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Canada a Leader in Online Shopping? Not so Fast.

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In this installment of our chart series, we are featuring an infographic from our friends at Nextopia on the current Canadian e-commerce landscape. The infographic is below.

The key data points suggest that e-commerce in Canada is ticking along nicely:

  • Canadians will buy $25 billion in goods and services in 2014 up from $19.8B in 2012.
  • Over 55% of Canadians make online purchases with over 70% expected to be buying online by 2016.
  • Canadian eCommerce is growing at a faster rate than the United States.
  • Shop.ca has raised $51 million in venture capital and Amazon recently announced adding 1 million additional items on Amazon.ca

Wow! E-commerce is HOT in Canada! Or is it?

All signs suggest that e-commerce is firing on all cylinders in Canada. Amazon expands their offering, a startup raises over $50 million and us Canucks are buying more every year. What’s not to like? Lots!

If we peel the onion we begin to see a House of Cards for the Canadian e-commerce scene. What you say! Consider this:

  • Only 10% of Canadians are committed to doing their holiday shopping online as compared to 44% in the U.K.
  • It is estimated that 25% of Canadian e-commerce sales are cross-border sales.
  • Shipping costs, shipping delays and badly designed etail sites are driving Canadians to buy elsewhere – In the US and Europe.
  • Lower prices, better variety and service are also driving Canadians to U.S. and European sites

The reality is the Canadian eCommerce scene has lots of promise but there are issues with the current stock of Canadian sites, high shipping costs, higher prices and disconnected and poorly integrated supply chains. It’s time that we all step up, work together and offer world calibre online shopping experiences not just for Canadians but for those across the globe. VL is up to the challenge are you? Or are we running out of time?

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We are pretty convinced that the numbers from 2013 are still accurate. In fact a visit to the Retail Council of Canada’s web site doesn’t show much about ecommerce. Buried deep in their site is a report done by Deloitte on Omnichannel retailing.  It’s a good read. But why so very little on e-commerce?

In March of this year (2014) Google and L2 published an interesting report on the state of e-commerce in Canada. The video by the Founder of L2 paints a dismal picture. You can read an excellent summary of the report here.

So what do we do ? Well there are a number of things someone thinking of getting into web commerce can do. From a data perspective here are five considerations.

  1. Have an e-commerce plan. Its not just putting up a pretty site that will get you customers.
  2. The e-commerce plan should include a data flow diagram that clearly outlines how data will flow to trigger accounting, fulfillment, marketing and customer loyalty functions.
  3. Ensure that the platforms and suppliers you choose to use have an integrability factor. In other words how easy or how hard is it to integrate to their platforms. Can they provide the data you need to satisfy your business requirements.
  4. Look beyond one to one plugins.
  5. Finally always review the data flow plan on an annual basis. Platforms change and functionality is enhanced or cut back. Don’t get trapped.

If you are a Canadian e-commerce e-tailer tell us how you are making things work. If you are thinking of getting started in e-commerce send us your questions. We want to hear from everyone in the field, that’s our call to action.

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