Internet online shopping by Canadians reached $15 billion in 2009

On September 27th, 2010, Stat Canada published the 2009 online shopping data for Canada. The good news:  Canadians used the Internet to place orders for goods and services valued at $15.1 billion, up from $12.8 billion in 2007. The 18% increase resulted from more online shoppers and a higher volume of orders.

Forty percent of Canadians accounted for 95 million orders
“About 39% of Canadians aged 16 and over used the Internet to place more than 95 million orders. This was up from 32% and the 70 million orders placed in 2007, when the survey was last conducted.  Relatively more residents of British Columbia (47%) and Alberta (45%) made an online order in 2009. Residents in British Columbia and Alberta are the most frequent online shoppers.” – Stats Canada

Security is less of an issue?!
Security concerns seem to be fading. Eight in 10 online shoppers paid directly over the Internet for some or all of their purchases. This data demonstrates a huge improvement in online payment security from PayPal’s 2008 survey which found that 51% of Canadians feel anxious about purchasing online. 40% feel anxiety due to a lack of confidence in the merchant’s security, compared to only 27% of American shoppers.

The bad news: Canadians are spending CAN dollars on US retail eCommerce sites

The fact is that large, traditional Canadian brands have backed out of eCommerce because they simply don’t have the right talent to operationalize with profitability. To name two biggies …

  • The Bay shut down their eCommerce store after their director of eCommerce (with a team of two) left to join TD. Sadly, the recent relaunch of is a rudimentary brand brochure, a store locator and a clumsy user experience.

A few Canadian retail eCommerce success stories are worth mentioning

Launch, Learn and Iterate: Strategic Thought Starters for Canadian Retailers

  • The unarguable truth is that Canadians want to buy from Canadian retailers for a number of reasons – mostly to save on the headache of expensive shipping and often outrageous duty fees.
  • “Expect US retailers to move into Canada with greater force in the next few years to capitalize on Canadian online spending habits. Setting up a Canadian face of an existing eCommerce sites is a small investment than building from scratch. Canadian retailers must consider that online retail is still growing faster than brick-and-mortar sales. B2C eCommerce will enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of at least 10% according to eMarketer’s projections, and US retailers are well aware of the opportunity and are moving fast.”- The State of Canadian Ecommerce
  • Canadian retailers are lagging behind due to anxiety of running and setting up an eCommerce webstore. However with a strategy that comes from the top, specialized talent in strategy and execution, the right data and open source tools, an eCommerce webstore can be ope operationalized internally or outsourced profitably.

Canadian Retailers: Here’s How To Get Your Webstore Right!

  1. Create a Web channel line of business so your Webstore does not suffer from lack of specialized leadership and talent. While you’re at it, separate out your lead-generation from the Webstore product development activities. They are not equal.
  2. Operationally, integrate Customer Care systems across all channels including Web. Your customer is not a Web customer, a call-centre customer or an in-store customer. Treat your customer as one customer. Make your Customer Care VP accountability for customer retention across channels.
  3. Name a buyer for your online store to select products based on your online customer profiles. Operate with a limited product selection. You don’t need to sell all your products online! Enough said.
  4. Do simple right when it comes to user experience. Don’t start out with every feature you can think of. Launch with simple features that work perfectly, like: a Blog, Search, Online Product Merchandising and Photography, Check Out, Shopping Cart + Shipping, and finally an intuitive My Account.
  5. Keep your data accurate and clean. Get your product information, categorization and taxonomy right. Managing your data is the not-so-secret, quintessential sauce to a successful online retail business.
  6. Do not make your IT department responsible for Webstore management and development! If you do, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Instead, investigate and select the right eCommerce technology that will enable you to deliver the best eCommerce customer experience. Put together a manageable publishing and feature maintenance plan.
  7. Think MOBILE. Whatever you create or iterate needs to work on a number of mobile platforms. Optimizing for mobile commerce or m-commerce could mean very little effort. Mobile commerce doesn’t need to be expensive.
  8. Good luck and if you need help, email me:

Leave a Reply

This website and blog is about digital marketing, web development, social media marketing, advertising, mobile advertising, cross-platform content and consulting. This material is for personal use only. Contents copyright © 2009 Creative Commons License granted providing the following attribution: Marina Mann