WOW 2021: Unveiling of the Best Retailers in Ontario!

January 19, 2022

Leger is pleased to unveil the best in-store experiences in Ontario in 2021 as part of its highly anticipated annual WOW Study.

WOW is a true specialist in measuring the in-store customer experience. For more than 10 years, the study has revealed the ranking of the Ontario retailers that offer the best in-store customer experience. It also presents the strengths and weaknesses of retailers and their competitors, the main in-store irritants encountered by customers and the evolution of the customer experience offered by different players in the same sector over time.

In 2021, the WOW study surveyed 13,000 Ontarians about their in-store experience at 153 retailers across 20 different sectors. These retailers were assigned a score, the WOW Index, which ranges from 0 to 100 and is calculated based on 20 dimensions of the in-store customer experience such as product quality, price competitiveness, employee courtesy, store atmosphere, etc.


The retailers with a score above 90 are included in our list of Ontario retailers that offered the best in-store customer experience in 2021.

The best in-store experiences in Ontario

Special Feature: Sense of Belonging

A major new feature of the 2021 WOW study is the analysis of the drivers of a sense of belonging: a person has a sense of belonging when they identify with a store and embrace its values, mission, actions and the image it conveys. A strong sense of belonging gives the impression of belonging to an organization, being part of its community, supporting it and contributing to its development. A sense of belonging is also associated with a strong emotional connection and translates into commitment.

This dimension of the in-store customer experience has the greatest impact on recommending a retailer across all sectors. There is also a very strong correlation between a sense of belonging and the WOW Index. The top retailers in this year’s ranking all scored well on this dimension compared to other players in their sector.


  • An excellent way for a retailer to create a sense of belonging is to positively contribute to its customers’ quality of life. Retailers can adopt strategies to reduce stress, make customers happy, offer flexibility, be available, etc. Remedy’sRx, Kiehl’s, Nova Cannabis and Saje Natural Wellness are examples of retailers that stand out on this driver.
  • Corresponding to its customers’ values and beliefs (production methods, packaging, product type, etc.) is also an important driver of a sense of belonging. Zero-waste retailers, those with responsible packaging and those in the eco-friendly and organic universe, such as Lush, Yves Rocher and MAC stand out on this driver.
  • Having happy, committed employees who are passionate about their work also contributes to creating a strong sense of belonging: Lululemon, Lego and Lee Valley Tools perform very well on this driver.
  • The sectors with the highest sense of belonging are beauty, cannabis, men’s clothing, pharmacy and specialty boutiques.

To learn more about the results of this year’s WOW study, watch our webinar by clicking here.


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