It’s widely known that American retailers have a foothold in the world of e-commerce as it relates to North American consumers. In other words, Canadian shoppers are known for their penchant for buying from online retailers who exist south of the border. It’s hard to blame them, however, as Canadian retailers have been slow to adopt practices that enable their websites to become popular destinations for online shopping.
However, things seem to be changing. As Hollie Shaw of Financial Post reported last week, Canada’s biggest online retailers are growing faster than their American counterparts. In fact, competition is at “an all-time high” as about half of Canadian’s consumers are making purchases from foreign retail websites. Naturally, that means half of our nation’s online shoppers are buying Canadian.
Shaw cites a recent report from E-Tail Canada that points out that 62 percent of Canadian retailers surveyed have found that the value of their online orders increased between 2015 and 2016. As well, 71 percent of Canadian retailers surveyed reported a growth in conversion rates. “That’s positive news for retailers given that Canadians are expected to spend $39 billion a year online by 2019, accounting for about 9.5 per cent of all retail purchases,” Shaw reports, based on estimates from Forrester Research.
In the past, we’ve blogged about the necessity for Canadian retailers to pay better attention to the needs of Canadian consumers. We’ve stressed that a dedication to e-commerce is necessary to appease the vast majority of shoppers in our country who enjoy making purchases online. Shaw’s report speaks to the fact that Canadian business owners are wising up to the fact that having online stores is an important part of remaining competitive in today’s business world.
Proof is found in the fact that retailers in Canada are putting efforts into offering easy online shopping experiences. “Thirty-seven per cent of Canadian retailers surveyed currently offer customers so-called ‘cross-channel’ returns or exchanges, allowing customers to return items in stores that they bought online, while eight per cent were in the process of implementing the capability and 13 per cent planned to do so in the next two years,” reports Shaw.
Statistics Canada reports that Canadian retailers are, in fact, doing even better than some other reports suggest. They note that e-commerce sales in 2016 reached $19.2 billion. About 60 percent of those purchases were made from domestic retailers while 40 percent were from foreign companies. This trend suggests that Canadian retailers are certainly stepping up to take advantage of the ever-growing fascination with online shopping in our country.
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