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Cities as Warehouses: The Survival of Main Street Retail in a Digital World

Retail in Canada is at a crossroad, with the promises and challenges of digital being the next step forward. Digital should be looked at as a tool to grow Canada’s retail ecosystem, particularly at the local level, but equally as a threat to the very survival of local retail if not properly harnessed. This white paper focuses on the local digital retail nexus that exists across Canada and explores how the “cities as warehouses” concept may provide some needed answers to the digital gaps in Canada’s retail sector.


3 Key Takeaways from the Report

Ecommerce is re-shaping the entire retail sector, while customers’ digital shopping habits are evolving well beyond the capacities of most local retailers.

Canadian retailers as a whole are not prepared to take on the digital imperative required to survive and compete in today’s rapidly changing economy.

Collaboration is a powerful solution to the challenges posed by ecommerce marketplaces and changing shopping habits.

" The technology battle is over; the next retail battle is logistical. Developing a logistical capacity locally and making available shared inventory… that is a HUGE opportunity. "

Jacques Nantel, Professor,
HEC Montreal

" We used to view customers as being outside our organization – we push stuff out to them. Now we can view them as being inside our business, co-innovating with you."

Don Tapscott, CEO,
The Tapscott Group

" For a retailer, missing out on digital transformation would be a long slow decline. When you get to that point, you can’t just turn a corner and suddenly be in the digital age. Others will be so far ahead, and how do you catch up?"

Andrea Reimer,
Vancouver Councillor


of buyers are interested in doing prior research online


of retailers do not feel online retail is competition


of retailers plan to increase their online investment over the next 2 years


of Canadians are making digital purchases


of retailers still do not have a website and 30% of them don’t feel the need

Get the Full Picture

Download the report to understand the power of digital in an age of retail disruption.

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