Tag Archives: online shopping

Sad State of Canadian Ecommerce

Two of the biggest online shopping shopping days have come and passed with Cyber Monday and Black Friday, did you make sure to capitalize? Based on a recent industry polling, it seems that it’s likely that you didn’t.

growthThe growth that Canadian retailers have been experiencing online for the last year or so has slowed to such a crawl that it’s nearly at a standstill. It is doubly important to get your collective heads in the game, especially since consumers savvy hasn’t slowed in the slightest where shopping is concerned. Online spending has been on a swift rise for more than 4 years in Canada, but has all but shifted to south of the border due to retailers not homing in on this trend and capitalizing. Of course there is a cost to developing a proper ecommerce site but the benefit drastically outweighs that cost. There are some major brands out there of course which have their ecommerce solutions built and took advantage of the billions of dollars that were spent in the last week online, but most missed out than benefited, and even some who should know better lost out where ecommerce in Canada is concerned.

When Target made its big launch into Canada in March it didn’t include an online store, Canadian Tire only sells tires online and although it plans to enact a wider e-commerce strategy next year, it will focus on letting consumers ship purchases to their nearest store, not to their home, a key difference between Canadian and US ecommerce stores. Consumers aren’t blind to the fact that there are often better deals and more selection available if they do some cross-border online shopping, even after factoring in all of the extra charges that are a part of online shopping. And where do we rank according to a poll just a couple of months old? Compared to other countries of our technological savvy, we come in pretty much last where ecommerce sales are concerned. Our closest comparison is Australia at this point, and even they are a few years ahead of us in sophistication. In that same poll more than 75% of the consumers in the survey said they would use the web to help them decide which stores to shop at this holiday season and which brands to purchase. And of those, about half said they’d use their mobile phone as a shopping tool. You may have lost out on the shopping from this passed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t let the rest of the holiday season get away from you.

Cyber Monday Projections – Did you Take Our Advice

The US Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with it Black Friday, the occasion when everyone tries to find the best deal. But the limelight is slowly turning to focus on the new comer to the shopping scene – coined Cyber Monday in 2005. We’d written about the date in early August, as with the internet and the search engines working the way they do, it would give you time to put yourself in a commanding position. Did you take advantage of the forewarning? Or did you just settle for where you are, and lean on your in-store sales? If you did the latter, you’ll likely soon be kicking yourself as the predictions and the numbers are starting to come in.

Cyber Monday was first used in 2005 after the increase in online spending had suddenly jumped. Since then, the industry has climbed to being such a huge business that some stores are reporting that nearly 40% of their yearly income is from this singular online shopping day. And that number will only continue to grow. This year it’s estimated that on this one day alone Americans will likely spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.4 billion dollars in 24 hours, and that’s up a good 17% from last years online spending. With more and more people having more connected devices, from phones to computers, iPads and laptops, the lure to shop online is growing rapidly. The best quote about from comScore came would have to be the following:

Of all the benchmark spending days, Thanksgiving is growing at the fastest rate, up 128 percent over the last five years

That’s a huge portion of income that you could potentially be missing out on just by not taking advantage of the online branding advice we hand out freely here on our blog. The number of 17% growth, year after year needs to be taken with a grain of salt of course, as some industries can expect consistent sales, but as a business owner you need to take stock. What could you achieve with a better online position, what improvements could you make with a 5% increase in income? What about 8%, or 10% for that matter? When you’re ready to find out, contact us here at Fresh and we’ll help you answer those questions.

Canadian Online Shopping

Now that Halloween is officially over, the shopping rush of Christmas is going to begin. Each and every year there is billions of dollars to be made online as more and more often shoppers are using the web to avoid the holiday masses in store. Here in Canada we have about 1 in 5 gifts purchased online, and while that might seem like a sizable amount, the reality is we’re well behind the pack.

A great quote about our current state of online shopping:

E-commerce could be a much, much larger trend in Canada if consumers had more places to shop online.
Rafe Petkovic, Google Canada

In terms of saturation, Canada is 5 to 6 years behind the rest of the world for online shopping, much where the UK was in 2006/07. There is an upside to our situation however, and it exists mainly because everyone else already did the work, all we would have to do is copy it, for lack of a better description. Can we improve our online offerings and move more towards the digital world with the rest of the world? Absolutely, all of the trials and tribulations with building the online shopping centers have already been ironed out.

There is a downside however, and it’s one that we frequently meet here at Fresh. The business owners who are resistent to change, growth, and adapting the online world and business model. When Jerry opened the offices here in Winnipeg, he was often met with resistence when outlining a new plan for an online presence even though the methods are proven successful in much tougher markets. In 2011 in the US, 70% of Internet users were online shoppers and for the UK that number was 82.5%. Canada was sitting at just under 57% of users were online shoppers, and the only one stopping that number from going up are the business owners.

The steps that are needed to be made to have a successful online shopping destination are not small ones, and make no mistake about the cost, because you get what you pay for. If you try and go cheap on a website or a shopping portal, just to get your name in the game, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you shipping issues, security issues or problems with payment processing. It’s a job that needs to be monitored, that needs to be guided and needs a proven professional company to do it right. Christmas is fast approaching, it’s only 7 weeks away, are you ready or able to properly serve your customers?

Know Your Target – Christmas is Coming

An odd job that every site owner should make sure to take the time to do for themselves, is to always be on the lookout for new, or soon to be opportunities. The way these opportunities can manifest themselves for your business vary, you could see increased foot traffic at physical stores, or if you have a strictly online position that your conversion rate on your site has improved.

Be aware of any of the changes in your city and target demographics. Whether your aim is to make sales, or to have people sign up for a news letter, your first hurdle to get over is the one of visibility. If you can’t be found for the newest gizmo in your niche, then you may as well not even sell them. Google and Bing both have a handy tool which you can use to get a feel for how your niche tracks. Bings Keyword Tool allows you to discover search trends over the last few months, and allows you to see how trends which initially move slowly, can suddenly fly up the rankings.

The tool that Google has available is their Trends Tool and it’s a different version of the Bing one. Trends has recently been merged with one of their other tools, Insights for Search, and has become a research gem. You can conduct research on as small an area as a few weeks, or as far back as 2004, you can get readings from a much larger base and it paints a larger picture for you to make decisions on.

Historical tools and data are amazing in helping you make clearer decisions where your market is possibly heading, especially now that we’re heading into the Christmas shopping season. As an example, in 2010 in the US alone there was $30 billion spent in online shopping, and in 2011 that number rose to $35 billion. You don’t need a large sample picture to guess, that number is only going to increase again. This is where Freshtraffic comes in, research your niche, decide on your target and come to us as soon as possible. We’ll help you reach the commanding position you need to take a bite of the (possibly) $40 billion+ online shopping pie.