Keeping pace in the highly-competitive e-commerce marketplace is a major challenge for small and medium-sized Canadian retailers. But with the right approach, even the smallest retailers can hold their own against online giants such as Amazon.
A recent study by mobile transaction company PayPal Canada highlighted the uphill battle facing Canadian retailers, many of which have failed to keep pace with continuing e-commerce innovations.
PayPal Canada president Paul Parisi offers five tips on how to improve your online shopping experience now:
Think strategy first
As Mr. Parisi notes, small and mid-sized retailers will often focus their time and budget on building an aesthetically appealing website, then worry about the e-commerce component as an afterthought. His advice is to develop an online shopping strategy first, one that focuses on providing a user-friendly payment and checkout process.
Build a website that can accept an online payment
It's a simple recommendation, but a fundamental one that often goes ignored. Ensure your website can accept credit card, PayPal or other forms of payment easily and securely.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
As Mr. Parisi notes, customers – whether they prefer to shop online or research products and prices before shopping in-store – will almost certainly visit your website on their smartphone at some point in the purchase process. "If your website doesn't have a strong, interactive mobile interface, it won't work for people," he says. But don't necessarily worry about building a mobile app. In most cases, he explains, a mobile responsive website will suffice.
Because you could be catering to shoppers anywhere in the world, Mr. Parisi recommends including multi-currency shopping capabilities on your website wherever possible. Many turnkey e-commerce platform providers have this functionality integrated into their systems.
"Give people a landed cost to their door," he advises. Many customers will cancel a transaction once they learn the true cost to purchase a product, including fees such as taxes, shipping and customs duties. If they know that cost upfront, he says, they are much more likely to buy and not become frustrated or annoyed after going through the checkout process only to start over.