How CDAP transformed a Toronto retail business

Discover how a Toronto retail store utilized the Canadian CDAP digital adoption program to transform their struggling brick-and-mortar business into a dynamic online powerhouse through Google, eCommerce (online store and ecom marketplaces) and adopting data-driven approaches for ongoing digital success.

CDAP Success Story
Unlocking the power of Google, retail eCommerce and marketplace for sales growth

This case study highlights how a Toronto retail business impacted from COVID challenges, achieved a successful digital transformation plan using the Canada Digital Adoption Program and the CDAP grant. By prioritizing Google SEO and its revenue opportunities, evaluating eCommerce store technology capabilities, and employing data-driven strategies, the Ontario-based business will enhance online visibility, expand customer reach, grow online revenue, and achieved sustained success.


The Challenge

An Ontario brick-and-mortar retail business with two locations in Toronto relied heavily on local foot traffic to support the business over the last 7 years. The shop has a simple website presence with eCommerce (Shopify) capabilities to enable a direct sales channel. Since COVID, revenue and sales have dropped, supply chain costs have increased, and market reach is limited to downtown Toronto. 

The impact of COVID skyrocketed operational costs as rising rent, higher wages, and overall supply chain expenses. After an initial assessment with a CDAP Digital Advisor, the following problems were identified that was restricting their business goals and growth.

CDAP Canada store owner in Toronto who leveraged the CDAP grant to hire a CDAP digital advisor to create a custom digital adoption plan.
Limited Customer Reach

The retail shop is confined to the local market, hindering the ability to reach a broader customer base and limiting sales and revenue growth potential.

Poor E-commerce Results

The ecommerce store was driving limited sales, yet the store owners felt its still delivering value, but no data-driven insight to inform business decisions.

Low Google Visibility

Both the website and ecommerce store were not found easily in Google when searching on brand and product keywords, yet the data shows tremendous opportunities the business was missing out on.

Competitors Winning Locally

Local and provincial competitors in Toronto and across Ontario targeting the same market are winning in Google, growing online sales and built a strong social media presence of followers and advocates.

Canada Digital Adoption Program and the CDAP grant to help Canadian businesses with digital adoption by working with a CDAP advisor

The Opportunity

The Toronto-based store owners could maximize the ‘Boost Your Business Technology’ stream from the Canada Digital Adoption Program to secure a CDAP grant of up to $15,000 (90% covered by the Canadian government). 

If the store embraces CDAP and its expert digital advisors, they could receive a tailored digital adoption plan to conquer the limitations their business faced, including growing Google visibility and rankings, how to get found locally on page 1, and how to improve their online sales performance through their eCommerce store.  The strategic move to utilize CDAP projected to boost market awareness and customer reach, drive new revenue growth, and unlock untapped operational efficiencies (lower costs), paving the way for even greater success and opportunities in the Digital space. 

The Canada CDAP program offered the following opportunities for this local Toronto retail shop:

Expert Guidance

The CDAP program would connect the Toronto-based retail shop with an expert CDAP advisor to work closely with them to build a strategic blueprint and roadmap, while educating their team to become more digitally savy.

Data-Driven Business Insight

By leveraging the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the business can gain data-driven insights on sales, marketing, and ecommerce, including competitor strategies in Google. This enables evidence-based decisions to optimize their eStore, boost market share, rankings, and online revenue.

Grow Google Visibility

The CDAP Digital Advisor would outline a SEO strategy, the capabilities and a strategic SEO roadmap for the store to get found on keywords customer use to search in Toronto (and across Canada) for their products. The research and analysis would also surface how competitors are growing rankings (SERPS) in Google, and its effectiveness.

eCommerce: "Fit for Business"

CDAP empowers the store with digital experts to identify the ideal ecommerce technology / platform fit for their business, considering aspects like total-cost-of-ownership, inventory management, payment process integration, and community support. Additionally, CDAP would provide insights on customer product preferences and checkout performance, instilling confidence in the opportunity of a online direct sales channel.

Competitor Insight

CDAP offers a game-changing opportunity to uncover data-driven insights into competitor performance in Google, advertising effectiveness, online sales performance, and more. Beyond the competitor insight, the business would gain value to understand how every $1 spent on marketing is performing to drive business value. These evidence-based insights enable businesses to optimize strategies, drive online growth, and make informed decisions to maximize their digital adoption success

Target Local Customers

A CDAP advisor plays a crucial role in helping businesses navigate how to target local customers effectively to drive in-store foot traffic, or purchase online. The advisor will outline digital marketing enablement strategy and KPIs that demonstrate valuable insights to optimize and maximize digital marketing investments.

The opportunity to embrace the Canada Digital Adoption Program would allow the retail business to transform its sales and operations by establishing a strong online presence, mitigating the impact of COVID on revenue, sales, and operational costs, and positioning itself for sustainable growth in an increasingly digital landscape.

The Solution

Once determined they were CDAP eligible, the Toronto-based store owners had the opportunity to benefit from the Canada Digital Adoption Plan (CDAP) and the Boost Your Business Technology stream, which offered them a CDAP grant of up to $15,000. 

After finding a CDAP Digital Advisor through the CDAP marketplace, the CDAP advisor guided the business to develop a customized digital adoption plan, strategic roadmap, and other essential areas that underpin digital transformation success; resources, capital / budget, change management, business risks, etc.

The CDAP advisor engagement began with an initial assessment discussion, followed by the alignment goals and outcomes captured in a statement of work (SOW) and agreement. Once onboarded, the project commenced with a kick-off overview to ensure timely and successful project execution.

