Poor customer experience is costing companies billions

With fewer shoppers browsing online or instore, re-engagement is key, according to a new IMI survey.


According to the latest research from IMI, substandard customer service is costing companies billions.

Based on a survey of 70,000 people, IMI found that over the last year alone, 100 million North American shoppers have left a retail store out of frustration, and 80 million have done the same at a grocery store. Those frustrations continue online, as 95 million Americans and 9 million Canadians, have closed an app while shopping due to pain points.

Vanessa Toperczer, SVP at IMI, dubbed this “leakage due to frustration,” saying this amounts to $30 billion lost due to frustration with a shopping experience across all platforms annually.

And as companies emerge from COVID-19, improving the customer experience and re-engagement will be critical, Toperczer adds, as fewer people are browsing online or in-store, compared with the first two waves of the pandemic. And fewer people are seeking online deals whether through big retailers, on brand websites or with flyers, representing an opportunity for brands and retailers to find shoppers outbound.



The numbers reveal that 63% of Canadians and Americans cite in-store as their favorite place to shop, followed by online at 30% and via an app at 7%.

Convenience, people, prices, sensory experience and simply getting out of the house are the biggest factors that determine a positive experience, according to the survey. These can be further improved upon by stores encouraging people to shop with friends, a concept associated unaided with terms like “calmness” “joyful” and “relaxing” in the survey. Allaying the concerns of parents shopping with kids is also another opportunity, as it was overwhelmingly associated with the term “frustration.”

In Canada, according to IMI’s presentation, Walmart leads the pack when it comes to offering quality retail customer service, with Canadian Tire a distant second. However, both tick all check boxes for key fundamentals for driving a positive physical shopping experience.

“Being responsive to every ask and need is setting precedence in 2022,” Toperczer says. “Habits form in 21 days, according to experts, so we only imagine what’s happened in last 700 days. Everything has been reset.”


What’s spurring ecommerce usage is that it’s fun and easy, with fewer hassles and more convenience. However, brands and retailers need to keep the fact that it’s a real excitement generator top of mind: according to the numbers, 54% of Canadians, unaided, report being “happy or excited” when they receive a package at their door.

Only Amazon managed to significantly stand out on ecommerce customer experience, with Walmart, Google, The Bay and Best Buy trailing distantly.