Canadian shoppers don’t just buy online – they buy a lot online, about $954 annually, per person, according to an Ipsos Reid survey. Their most common purchases? Beauty products (29 percent), items for their home (23 percent), pet products (17 percent), and even groceries (15 percent).
Consumers buy so much that between 2011 and 2012, their collective online retail spending climbed by $1 billion to $7.7 billion, or 1.5 percent of all retail sales in Canada, according to the Annual Retail Trade and Annual Non-Store Retail Surveys.
Given this surge in eCommerce, Canadian businesses are stopping to think about just how effectively they’re reaching potential online customers, and not just those in North America. eCommerce now stretches across the shores of all continents, giving unprecedented choices to global shoppers and opportunities to sellers.
Along those lines, Craig Reed, Pitney Bowes Vice President of Global eCommerce, told Canadian Shipper that global eCommerce has caught the attention of Canadian businesses in part because of a spike in demand from the so-called BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – where eCommerce has been helped along by large populations rapidly gaining Internet access. In Russia alone, these factors have helped the country rank fifth worldwide in year-over-year eCommerce sales increases.
What an opportunity this landscape has created for Canadian eCommerce businesses. As Reed said: “Canada and the U.S. [are] always going to be the number one corridor for most merchants depending on what’s being sold. That said, the relative mix of demand in business from new sources will continue to grow as a percentage.”
The Selling-Shipping Connection
As demand for goods increases globally, so too does the responsibility of businesses to evolve the other half of their eCommerce infrastructure – the shipping side. Global eCommerce has helped shipping to grow in prominence. In the same interview with Canadian Shipper, Mark Shearer, Executive Vice President and President of Pitney Bowes SMB Mailing, said: “We used to view the world as mailing. Now we view the world as shipping and mailing.”
Given this context, mail centers of businesses that sell online need a logistics management solution to manage multiple carriers, make sure shipments are cost-effective, reduce shipping errors and deliver packages when promised. Even if businesses have mastered the selling half of the eCommerce equation, the only way to keep the whole process running like clockwork is if shipping functions just as smoothly.