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Canada Is Ideal Market for U.S. Online Sellers

Canada is the largest cross-border online market for U.S. retailers today, according to a report from Borderfree. The company said U.S. merchants should consider tapping into the opportunity offered by Canadian shoppers. The majority of Canada’s 34.8 million people live within 100 miles of the U.S. border, and they cross it frequently – making them intimately familiar with U.S. stores, brands and shopping experiences, according to the report.

“Canadians know U.S. brands well and shop them frequently,” said Michael DeSimone, Borderfree CEO. “Between the country’s high Internet, mobile and social media penetration and an affluent population ready to spend, U.S. retailers looking to sell online to our neighbors to the north will find a ripe ecommerce marketplace.”

Borderfree helps brands and retailers expand geographically by managing all aspects of their international ecommerce activities, and it said Canada was its number one market for cross-border sales from U.S. retailers in 2013.

“We’ve also found that targeted marketing efforts in Canada reap big rewards, as evidenced by the most the recent holiday shopping season, where U.S. retailers saw significant online demand from Canadian shoppers,” DeSimone said. Top selling categories included women’s clothing, luxury goods, and home goods during the holiday period.

Specific advice offered in the report include the following:

  • With about 80% of Canadians in urban areas, retailers should consider geotargeting Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, the top three cities for cross-border shopping. Since English and French are national languages, both languages should be offered at checkout and in key content areas like FAQs.
  • Duty and taxes, as well as the declining Canadian dollar, impact cross-border purchasing. U.S. retailers that offer promotions, including free shipping or duty-free shopping, can offset shoppers’ concerns and attract sales.
  • As more U.S. retailers move north of the border, companies can capitalize on increased mindshare for U.S. brands and drive online purchases by offering the services Canadians have come to expect – shipping deals, easy returns, omnichannel payment options and personalized customer service.

The full report is available on the Borderfree website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.