How Canadian Retailers Can Use Social Media to Increase Online Sales

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By Josh Newman

We know that there are fewer online purchases being made in Canada compared to the global average. We also know that Canadians appreciate being able to see, feel, and experience a product in-store prior to purchasing.

So, how can Canadian retailers leverage the power of social media to help increase online product sales? Let’s discuss.

First, know what social media channel your customers use.

Before you can even begin to start using social media to try and attract customers, you need to know where your customers are, digitally.

While online sales might be down in Canada compared to the global average, this doesn’t mean Canadians aren’t online. They certainly are, but you just need to know where to find them.

For instance, Instagram can be a very effective social media channel for helping with brand awareness; however, if your target demographic is an older generation (i.e. 65+), you have a much better shot at success if you’re using a social media platform like Facebook.

Do the research to figure out the top social media platform where your target audience hangs out, and from there, learn everything you can about marketing using that platform. It might be tempting to be on every platform, but the more you learn about one, the better chance you have at mastering that platform and having success.


Now that you know your platform, you need to serve quality content.

Knowing your audience is great, but even if you know your audience is on the platform that you picked to master, you still need to drive people to your social media by creating quality content that serves value to your target, while also simultaneously coming up with a marketing strategy that distributes that content.

In other words, you need to play the long game and come up with a strategy, or you need to set aside some room in your budget for advertising costs.

Yes, you can absolutely create advertisements on social media, and if you do it right, they can be extremely beneficial for getting your product in front of your target.


That being said, you need to have the right messaging in your advertisement.

It’s one thing to put up an ad and hope people click it, but it’s a whole other thing to carefully consider the copy, images, and messaging on the ad.

For each social media platform there will be different guidelines and methods you’ll have to follow, but in general, there are three specific suggestions we have for when creating advertisements that target Canadian customers on social media:

  1. Highlight free shipping: If you’re a Canadian consumer then you know shipping within the country can be pricey. You also likely know that most people don’t want to pay shipping costs on their purchases. Not only is it expensive, but when you can get something on Amazon Prime in two days without having to pay shipping, which retailer are you likely to choose? Highlight low cost shipping for Canadian customers, and you’ll likely see an increase in sales.

  2. Point out Canadian made: If you don’t want to point out shipping in your ad, draw attention to the fact that you’re a Canadian company. Canadians are more likely to support a Canadian brand, and most savvy online shoppers will instantly recognize the benefits of shipping within their own country (i.e. no duties or border fees).

  3. Don’t forget about your competition//Be professional: Remember, on platforms like Instagram, you’re competing within a global market. Most of your customers are following brands and influencers from all over the world who are constantly pushing products. Because of this, Canadians are exposed to a lot of well-established, professional brands. Make sure your branding, messaging, and customer service is up to par with the competition. Keep your social media profiles and pages professional, because just like customers prefer to touch and feel a product before buying it in-store, customers also like checking out a brand’s social media before purchasing online. Make that first impression a good one by taking the time to curate your social media to something that would appeal to your ideal customer.

As mentioned, even if Canadians are shopping less online, it doesn’t mean they’re not looking for products and brands. It simply means brands aren’t targeting Canadians effectively. Follow some of the tips from above, so you can start leveraging social media as a Canadian retailer, and just watch as, slowly but surely, your sales start to increase.

Josh Newman

Josh Newman is an entrepreneur with a broad business and marketing background having worked with major brands as well as starting several boutique e-commerce companies like JJ Suspenders. Marketing and business aside, Josh also has a love for design. Despite having no fashion experience prior to co-founding JJ Suspenders, his aesthetic eye quickly helped him learn what worked and what didn’t in the fashion world, be it colour combinations, packaging, or customer experience. His motto: build a remarkable product and the rest will follow.



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