3 Emerging Retail Trends That Will Improve Canadian Retailers’ Online Sales in 2017

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 By Keith Hagen

While US retailers were quick to adopt a cataloguing culture, the Canadian online retail industry is still playing catch up. With more Canadians still choosing to shop with online retailers abroad, this gives Canadian retailers a prime opportunity to capture a slice of the online market.

According to one source, the Canadian online retail industry is expected to total nearly $40 billion by 2018. Here are three emerging ecommerce trends, according to Best-in-Class research by Inflow, (an ecommerce marketing agency), to help Canadian retailers improve online sales in 2017.

1)    A website isn’t enough. It’s time to develop specifically for mobile.

Over 17% of Canadians reported making online purchases with their mobile device more than once a week. With this in mind, it’s time to start developing sites that are mobile adaptive.

By making the site as easy to read and navigate as possible on a small screen, users will have a more positive mobile experience. This is especially important for retailers who have no mobile specific site, or who are still using an older, responsive design.

While designing a mobile friendly site, it’s also important to consider the user’s mindset. Mobile shoppers are on-the-go, and typically have less time to complete their tasks than shoppers using a desktop. Thus, you must make it as easy as possible for them to get straight to the point, or in this case, checkout.

2) Nix the annoying e-mail popup.

You might have heard that the fortune is in the follow up, or for online retailers, in the email list. While this still rings true, it’s time to get rid of that annoying email popup that users encounter when they first visit your site.

Not only are first visit pop-ups ineffective for users who are new to your brand, but Google now penalizes sites with large pop-ups on mobile. Research shows that bounce rates also improve when these pop-ups are removed.

A solid alternative to the first visit pop-up form is a push down ribbon or push up overlay. The key here is to offer the user something valuable in return for their name or email address. Discounts, or special loyalty rewards are usually a safe bet.

Zappos is a prime example of an ecommerce site using a push down ribbon, in lieu of a pop up, to capture email addresses.

3.) Make social engagement a no-brainer

The most successful ecommerce brands understand the importance of social engagement in the overall marketing strategy. But, for the rest of us, understanding the best way to do this can be a challenge.

Inflow’s research indicates that the best place to incorporate social sharing functionality is on ‘Product Details’ pages. Regardless of brand preferences, most shoppers develop an interest in a particular product versus a particular brand. Thus, social sharing is more effective when it comes to specific products, rather than your overall site.

Modern consumers will generally consider multiple options before making a buying decision. By curating some of your products on platforms like Pinterest (or making it easy for others to do so), you’ll stay top-of-mind when buyers are ready to make a purchase.

Ecommerce is the Future for Canadian Retailers

The time has come for Canadian retailers to jump onboard the ecommerce bandwagon. As a general rule of thumb, if a retailer is targeting a Canadian-only audience, it’s best to opt for a .ca web address, while retailers with a US based or world-wide audience should opt for a .com.

Even if it takes time to catch up with online retailers abroad in terms of web traffic, the opportunity is ripe for Canadian retailers to focus on ecommerce optimization and conversion to capture their piece of the pie. 

Keith Hagen comes from the web optimization world, and has been gaining insights into what is and isn’t working with websites since 2002. Following his postgraduate studies, Hagen moved from his native Nova Scotia, Canada, to Colorado to work as an internet programmer. He then moved to the business side of the internet. In the corporate world, he has driven the improvements of more than 30 websites (eCommerce and B2B).

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