E-commerce Sales and Your Northern Neighbor – By Steven Page

by Sara Szado on April 19, 2016

Canada’s strong economy and high-demand for international products make optimized e-commerce websites a gold mine for U.S. based businesses. In 2015, 75% of Canadians made more than one purchase online.

According to Statistics Canada, almost 60% of online sales made in Canada in 2012 were on e-commerce sites outside the country. When U.S. e-tailers optimize their websites to cater to the needs of their growing consumer base in Canada, they have a better chance of retaining long-term customers and driving revenue.

With the ease of purchase and ability to acquire unique items delivered straight to their door, Canadians expect the online shopping experience to be simple and straightforward, including the shipping and return process.

As Canadians shift their preferred shopping channels of choice to include more e-commerce, marketers should be ready for the surge in purchases and the various logistics that are necessary for efficiently delivering products to customers north of the border.

A recent study by eMarketer estimated that Canadians will spend over $26 billion USD on e-commerce sites by 2019. But, in order to get products that are not available in their country, Canadians often end up paying much more than the cost shown on the website. The growing Canadian e-commerce market makes it critical for U.S. e-commerce companies to focus on creating a user experience specific to Canadian shoppers.

With shockingly high freight charges that often arise when shipping from the U.S. to Canada, it’s important to clearly present product pricing and shipping and handling information, which will help reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.

On the backend, e-commerce companies need to seamlessly and efficiently deliver their products to their Canadian customers, preventing surprise fees, and border delays, or forced local post office pick up. And to provide the best user experience that avoids customer service nightmares, a simple returns policy and process should also be outlined and easily accessed by consumers.

All of this can be accomplished by partnering with a logistics partner that specializes in moving freight to Canada.

The main thing here is to factor all fees into the cost of the item shown on the website, so that the customer is aware of the final cost they will pay, rather than having to pay one price up front, and additional fees upon delivery. If taxes and duties are excluded at the onset, and the customer has to pay more money when they receive the product, past experience shows they will be extremely unhappy and may never purchase from the website again.

To be successful, it is vital that businesses invest in technology, and partner with the right vendors that will make their e-commerce website and delivery methods efficient, easy, and sustainable for long-term success in the Canadian market.

Steven Page is Founder & President of Stalco, a Canadian-based logistics and fulfillment company.

This article appeared in issue 34 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2016. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-34

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