Because the winter holidays are rapidly approaching, chances are good that Canadians are going to be looking online more often to buy presents, decorations and other celebration-centric products. Internet shopping can eliminate many worries - like not finding the exact item you want on shelves, having to contend with long lines at the register, not having enough cash in your pocket and having to travel to and from the stores during some of the busiest times of the year.
However, because Canada is such a tech-savvy nation, shoppers here are accustomed to being treated to the latest and greatest features, technologies and other elements when they're online. As such, if they don't feel like their favourite brands are putting in the extra effort to retain loyal customers on the Internet, they might move on to a competitor.
So what is it that Canadians are looking for when they purchase things online? This sneak peak into the minds of shoppers might be just the thing to make businesses a hit on the Internet this holiday season.
What do shoppers want?
According to the recent E-Commerce Channel Report published by The NPD Group, the majority of online shoppers go to the Internet to save money. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 per cent) said they've gone online in the past 6 months to seek out lower prices.
The survey also noted that women customers consider how quick it would be to make a purchase online and compare their online experience to their visits to physical storefronts. And while Canadian women often go to the websites of domestic companies, they are also quick to go to an international brand's site if it offers a wider variety of products.
Where's the competition?
As in their brick-and-mortar stores, retailers that bring their products onto the Internet are going to run into competition. This means that to impress consumers, they'll want to invest in the best websites possible to attract new shoppers. This can also mean offering great deals, shipping discounts and the other perks online patrons hope and expect to see from their favourite brands.
But the website itself also has to be particularly inviting. Company leaders can start off on the right foot by investing in a quality Internet connection. This can mean that they'll be able to get their pages up and running in no time, because they won't have to pause the project due to connectivity issues or other blunders. Moreover, faulty access could be experienced by customers during transactions, which could ruin the business's reputation.
Online companies might want to take a page out of the books of Canadians' favourite brand websites. Golden Girl Finance recently ranked the Top 3 best stores for Internet shopping in Canada, naming Indigo/Chapters in first place. The source said that Indigo.ca makes the experience simple for customers - shipping is free for orders over $25 and they can expect to receive items in 1 to 9 days. Anything bought at Indigo, Chapters or Coles can be returned at any of the three stores.