more than a point above the national average; and

  • At $26,395, the second-highest monthly revenue.

 If there’s one thing retailers around the world can learn from Australia, it’s that paying retail employees adequate living wages can translate into better customer service and increased SMB performance. However, the changes taking place in Canadian and Australian retail extend far beyond wage hikes and staffing.


Photo:    JetekPhoto:    Jetek

Photo: Jetek

Australia’s proximity to China shapes how Australian retailers operate their businesses. Similar to how Canada’s proximity to the U.S. influences the trends, brands, and technology seen in Canadian retail epicenters, Chinese influence can be seen in all of the major Australian shopping malls ­– from the colors of the décor, to the languages spoken in-store, to the available payment options.

Forbes reporter Nikki Baird reports, “China has more Millennials than there are people in the U.S. and Canada combined.” Perhaps it comes with the Millennial territory, but Chinese consumers are also more willing to trade their personal data to receive high-tech in-store experiences. As a result, Australian retailers serving the Chinese market need to be fast to adopt the latest technologies.

This brings us back to the topic of payments. Vend reports that, “73 percent of Australian retailers are growing their business with a cloud-based POS solution.” In contrast, American Express Canada reports that only 38 percent of Canadian retailers are investing in updating their payments technology by taking actions such as ordering a new POS system. So, why are Canadian retailers so quick to pay employees a better living wage, but so slow to adopt standard payments technologies?

One reason might be that Canadian retailers sell a bevy of local specialty brands such as Frank & Oak, Canada Goose, and Naked & Famous Denim. These brands enable Canadian businesses to source from manufacturers within Canada and they have a built-in customer base of Canadian consumers. Since Canadian retailers often source from within and don’t need to compete through reducing prices to win sales over imported merchandise, perhaps Canadian retailers feel less urgency when it comes to implementing some of the technologies already adopted by Australian retailers.


PHOTO: MAXIME FRECHETTEPHOTO: MAXIME FRECHETTE

PHOTO: MAXIME FRECHETTE


PHOTO: CANADA GOOSEPHOTO: CANADA GOOSE

PHOTO: CANADA GOOSE

Canada is quick to lead the pack when it comes to paying employees a living wage and set a precedent for in-person customer service. So, is it safe to assume that Canadian retailers’ hyper-local, hyper-familiar industry is fueling the hesitancy to invest in basic retail technologies which are considered a cost of operation in other leading global markets?

Kerri-Ann Santaguida, Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services at American Express Canada, tells Retail Insider, “With emerging technologies poised to disrupt the industry, the stakes have never been so high. Businesses can’t afford to ignore these (technology) trends as they have the potential to completely transform the customer experience and grow market share if executed well.”

In short, the world is getting smaller and the retail industry is no exception. Canadian retailers will soon find themselves doing business in an increasingly global marketplace. So, how can Canadian retailers adapt to compete with Australia and other leaders in a global marketplace? According to Vend, it all starts with evolution:

“Businesses need to look at what the data is telling them and use those insights to determine the best course of action. For some, evolving might mean exploring new store formats or revamping their selection. For others, it could mean using new technologies or retraining their staff. In all cases, it will be about putting the customer first, and creating a more personal in-store experience.”


0.jpg0.jpg

Jasmine Glasheen is recognized as a leading influencer, writer, editor, and brand representative providing both online and video content. Glasheen provides fresh thought leadership and video content to trade shows, conventions, and companies, including: ASD Market Week, National Retail Federation’s Shop.org, the Independent Retailer Conference, and Halloween & Party Expo. She is a frequent contributor to many publications including prominent retail magazines and news sites, tech blogs, and numerous fashion and lifestyle trade shows. She is a contributing editor to RetailWire, content lead at Retail Minded, and is the author of numerous ebooks and whitepapers for private clientele. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

Harvey’s Aims to Open 500 More Locations in Canada as Restaurant Chain Marks 65 Years [Interview]

The Canadian burger chain is celebrating in various ways as it plans an expansion to significantly grow its footprint across the country.

Miele Expanding Canadian Footprint with Retail Space at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto [Interview]

It will be the second mall location for the premium German appliance brand, and will showcase products in an immersive environment with product demonstrations led by expert associates.

