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Higher degrees of service options exist and these include pre-printed return labels, as well as parcel pick up by the retailer’s designated carrier. These services can be pro- vided for free, or the cost can be deducted from the customers return credit. By provid- ing a better returns process, it increases the convenience factor for your shoppers.

Acknowledgement e-mails at each step of the return process (e.g., your return has arrived at the consolidation center, your return has arrived in our U.S. warehouse and we will process your credit within xx days) are additional examples of enhanced cus- tomer service in Canada. When providing service, previous research has shown that Canadians appreciate being provided sales assistance via live online chat and access to a customer-care number during the sale.

It may be easy to miss or overlook the cultural nuances within the Canadian e-commerce experience. Being recognized as Canadians either by their authenticated sign in or through URL sniffing allows for a more targeted Canadian experience. In the optimal Canadian customer experience, the copy would include the following:

  • Canadian English (e.g., color versus color, jewellery versus jewelry, etc.)

  • Metric measurements (e.g., centimetres versus inches)

  • Creative treatments should represent a greater diversity than the U.S. given the

higher proportion of immigrants (e.g., Asians and South East Asians)

Any geographic targeting should take into account regional sensitivities and holidays. The most notable of these differences are found in Québec and the French language laws. This is discussed in additional detail within the regulatory chapter.

If by virtue of your Nexus it is necessary or you decide to embrace the French language laws to support your site experience in Québec, you will have to translate your site and all of your marketing efforts, invoices, and packing lists to Québecois French. As you consider your regional strategies, keep in mind that consumers in British Columbia identify strongly with environmental issues/movements, whereas consumers in the Maritimes may not be as concerned.

You will also find that in Canada, regional holidays differ by province. A holiday calendar can be found here: www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1266346058558

One of the trends in customer behavior is the desire to shop across channels, when they want, how they want, and where they want. While this is not something to be lever- aged for the retailer shipping across borders, retailers with a physical presence in Canada should consider cross-channel capabilities as a strategic point of difference.

The popularity of researching online, but buying in-store is prevalent in the Canadian market, and may be a natural extension of the customer’s behavior with your brand. Providing store capabilities such as visibility to online inventory at point of sale, allowing the customer to shop a broader selection that is available online while in the store, or having the product shipped to the customer’s home from a different store’s inventory requires substantial technological investment. For successful implementation, provid- ing these store capabilities calls for a high level of support from Senior Management. If these cross-channel capabilities are right for your brand, it is likely that the market will embrace them.

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

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.

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