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Chapter 5: merchandising

Authored by: Sally McKenzie, E-commerce Consulting.com


The guiding principles and best practices of great online merchandising hold true throughout the world. Yet, for the retailer selling to Canadians for the first time in the online channel, there are unique considerations that should be explored in order to ensure that your e-commerce presence will truly deliver on the merchant mantra of “right product, right price, right place, and right time.”

As you develop your Canadian online merchandising strategy, there are two critical factors that will impact your decisions:

  • Will you offer Canadian online shoppers a website experience that is separate from your U.S. site?

  • Will you ship product across the U.S. border to your Canadian customers, or will you fulfill orders in-country?

Both of these factors will determine how extensively you will be able to cater to the specific needs of the Canadian shopper versus the more simplified approach of just allowing them to partake in your U.S. offering per se.

If you plan to offer a separate website shopping experience for Canadian customers, you will have the ability to tailor assortments, promotions, and pricing specifically for them. However, it will be a separate shopping experience and operation, for you to maintain, and thus more resource intensive.

If you plan to ship products across the border, your ability to share U.S. inventory will be leveraged and you will avoid the cost of operating a separate distribution facility and maintaining separate inventory. However, lead times to customers can be lengthy, and shipping costs and duties can be extensive.

Overall, wherever possible, retailers should strive to help Canadian online shoppers feel welcome, acknowledged, and catered to through their merchandising efforts.

Sub-topics In this chapter, we will discuss the following aspects of Canadian e-commerce:

  • Product assortments

  • Product pricing

  • Product information and presentation

  • Promotional planning

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

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.


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