Affiliate programs are another source of performance-based marketing that has experi- enced success in the Canadian market. U.S.-based affiliate management programs have successfully extended into Canada. However, if you are viewing the Canadian market as a strategic launch point, it is worth considering a dedicated business devel- opment resource headquartered in the country. This resource would be focused on developing marketing partnerships that would be otherwise difficult from afar.
Social networking is something to consider and test for a Canadian market entry. Sites like Facebook, and MSN Spaces are very popular with Canadians. Promotionally based acquisition programs targeting users in Canada can be a low-impact and low-cost way of building your customer data file.
The biggest shift that marketers need to make in relation to Canada is the available marketing universe. In the U.S., there are more than 190 million people online, whereas in Canada, that figure is closer to 24 million. This dramatically shifts your marketing emphasis to both acquisition and retention. Therefore, the importance of maintaining your relationship with a customer in Canada and enhancing the frequency of visits, as well as the basket size, is very important to your marketing costs and revenue model.
Canadians love loyalty programs. Do not miss the opportunity to extend yours into Canada if you have an existing program. Be sure to give consideration to the develop- ment of a Canadian test pilot for loyalty if you do not. There are two large loyalty coali- tions (AirMilesTM and AeroplanTM) that can help you jumpstart your Canadian marketing efforts through their widely embraced consumer loyalty programs.
When considering cross-channel capabilities, don’t forget to include promotional and pricing considerations. Do you want your online channel to offer the same prices as those in stores and what type of pricing policy will you have in case the channels are out of sync?
Consideration and consensus on how success will be measured as you enter the Cana- dian market will be dependent upon your market-entry strategy. Variables include close alignment with your Canadian stores (if available) or if you are entering the market as a purely online retailer.
Additionally, market potential, the level of investment you are comfortable with, and your investment horizon will dictate how aggressively you develop your in-country experience. The latter will also dictate your customer-acquisition costs. Building an independent online business can be more costly, but may grow more quickly. A multi- channel approach can be slower but make acquisition less costly as you leverage the store network to support your integrated marketing efforts.
We suggest that upon market entry, the same website performance metrics be used as in the U.S. (e.g., average order size, acquisition costs, cart abandonment, conversion rates, etc.). Anticipate that these will be different for the Canadian market than for the U.S. While the metrics will differ, they provide the ability to compare across the various channels and this will be invaluable to a cross-functional working team.
Visa e-commerce cross-border handbook for U.S. retailers
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