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To Canadian Retailers that Want to Sell Online this Christmas Season

When asked by BC Business on what she thinks are the opportunities for local retailers in the 2013 holiday season, The Province fashion columnist Susie Wall said “all roads point to digital. If you don’t have a site, or you’re not on Instagram or Tumblr – whatever the platform, pick one – you’re a non-player. If your site is slick but you don’t have e-commerce, then I’ve just written item No.1 on your New Year’s resolution list.
E-commerce is the future of retail. According to MasterCard data from December 2012, Canadian online purchases increased by 26% compared to the previous holiday season. This has led the Canadian e-commerce space to reach $2.8 billion last season – an astronomical value that we wouldn’t have seen four, five years ago. 
With this rise in online shopping, local retailers must strengthen their web presence to stay afloat. Right now, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re way behind in the game. If you aren’t using social media to frequently engage with your consumers, you can say ‘goodbye’ to them as your competitors are most likely targeting them through their own digital channels.
To help companies gain competitiveness in the e-commerce space, here are 4 digital marketing approaches you can utilize:
  1. Make your website mobile-friendly through responsive web design

    Last year, roughly 85% of Canadians aged 16 to 24 were mobile Internet users. This has contributed to Canada’s $18.9 billion e-commerce sales last year, as Generation Yers are renowned for their substantial purchasing power. To vehemently target these consumers, your mobile website must be responsive and user-friendly. By using responsive web design, you can ensure your web content is consistent and optimized for all devices (i.e. iPhone 5c and HTC One). This means that your web content, such as images, is flexible and can fit your consumers’ screens perfectly. This makes sure your mobile user-experience is maintained at the highest level and boosts your consumers’ purchase desires.

  2. Showcase visual content on your social networks

    Canadian brands such as Lululemon displays a myriad of visuals on their Facebook pages. This allows these companies to develop an unique personality, create emotional appeals, and illustrate their product benefits. Moreover, it enables these local brands to deeply entice their customers and boost their purchase intentions. According to HubSpot, consumers are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video. Therefore, for Canadian businesses that want to make a push during the holiday season, it’s imperative for you to frequently publish visual contents to continuously arouse your audience’s emotions and will to purchase your products.

  3. Initiative AdWords campaigns

    Over 90% of Canadians use Google. This means that by disseminating an AdWords advertisement, you can potentially reach 90% of the Canadian population– wow! However, while Google AdWords is a powerful advertising tool, it may not be highly effective for converting sales. Instead, it may be optimal for increasing brand awareness. By boosting your brand exposure through AdWords campaigns, you can increase your likelihood of becoming a member of your consumers’ evoke sets. This in turn can help you firmly establish major mindshare and make your brand pop up in consumers’ minds when they start their Christmas shopping.

  4. Improve your shopping cart process

    Major online retailers all have a fairly short online checkout process. Chapters for instance, only has 3 steps in their shopping cart. This allows consumers to quickly make a purchase without having to go through a long, tedious online checkout process. Moreover, consumers can purchase products without having to create an customer account. This further enables customers to go through the checkout process quickly, which in turn can improve the abandonment rate. However, if your consumers leave your shopping cart nonetheless, you can always use retargeting advertisements to remind your consumers to complete their purchase!

With Christmas just around the corner, Canadian retailers must improve their website presence to prepare for this year’s shopping season. By creating a responsive website, beautifying their social pages, enhancing their brand exposure through AdWords campaigns, and improving their checkout process, companies will surely satisfy consumers’ online shopping demands and in turn, attain even greater returns compared to last year!