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Same or Different Strategy?

  • The customer experience is substandard for an increasingly demanding and astute online shopper. This results in below-average performance (versus benchmarks in a mature market such as the U.S.). Operating metrics of conversion, repeat purchasing, average order value and frequency of buying could be negatively affected.

  • The customer experience cannot be singled out to a single factor in the consumers’ buying cycle. In our experience, conducting competitive benchmarking analyses, the Canadian customer experience has been well below average during the entire buying cycle: the pre-purchase (e.g., information collection, browsing products, etc.); the purchase (e.g., check out, payments); and, the post-purchase (e.g., fulfill- ment, customer service, returns, etc.). In many cases, as mentioned in the previous chapter, the Canadian consumer is experienced in buying from leading U.S. e-commerce sites, which has thus raised their expectations accordingly.

Additionally, contributing to the lack of growth is poor implementation and execution. This is not meant to criticize the incumbent e-commerce managers and analysts; in most cases, they are working with insufficient resources. A lack of dedicated, localized talent also contributes to the under-resourcing we have observed to date.

So how do you avoid some of these common mistakes that yield substandard results? The natural inclination for any veteran e-commerce manager is to leverage the infra- structure and skills inherent in their domestic business, knowing that, ultimately, e-commerce is a scalable business as demonstrated by the lower variable costs per order as the business grows.

Upon further investigation that shows different market conditions versus your home country (e.g., regulatory restrictions, consumer habits, competitive landscape and infrastructure), an inevitable question arises that challenges the retailer’s status quo. The question is: should the cross-border entry into Canadian e-commerce be just an extension of the domestic strategy, or does is justify a unique approach and/or particular positioning?

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

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.


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