The CDAP advisor supported the client throughout the entire CDAP process, addressing any frequently asked questions about CDAP, the CDAP grant, and the overall project. The advisor guided the client through the process until they successfully received reimbursement for 90% of the $15,000 CDAP grant within four weeks of project completion.

The primary focus areas of the digital adoption plan were improving Google SEO capabilities and implementing an effective eCommerce technology and platform strategy. 

The Google & SEO workstream aimed to increase market awareness, enhance brand visibility, outperform competitors, attract new customers to both the physical and online store, and SEO technology to manage the strategy and measure performance.

The second workstream targeted eCommerce technology to ensure the business selected an eCommerce platform that aligned with its goals and needs, such as TCO (total cost of ownership), facilitating easy inventory management, automation, standard features (ex. coupon codes, discounts, payment processor integrations w/ Stripe, etc.) and how to grow business adoption and sales revenue through the online sales channel.

Both workstreams involved a thorough discovery and research process to gather relevant data, enabling data-driven insights to inform recommendations and shape the strategy design.

The CDAP digital adoption plan also included a data-driven KPI measurement plan, aligned with each workstream’s strategic goals. This allowed the business to gain valuable insights on goal performance and continuously optimize its strategies for improved performance.

The entire Canada CDAP plan was completed in under two months, and a significant portion of the CDAP grant was quickly reimbursed to the client. Looking ahead, the client is now collaborating with the CDAP advisor to execute the roadmap effectively, receiving ongoing coaching and consulting to ensure successful implementation. 

Digital Adoption Plan Results

Leveraging the CDAP Boost Your Business Technology stream and by working with an approved CDAP Digital Advisor with over 20 years experience in Digital Transformation, the Toronto-based retail store received holistic digital strategy and blueprint customized for their business, goals and KPIs (key performance indicators). In addition to the below, other key considerations were factored into the CDAP digital transformation plan such as change management, operational process improvements, investments / capital, TCO (total cost of ownership), financial revenue forecast, data-driven insights and more to guide informed decisions and drive strategic actions.

  • Business strategy and goal alignment
  • Discovery with SWOT analysis
  • Competitor research and insights
  • Market and customer research and persona’s
  • Performance Insights: Google SEO (search engine optimization) and digital advertising
  • SEO target keywords: Primary, secondary, tertiary across informational/education, transactional, and commercial 
  • Website audit; technical, on-page and off-page
  • Gap analysis (current state vs. future state)
  • Evaluation: eCommerce technology assessment and evaluation of 5 ecommerce platforms
  • Evaluation: Marketing technology (SEO) assessment and evaluation (8 platforms)
  • Content audit and performance insights
  • Content strategic plan (core, transactional, evergreen)
  • KPI Measurement plan (ex. goals, KPIs, metrics, targets, online visualization)
  • Prioritization matrix (what to do now, next and later)
  • Revenue opportunity forecast (impact from Google)
  • Key opportunities and recommendations
  • Risks and key considerations
  • Implementation roadmap 
  • Governance and Change Management summary
  • Glossary and terminology
  • All research and planning artifacts / documents

The Outcomes

The Toronto-based store owners received immense value from the CDAP program and the digital adoption plan. It not only provided a roadmap for their digital transformation and reduced the financial risk thanks to the ‘Boost Your Business Technology’ grant, but it also paved the way for an enhanced online presence in Google and eCommerce to increase sales revenue, lower operational costs and a data-driven approach to understanding goal performance, ongoing optimization and success.

Customized Digital Transformation Strategy

The Toronto store received significant value from the CDAP digital adoption plan by working with a dedicated CDAP Digital Advisor.

Through this collaboration, the client was able to develop a tailored digital strategy and roadmap that precisely addressed their specific needs, goals and challenges.

The CDAP plan included essential areas such as resources, capital/budget allocation, change management, and business risks, ensuring a comprehensive and targeted approach to digital transformation.

Enhanced Online Presence and Sales Growth

The CDAP digital adoption plan focused on two key areas: improving Google SEO capabilities and implementing an effective eCommerce technology and platform strategy.

Prioritizing these workstreams, the Toronto retail shop gained valuable insights on how to increase market awareness in Google, grow online sales revenue, outperform competitors, and attracting new customers to both their physical and online store.

These transformative initiatives empower the Toronto business to now grow efficiently and effectively in the digital era.

canada digital adoption program for Canadian information technology and software development businesses

Data-Driven Optimization and Improvement

The inclusion of a data-driven KPI measurement plan in the CDAP digital adoption plan provided the client with valuable insights into the performance of each workstream's strategic goals.

This data-driven approach enables the business to continuously optimize the CDAP digital strategy based on real-time performance feedback.

Leveraging data to inform decision-making, the client can now identify areas for improvement, track goal performance and progress, and make evidence-backed adjustments to ensure the most effective and efficient implementation of their digital transformation initiatives.

Our business growth potential is now unlimited!

Thanks to the CDAP Canada grant and expert guidance from our CDAP advisor, we are now armed with the confidence that our business is on the right path to grow  beyond downtown Toronto. The revenue opportunity forecast was a massive eye opener in how much revenue we’re missing out on in Google, and the tailored digital adoption plan is a  game-changer for us!” – John, Co-Owner

Ready to get started?

Unsure if your business will qualify for the Canada Digital Adoption Program and its available grants? Find out in minutes by checking your eligibility online. 

Are you already CDAP approved and ready now ready for the next step to find a Digital Advisor that’s a fit for your business? Tell us a little bit about your business and goals, and we’ll do the heavy lifting to find you a short-list of of accredited CDAP advisors to speak with.