Canadian Sites Vie for Share of Ecommerce Market

Despite signs that Canadian consumers may be losing patience with Canadian retailers’ slow progress at introducing online shopping venues, more than a few local firms are rising to the challenge, and successfully tapping into Canada’s lucrative e-commerce market.

One site that went live in August 2012, www.shop.ca, quickly climbed the charts to claim the number 28 spot on comScore’s list of top 100 Canadian e-commerce sites.  The website is an online marketplace through which brand name goods are offered across a variety of categories – everything from computers to baby gear to pet supplies.

Another popular site, www.onlineshoppers.ca offers access to more than “450 Canadian online shopping websites and international retailers that ship to Canada.”  The site claims that most of the retailers listed are Canadian, with stores located in major cities including Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Ontario.  The site also says that all transactions take place in Canadian dollars, and most offer free shipping throughout Canada.

A third site, www.well.ca offers access to health and personal care products, and has developed a strong following since its 2007 inception.

In addition to these “shopping mall” type venues, at least one traditional brick-and-mortar department store has entered the e-commerce market.  The Hudson’s Bay Company, which traces its roots to a British royal charter issued in 1670, recently re-launched an e-commerce site, following a not-so successful previous effort.

This success comes on the heels of a new survey by Forrester Research, which found growing frustration among Canadian consumers with inefficient Canadian ecommerce venues.  Among consumers’ top complaints:

  • Higher prices than costs for identical merchandise on U.S. sites
  • Shipping Costs
  • Poor product selections; and
  • Lack of cross-channel shopping venues (web, mobile, and in-store)

According to Euromonitor International, an international source of consumer market research, the Canadian sites still have a way to go before they make a dent in the solid performance of international – mostly U.S. — sites.  “The success of internet retailing in Canada is largely dependent on the readiness of retailers to invest in online shopping to ensure user-friendly site designs, product assortment, convenient shipping and return options, competitive prices and reward programs to encourage repeated purchases,” the analysis notes.

Just what are the top sites for Canadian consumers?  According to Internet Retailer, top sites for 2012 included:

  • Amazon.com Inc.
  • Apple Inc.
  • Kijiji.ca (online classified ads)
  • Best Buy co.
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
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