October 8th, 2007 | 3 MIN READ

Attracting Canadian Online Shoppers

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

With the holiday shopping season approaching and the Canadian dollar hovering around par, more and more Canadians like me are going to seek out Canadian-friendly estores -- and we're likely to be disappointed.

According to DM News:

  • The Canadian consumer spends 47% more than the average consumer
  • There are around 13,000 online retailers and catalogers in the US, vs. about 150 in Canada (although I believe there must be more)
  • Because there's less competition, Canadian retailers do not have to compete on price, and goods from the US can be significantly cheaper

How Can US Merchants Become Canadian-Friendly?

Canada Post's Border Free software allows US etailers to sell to Canadians directly online in Canadian dollars without the complications of dealing with taxes and import fees by calculating these fees into the price, and eliminating COD taxes. This eliminates the "shock" factor upon checkout (and abandoned carts) when Canucks are presented with the final cost of their purchases. Exchange rates are updated daily. Also, Canadians will not be billed until the goods clear the Canadian border. Retailers already on board include Lane Bryant, Sephora and Ritz Camera.

Canadian consumers can check out Border Free's shopping portal to find participating merchants.

US retailers can find more information on the Canada Post Border Free product here.

As a Canadian, I do use search engines to find Canuck-friendly online stores, and it's slim pickings. Words I use include "free shipping to Canada." If this is a service you offer, do create a unique page on your site and use "Free Shipping to Canada" in the title tag to get that SEO boost. Great examples of those who are doing it right are:

"Free Shipping to Canada - Elk Lighting"
"Free Shipping in US and Canada!" (Pilot Lighting)
"Free Shipping US, Canada - Lingerie & Activewear"

If you're an online retailer with a free shipping to Canada page and you'd like some link love, drop me a line and I'll add you to this list.

It's a great idea to include your product line or business name in the title tag to encourage click through.

Another idea is to post your free shipping to Canada offer to the Red Flag Deals forum which happens to rank highly in Google for the term "free shipping in Canada."

One more tip, if possible, mention on each product page where you ship to. It's a real pain in the wrist to get to the checkout only to find that you're not willing to sell to me. Even when I get on the phone with customer service and request shipping to Canada I get shot down. Perhaps if these etailers knew that Canadians are more likely to spend more money, they'd rethink their shipping policies?

Is anyone selling into the Canadian market currently? Any tips that have worked well for your online store?

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