A few months ago e-Marketer published a report about the state of e-Commerce in Canada. Being the biggest fan and best customer of Canadian e-commerce, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that it’s is finally starting to take off. But kids, we still have a ways to go before we can truly call ourselves a “leading” e-commerce nation.
Our Dependence on American-based e-tailers
Our love of everything American creates a demand to shop on American-owned-and-managed sites. But many American-based e-tailers simply refuse to accommodate Canadian customers because they don’t wanting to deal with duty, shipping and other nasty fulfillment issues. The result is unfortunate: Canadians are being put off of e-commerce because of negative reinforcement and limitations by U.S. sites.
Case in Point: www.gap.com and www.oldnavy.com sites simply refuse to ship to Canada. A friend of mine who works at the Canadian Gap office told me that Gap Canada’s management has been trying to get their California-based Head Office to consider a “dot ca” or just let Canadians buy off the main site. After much deliberation, the U.S. management decided against selling to Canadians over the internet, because we are not a lucrative e-commerce market. They’re kind of right – but their attitude is also leading to a vicious circle. You can’t create a lucrative e-commerce market by consistently pissing off Canadian e-consumers.
I encountered a similar situation when I tried to buy a special “toddler floaty” swimsuit for my son off the Speedo website. I landed on the Speedo splash page (pardon the pun) and chose Canada. I was impressed to see a fully functional shopping cart in the Canadian site. But, on checkout, the Speedo site refused to take my order and I was left feeling like a second-class citizen (and I was choked I could not get this specialty-suit for my kid). Speedo faked me out and I am now checking out other brands – I even (gasp) had to go to the mall!