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Chapter 3: strategy and positioning

Authored by: Jim Okamura, J.C. Williams Group


This chapter will provide you, the retailer, with an overview of some of the elements that should be considered whilst crafting a Canadian e-commerce strategy. Both the execu- tion of that strategy and the positioning derived from it will be key in terms of how con- sumers become aware of and accept the brand. Specific areas that will be covered in this chapter includes the following:


  • Whether your strategy should be the same or different than your domestic strategy. This should be a function of the consumer need in Canada and the competitive landscape;

  • Opportunity to test different positioning or strategy that can be transferred back to domestic business;

  • Importance of competitive insights to identify “white space”; and

  • Pure e-commerce versus integrated cross-channel strategies and implications for each.

Once you have established confidence that the market potential is appropriately size- able for your business, and your understanding of Canadian online consumers is signif- icant enough, you are ready to develop an e-commerce strategy; or, at least to embark on your business plan. Once you have decided to develop an e-commerce strategy, the following question arises: what are the necessary elements required in order to form an e-commerce strategy?

The Retail Industry: To provide context, some history on the retail industry, internationally, is in order. As a A Late International whole, the industry has been playing catch-up versus other industries in terms of inter-


national expansion strategies. The domestic- or local-focus of retailers has been a trademark of the industry for centuries. Only as scale-driven retail strategies emerged in the 1970s and 1980s (e.g., hypermarkets in France, discounters and big-box retailers in the U.S. and U.K.), has the need to look to overseas markets for growth opportunities been apparent.

The trend of internationally recognized consumer brand manufacturers developing their own consumer direct channels, combined with web-enabled global reach for small retailers, international retailing ambitions have never been greater. E-commerce enables tremendous opportunity as an international retail channel. It provides unlimited reach to far-flung markets, with added benefits such as economies of scale, data-driven insights, and consumer adoption curve in both developed and developing nations.

Visa e-commerce cross-border handbook for U.S. retailers

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.


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