“Now is a great time for startups to be building the future of commerce here in Canada. According to eMarketer, e-commerce will account for 8.7% of all retail in Canada in 2020, representing a 27.9% increase compared to 2019. As ecommerce penetration grows, so too does the opportunity to create rich and meaningful multi-channel buying experiences for consumers.” — Qasim Mohammad
The 2020 map pays a nod to companies that are playing to the themes mentioned above. The core categorizations have remained consistent relative to previous versions, and are defined below:
Multi-channel Buying Experiences: Companies in this category are developing technologies that allow consumers to seamlessly experience commerce across all channels (i.e. online or in-store), and directly or indirectly make it very easy for customers to discover new products, services, and experiences. The fundamental value propositions demonstrated by companies in this category are increased convenience, personalization, and transparency, all of which have become cornerstones of the modern buying experience.
Technology for Suppliers and Merchants: Companies in this category are largely serving the B2B market, and are developing solutions designed to help sellers increase the speed and efficiency of their services across the commerce value chain. Key capabilities provided by startups touch on everything from core point-of-sale and supply chain operations (i.e. supply chain management, logistics and fulfillment, and last-mile delivery) to marketing, loyalty, and customer success management. The “enabling software” subcategory is used as a catch-all for startups providing other types of capabilities to B2B clients, such as facilitating try-before-you-buy experiences or assisting with front-line employee management.
Financial Technology: Companies in this category are making it easy for both merchants and consumers to access, underwrite, and manage finances and payments. On the one hand, merchants need access to payment technology to power customer transactions, financial capital to grow their businesses, and software to manage spend and pay employees. On the other hand, consumers need access to easy financing options and tools to help them increase their purchasing power. The startups in this category provide all of these capabilities and more.
Agencies and Intermediaries: As the Canadian digital commerce ecosystem grows, so too does the role of service providers that help new businesses get off the ground and scale across the omni-channel. This category on the map specifically highlights agencies and intermediaries that work closely with founders, retailers, and landlords to develop authentic and creative brands and experiences.