Despite Economic Challenges, Edmonton Retail Leasing Market Experiences Growth and Expansion: JLL Report/Interview

Edmonton is seeing increased demand for retail space as new retailers inter the market in the athletic, fashion and luxury sectors.

Bloor Street Luxury Run in Toronto Adds Saint Laurent Flagship as Area Transforms 

Saint Laurent’s substantial Toronto flagship features a brutalist concrete facade, and is the latest luxury brand to open a large storefront on the former ‘Mink Mile’. 

Montreal’s Le Groupe Brande Thrives with Lightspeed Capital: A Case Study in Expansion and Efficiency

Le Groupe Brande is leveraging Lightspeed Capital and its merchant cash advance system to fuel expansion plans, while also allowing the retailer to streamline operations, cut costs and experience significant efficiency gains.

Disposable Income Spent on Food by Canadians Varies by Provincial Tax Rates [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that there's a noteworthy correlation to food spending in Canada and the tax rates levied upon their earnings.

Royalmount in Montreal Announces Major Retail Tenants and Food Hall Ahead of August 2024 Grand Opening [Interview]

The highly anticipated development will include a mix of luxury brands and other retailers, foodservice businesses, and entertainment unlike anything that Montreal has seen.

Home Société Group Expands Ontario Footprint with Opening of 1st Standalone MUST Stores in Toronto and Mississauga [Interview/Photos]

The Quebec-based home furnishings retailer says it plans to open stores across the country after launching its MUST nameplate in Ontario this month.

Lower Income Households in Canada Struggling to Afford Groceries Despite Increased Trudeau Government Spending [Op-ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses a concerning trend showing lower-income Canadians are going hungry as food prices rise.

Apple and Alo Yoga to Open Flagship Stores at Ste-Catherine and De la Montagne Intersection in Montreal 

The brands will anchor a key corner in the downtown core that is also anchored by Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, spelling confidence in downtown ahead of the opening of Royalmount in August. 

Anatomy of a Leader: Shashi Behl, Founder of Joydrop

She discusses her career as an entrepreneur over the years, and how she founded the unique jewellery brand Joydrop which has seen commercial success.

Canadian Consumer Report by Adyen Reveals Key Insights on Shopping Trends, Payment Preferences, and Technological Advancements [Interview/Feature]

With trends like buy now, pay later options, demand for faster checkouts, and the influence of social media on purchasing, retailers must adapt to meet evolving consumer expectations says the study.

SUKOSHI MART Opens Its Largest Store Yet, Elevating the Asian Beauty and Lifestyle Shopping Experience

The Asian beauty and lifestyle retailer has been expanding across Ontario, and has entered the Ottawa market with its first store.

Toronto-Based Brasa Peruvian Kitchen Targets New York City as it Plans Canadian and US Expansion

The concept began in 2021 as a ghost kitchen, followed by physical locations. The now popular chain is planning to open about 100 locations on the continent.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto Blows Other Canadian Malls Out of the Water in ICSC Productivity Rankings 

The centre is nearly $1,000 higher than the next shopping centre ranked in terms of sales per square foot, with a VP attributing it to the mall’s location, tenant mix and overall operations. 

Calgary Retail Leasing Market Thrives Amid High Demand and Diminishing Supply: JLL Report

Population growth and a positive outlook for the oil industry are supporting long-term prospects, according to the report.

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.

Peavey Mart Spearheads Retail Revamp of Stores Across Canada while Launching Media Network 2nd Phase [Interview]

The Canadian farm and ranch retailer is focusing on updating stores across the country this year, while expanding its first-in-Canada retail media platform which includes digital radio and ads.

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

Harvey’s Aims to Open 500 More Locations in Canada as Restaurant Chain Marks 65 Years [Interview]

The Canadian burger chain is celebrating in various ways as it plans an expansion to significantly grow its footprint across the country.

Miele Expanding Canadian Footprint with Retail Space at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto [Interview]

It will be the second mall location for the premium German appliance brand, and will showcase products in an immersive environment with product demonstrations led by expert associates.

Despite Economic Challenges, Edmonton Retail Leasing Market Experiences Growth and Expansion: JLL Report/Interview

Edmonton is seeing increased demand for retail space as new retailers inter the market in the athletic, fashion and luxury sectors.

