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US Merchants Attract Growing Number of Canadian Shoppers

The continued rise of a shopping trend where Canadian consumers do their online purchasing from US ecommerce sites looks ready to increase in number again. An October 2013 survey of Canadians by UPS Canada and Leger Marketing, found 24 percent plan to buy from US sites during the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 13 percent in 2011.

Other findings by the survey noted the number of women likely to engage in online shopping this year will rise to 21 percent, up from 9 percent in 2011 shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. UPS also anticipates having its biggest shipping day globally on December 16.

EcommerceBytes.com also interviewed Jim Bena, vice president of marketing, UPS Canada, about the topic. Our questions and answers follow.

EcommerceBytes.com: What do you see as the important reasons US merchants reach and entice Canadian shoppers?

Jim Bena: Fundamentally, and despite Canada’s ultra-competitive retail market, sales, pricing and ecommerce innovations continue to drive Canadian consumers south of the border.

EcommerceBytes.com: Does your research indicate this is a one-way street, or are you finding some appeal for Canadian online sellers for US shoppers?

Jim Bena: Unfortunately we’re not in a position to speak to this as our survey only looked at Canadian cross-border and online shopping tendencies. While it would be interesting to look at both Canadian and US data to determine if Canadian retailers are benefiting from an increase in traffic, we cannot say for certain if there’s a two-way street mentality at this time.

EcommerceBytes.com: What can Canadian online sellers do or do better to attract US customers?

Jim Bena: What we have seen over the last few years is that Canadian retailers are also slashing prices around this time of year – specifically around Black Friday and Cyber Monday – to try and keep Canadian consumers north of the border. The more competitive retailers become – through pricing as well as ecommerce innovations – the better chance they have of attracting customers and increasing their sales.

EcommerceBytes.com: Do Canadians seem to shop actively on what would be Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the US markets? Are there any particular holiday shopping days that stand out for Canadian online shopping?

Jim Bena: There are 26 shopping days between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas – this is the busiest time of the year for us and we expect to see stronger holiday package activity during peak online shopping periods. December 16 is our peak pick-up day where we expect to pick up over 34 million packages and on December 17, our peak delivery day we expect to deliver over 29 million packages. Boxing Day, December 26, is also becoming more prevalent for etailers in Canada.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.