By: David Cameron
The very fact that you are reading this page probably means that you are a non-Canadian online merchant and that you are interested in finding out a little more about what you can do to get more sales from your Canadian traffic. Due to the sheer magnitude of online merchants hailing from the United States, this page is pretty focussed on what American merchants can do to get more out of the Canadian market place. This doesn't mean that merchants from countries other than the USA will not find the information useful so everyone please read on!
With the recent decline in the American economy, American online merchants have been looking for new and different revenue streams to tap into. The smart ones are looking North. Canada in already Americas largest trading partner and we share many similarities. We consume the same television, radio and music. Our two countries also share media, language and geographical location. In fact, shipping to some places in Canada is closer to the merchant than delivering to some places in the USA! With a market of over thirty-million people on your doorstep, it is worth a look.
Unfortunately there are some basic reasons why the Canadian online shopping market has under performed when compared with the same market in the US. The following points summarize some of these problems and how you as a non-Canadian merchant can overcome them.
Shipping and shipping fees are the single most important hurdle for Canadian online shoppers today. For most Canadians - when they shop online, they head directly to the merchant's Shipping page to find out: a) does the merchant ship to Canada AND b) What will it cost to ship to Canada. Shipping fees, taxes, duty and brokerage fees can be staggering! Depending on how the order is shipped, the Brokerage fees can be twice the price of the actual item! No wonder Canadians avoid shopping online. The many urban legends about the fees have made many fearful of the hidden costs involved with buying online... We have created a CanBuy.ca shopping tips page to try and demystify some of the fees but there is plenty we can all do:Shipping
One simple way to convert Canadian traffic is to setup a geo-targeted Canadian specific landing page. These pages go a long way in making Canadian shoppers feel more comfortable and ready to buy. Canadian specific landing pages are a great upfront opportunity for you to provide shipping information and content unique to your Canadian visitors.
A simple image of Maple leaf is usually enough to tell
Canadian shoppers at a glance that your merchant site
is Canadian friendly. If you operate an affiliate program
you should provide your Canadian affiliates with Canadian
specific links and creatives. Better yet, these creatives
could land on that new Canadian specific landing page!
Why not create a campaign and offer a coupon or promotion code just for Canadians. As mentioned previously, a free shipping coupon only pays a part of what a Canadian customer will ultimately have to pay for that purchase.
For some time now, the Canadian dollar has fluttered around the same value as the American dollar. At times it has even been more valuable than the American dollar yet we still see price tags that read $1 in the USA and $1.15 in Canada. If your prices don't represent the reality in the value of the Canadian dollar then forget about selling to a Canadian.
Cultural stereotypes like Canadians always saying "Eh!" or "aboot" and drinking beer is simply ignorant. These things will drive Canadian customers away to your competition faster then you can imagine. Show Canadians the respect that you would any potential customer and you will see great results.