Bloor Street Luxury Run in Toronto Adds Saint Laurent Flagship as Area Transforms 

Saint Laurent’s substantial Toronto flagship features a brutalist concrete facade, and is the latest luxury brand to open a large storefront on the former ‘Mink Mile’. 

Montreal’s Le Groupe Brande Thrives with Lightspeed Capital: A Case Study in Expansion and Efficiency

Le Groupe Brande is leveraging Lightspeed Capital and its merchant cash advance system to fuel expansion plans, while also allowing the retailer to streamline operations, cut costs and experience significant efficiency gains.

Disposable Income Spent on Food by Canadians Varies by Provincial Tax Rates [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that there's a noteworthy correlation to food spending in Canada and the tax rates levied upon their earnings.

Royalmount in Montreal Announces Major Retail Tenants and Food Hall Ahead of August 2024 Grand Opening [Interview]

The highly anticipated development will include a mix of luxury brands and other retailers, foodservice businesses, and entertainment unlike anything that Montreal has seen.

Home Société Group Expands Ontario Footprint with Opening of 1st Standalone MUST Stores in Toronto and Mississauga [Interview/Photos]

The Quebec-based home furnishings retailer says it plans to open stores across the country after launching its MUST nameplate in Ontario this month.

Lower Income Households in Canada Struggling to Afford Groceries Despite Increased Trudeau Government Spending [Op-ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses a concerning trend showing lower-income Canadians are going hungry as food prices rise.

Apple and Alo Yoga to Open Flagship Stores at Ste-Catherine and De la Montagne Intersection in Montreal 

The brands will anchor a key corner in the downtown core that is also anchored by Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, spelling confidence in downtown ahead of the opening of Royalmount in August. 

Anatomy of a Leader: Shashi Behl, Founder of Joydrop

She discusses her career as an entrepreneur over the years, and how she founded the unique jewellery brand Joydrop which has seen commercial success.

Canadian Consumer Report by Adyen Reveals Key Insights on Shopping Trends, Payment Preferences, and Technological Advancements [Interview/Feature]

With trends like buy now, pay later options, demand for faster checkouts, and the influence of social media on purchasing, retailers must adapt to meet evolving consumer expectations says the study.

SUKOSHI MART Opens Its Largest Store Yet, Elevating the Asian Beauty and Lifestyle Shopping Experience

The Asian beauty and lifestyle retailer has been expanding across Ontario, and has entered the Ottawa market with its first store.

Toronto-Based Brasa Peruvian Kitchen Targets New York City as it Plans Canadian and US Expansion

The concept began in 2021 as a ghost kitchen, followed by physical locations. The now popular chain is planning to open about 100 locations on the continent.

Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto Blows Other Canadian Malls Out of the Water in ICSC Productivity Rankings 

The centre is nearly $1,000 higher than the next shopping centre ranked in terms of sales per square foot, with a VP attributing it to the mall’s location, tenant mix and overall operations. 

Calgary Retail Leasing Market Thrives Amid High Demand and Diminishing Supply: JLL Report

Population growth and a positive outlook for the oil industry are supporting long-term prospects, according to the report.

Spanish Luxury Brand Loewe Enters Canada with 1st Standalone Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos] 

The brand entered Canada through Nordstrom several years ago, and is now expanding in a big way with its first flagship storefront carrying Loewe’s entire product assortment. 

Upscale Vancouver-Based Sushi Restaurant Chain ‘Hello Nori’ Unveils Ambitious Global Expansion Plans [Interview]

The company has plans on expanding throughout Canada and into global markets with its popular hand-rolled sushi in elevated dining spaces.

Peavey Mart Spearheads Retail Revamp of Stores Across Canada while Launching Media Network 2nd Phase [Interview]

The Canadian farm and ranch retailer is focusing on updating stores across the country this year, while expanding its first-in-Canada retail media platform which includes digital radio and ads.

Innovative Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Startup CouchHaus Opens 1st Physical Retail Space in Vancouver [Interview]

The husband-wife team's modular furniture became so popular online that they are opening their own physical store, allowing customers to see the product-in person.