Over the last decade or so, more businesses have been migrating online. The development of technology coupled with the increasing costs of having a physical location, has led to many businesses moving their businesses online. Some still retain a physical presence, but many have moved completely online, and new businesses entering the market are doing so on an online basis only. There has also been a growth in the demand for online goods and services in the last 10 years, persuading businesses to migrate online. In Canada, over 96% of the population has access to the internet, and it is an almost infinite market for businesses to enter. With the advent of smart phones, businesses selling physical goods, services, providing online games and streaming services and so on have all been able to thrive.
In Canada, around 72% of people made purchases online in 2018, accounting for around CA$43 billion. This is set to grow as technology continues to develop, and the danger is that the market becomes over-saturated. It is important for businesses, no matter what they are selling, to ensure they have visibility in their market to avoid being ousted and to remain competitive. Many new businesses will look to have a niche; this will serve them better in search engine optimisation and in attracting customers away from established brands by offering specific products or services. They will also look at their cost and quality, trying to offer better value for money than their competitors. Other ways to gain visibility include marketing campaigns, such as using Facebook, Snapchat and other social media to target adverts, placing short videos on free to use sites like YouTube, as well as a strong reliance on word of mouth and reputation.
Many companies use social media as a way of reaching new target audiences, relying on interactions with their posts
An example of an industry that needs to diversify to survive is the online gambling and casino industry. This industry has grown exponentially in Canada over the years as legislation around it has changed making entry for providers into the market easier. As such it has been hard for sites to remain competitive as the market becomes saturated, but a number have managed to adapt their operating model to be successful.
Their strategy to succeed in this market has included a number of incentives to attract new customers, investing in existing customers, growing their online presence through marketing campaigns, as well as ensuring something for everyone. Online casino sites need to ensure they offer games for everyone to attract a more diverse audience. Some people may prefer a game of roulette whilst others want to have a go on online slots. A casino site that has diversified by offering a wide range of games to their players is 888casino who are also home to the best online slots in Canada. Whilst some customers like a wide range of games, new customers are attracted by free plays, and offers to double or triple initial deposits. Once in, players are usually given rewards for how often they login and play, increasing retention and loyalty. Not only does this put the customer at an advantage but also the provider as they are retaining their customers from competition.
It’s not just the gambling sector who also work to draw customers away from their competition, as many other industries such as retail brands online do the same by offering new customer promotions, targeted advertising based on search history, and diversification of products, as well retention strategies including rewards programmes.
Some businesses have sign-up promotions and rewards to attract new customers into trying their products and/or services.
In Canada, there is a lot of competition from the American online market; retailers in particular are able to offer lower prices, as well as benefitting from fluctuations in the exchange rate. The Canadian government has also only just started legislating on imports, placing import duties on goods from abroad and collecting taxes. Due to this, many online retailers in Canada such as Hudson’s Bay, Etsy Canada, and Home Depot Canada to name but a few have all put strategies in place to remain competitive with overseas competitors, including free (or almost free) shipping, Canada-only offers, and creating items solely for the Canadian market.
The development of technology and the online market has been seen across the world, and in Canada it is definitely picking up pace. Through a series of market factors and government economic policies and interventions, different markets have seen different rates of growth, increasing competition, benefitting customers and diversifying the offers available. Entrants to the online market are facing fewer barriers to entry, but are facing different challenges; how to be visible, how to build brand loyalty, how to attract customers, and how to deal with the competition. It is hard to say if demand has led growth or if growth has led demand, but it is clear that the online market place is here to stay.