Quebec bricks-and-mortar retailers try to stay relevant in online shopping era

Online shopping continues to grow steadily
WATCH: The Conference Board of Canada has found online retail orders have increased by more than 15 per cent year over year. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, brick and mortar stores need to keep finding ways to attract shoppers.

Cheryl Glense knows all about the retail business.

After all, the owner of Ritsi, an exclusive women’s clothing store in Westmount, has been in business for decades.

During that time, Glense has seen a lot of changes in the industry — perhaps none as fast as the exploding growth of online shopping.

“I think it’s a great thing. You just have to move on; that’s the future so what are we going to do? We have to fight against it and try to stay in business,” Glense said.

Glense has a website and a Facebook page, but most of her sales come from in-store shoppers.

READ MORE: Simons takes on outside investors as it looks to build new distribution centre

Story continues below advertisement

While that’s true for most Canadian retailers, the trend is quickly changing.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, online sales continue to grow in the country by more than 15 per cent year over year. That growth is five times faster than the total retail spending rate.

In Quebec, the No. 1 e-commerce site is Amazon, which represents 38 per cent of the province’s online shopping.

“That’s a trend that’s going to continue, and Quebec businesses are going to have to embark on that journey,” Bruno Leblanc of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business told Global News.

READ MORE: Quebec shopping centre bans unaccompanied minors following merchant complaints

Leblanc says even baby boomers and senior citizens shop online and that it’s not just a phenomenon with the millennial generation.

One of the new trends is store owners creating shopping apps for smartphones and hosting social media pages where shoppers can make direct purchases.

Leblanc says these trends will likely continue well into the future.