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How to launch a successful business in Canada (your start-up checklist)

online-sellerHow to launch a successful business in Canada (your start-up checklist)
While many online sellers have been successfully selling to US consumers for years, some are missing out on a significant market by overlooking the nation’s northern neighbour.  

But why should you consider Canada?
  • Online sales in Canada are forecast to climb by more than 50% over a five year period, rising from CA$18.3bn in 2016 to CA$29bn by 2021.
  • Recent data suggests that only 46% of Canadian business have any sort of website, directing many consumers towards international sellers.
  • 80% of Canadians have shopped online within the past year, with 53% of these making a cross-border purchase.
If you’re thinking of targeting the Canadian market, there are a few things to be aware of to ensure that your online store is successful. Read on for a checklist of what you should be looking out for and tips for maximising your sales by utilising online marketplaces like Amazon and ebay.

1. Brush up on Canadian shopping habits

Canadians are already well-versed in e-commerce, and the country’s proximity to the US and its wealth of desirable products means that many are used to purchasing from international sellers.

According to Comscore, 49% of all time spent online by Canadians is on their mobile devices, and while retail activity is still predominately conducted on a desktop, mobile purchases are steadily growing.

Because of this, it’s important to ensure that whether you sell your products through your own site or through an online marketplace, you choose a platform that’s responsive and optimised for mobile browsing.

2. Make the most of marketplaces

There’s no denying that Amazon dominates e-commerce in Canada, with claiming over 7% of all online sales within the country.

The retail giant attracts around five million Canadian shoppers to its site every month so it makes a lot of sense to register to sell your goods through the Amazon marketplace.

Best Buy Canada and ebay are two of the other most popular online marketplaces in Canada and are worth checking out to ensure that your goods receive the maximum exposure possible.

3. Shipping your goods

When shipping goods to Canada many sellers, especially those just getting their bearing, may want to make use of the services provided by many online marketplaces.

For instance, by using services such as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) you can easily negate the issue of storing and shipping your goods, while also handling any potential delivery and return issues. All you’ll need to take care of is importing your goods to a local Amazon warehouse, freeing up your time to spend on optimising your product listings and planning your marketing strategy.

Some marketplaces will also allow third party integration to facilitate drop shipping, which can further simplify the process of shipping your goods to Canada.

4. Be open about your returns policy

When shopping online Canadians like to feel confident that if they have any problems with a product they’ll be able to return it with minimal hassle.

In fact Misko Kancko, director of international strategy for Canada Post, suggests that up to 34% of all abandoned sales online are down to no clear returns policy being in place.

So if you’re choosing to forgo marketplaces and sell your goods through your own site, be sure to communicate your returns policy in a clear and concise manner to your customers.    

5. Stay informed of your legal and tax requirements

It will likely come as no surprise that Canada has its own legal and tax requirements that must be met by all business looking to sell goods within the country. Before you attempt to enter the market you should ensure that you’re aware of all the various rules that may apply to your business if you choose to operate in the country.

It may be worth enlisting the specialist services of a company who can work with you to make sure your business complies with all local laws – this could save you a few headaches later on.

6. Payment solutions

If you’re selling through the Amazon marketplace you’ll be aware that Amazon offers a service to repatriate the revenue from your sales into your local currency. However, with Amazon charging a fee for all transfers you’ll find that this service can quickly eat into your profits.

However, you can make sure you’re maximising your profits by working with a leading currency transfer specialist and taking advantage of services like multi-currency accounts.

If you’re hoping to target the Canadian market, get in touch with our team and find out how we can help you cut costs and streamline your international payments.

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