Canadians are among the world’s heaviest Internet users, with a penetration rate of 88.5%. Today, it’s easier than ever to get your retail business into e-commerce through website creation. The global interconnectedness has enabled Canadian companies to continue running even during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re looking to start a retail business or expand into e-commerce in Canada, here’s how to go about it:
Traditionally, retailers needed a physical office for spaces like sales floors and boardrooms to interact with people directly. However, to get into e-commerce, you need to shift your business into a digital model by investing in the right software and equipment. The right digital technologies allow your employees to work from any location, sell goods/services over the internet, and provide online customer service. Use this time to adopt sustainable digital strategies to give you a competitive advantage and accelerate growth.
Conduct market research
To successfully get your Canadian retail business into e-commerce, you must conduct market research. In the online market, some big players make the e-commerce environment more competitive. Use the available research tools to discover your niche and where your target audience is based. Some of the sites for online market research include Google Search and Google Trends.
Have an engaging online presence
Launching a retail business in e-commerce requires a lot of effort to make sales. Even with a website and social media pages on all platforms, you must engage with customers to create brand awareness. Create a user-friendly business website and include all necessary information that makes it easy for clients to reach you. Use optimized content and align it with your products/services. On social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, create engaging posts and videos, and be prompt about responding to your customers.
Invest in a support team
A successful transition into e-commerce as a Canadian retailer requires you to have technical support for the platforms and software you use. Hire in-house staff or outsource technical support services for fast problem solving or rapid changes. Customer support is also essential when your website uses multiple languages. Use chatbots, 24/7 online customer support, and ensure there’s a quick email response.
Manage your supply chain
With a retail e-commerce business, you have a large market to cover when supplying goods. You need to strategize on the best means to get products to your customers and select the best payment processing solution for your target markets. Hold discussions with your supply chain management to determine how you can integrate digital customer support solutions and inventory control.
Hire employees to work on the ground by travelling to foreign destinations to conduct sales, market your brand, and close deals. When going into foreign markets, seek legal expertise from an immigration attorney for better understanding and protection from the laws, regulations, and customs of international business.
Small businesses are the lifeline of the Canadian economy, and the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many of them move to e-commerce for sustainability. Canadian retail businesses can get into e-commerce by adopting digital technology and software, engaging with customers online, and using available tools for market research. For optimum success, invest in a customer support team, supply chain management, and legal expertise.