The New Values of Retail in Canada: Sustainability, Inclusivity and Meaning

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Today’s retailers are recognizing that they are pillars of their communities. Their influential voices and platforms are making retailers leaders of the pandemic-propelled cultural evolution while consumers’ expectations grow to demand not only flawless frictionless, cross-channel shopping experiences but also transparency and trustworthiness at a whole new level.

In recent years, retailer discussions about Gen Z focused on the importance of value-based shopping. The pandemic experience and the ongoing anti-racism and inclusion conversations have opened many consumers’ eyes to supporting businesses they value and who valued them. Customers are speaking loudly through their wallets to frequent retailers who embody diversity, inclusion, sustainability, health and safety, and “shop local”.

Retail Council of Canada’s STORE Conference, which this year will be an all-virtual event on from September 13 to 16, 2021, will explore the new era of retail and the changing consumer (and employee) values and that are creating new opportunities for retailers. 

IKEA Canada says over 90% of consumers want to live a more sustainable life. Recognizing that customers are asking for more accountability and transparency, the company has a bold ambition to become fully circular and climate positive by 2030. IKEA Canada’s CEO Michael Ward, who will be speaking at RCC STORE, is also taking on the role of Chief Sustainability Manager in Canada, a further demonstration of the organization’s commitment sustainability.  

Inclusivity and belonging are also themes that will be explored at this year’s RCC STORE Conference. Rob Smith, founder and CEO of the Phluid Project in New York City, will share his journey about empowering individuals through freedom and self-expression. Recognizing how gender is stereotypically portrayed in apparel marketing, Smith envisioned an experience free of the bombardment of gendered messaging which is found to be inconsistent with identity for many consumers. Phulid Project’s genderless apparel is making a safe, judgement-free shopping experience the imperative.

Industry leader Sephora continues its own journey to extend the value of belonging to both customers and team members alike. Debra Neff, SVP Marketing at Sephora Canada, will speak to Sephora’s holistic strategy and how its employee value proposition is a critical part of developing inclusive campaigns and in-store experiences that resonate with customers’ diverse needs.  

After a year of so many ups and downs it is also critical for retailers pay close attention to their employees’ needs. Montreal HR, quality of life and well-being at work specialist Marie-Josée Nucci, who will also be presenting at RCC STORE, will discuss how well-being is the foundational layer of high-performing teams  and a key factor to increasing productivity, retention, safety, collaboration, minimizing absenteeism and improving company culture. Now more than ever prospective employees are evaluating prospective employers for values alignment; employees are increasingly placing a priority on feeling supported at work.

This year’s all-virtual format makes this year’s RCC STORE very accessible to all retailers, small and large, from across Canada.  With highly applicable retail-specific content, over 60+ speakers from around the world, and retailer participants from every retail sector, RCC STORE 21 will be the most informative,   inspirational and biggest retail event this year.

Learn more and register at

EARLY BIRD rate end July 30, 2021.  Register a group of 5 or more together for an additional 20% off.

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