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Another option that retailers employ either in addition to using an international logis- tics provider or as its sole sell and ship solution is to partner with an international e-commerce marketplace. In this case, the customer ships the product to the domestic address of the marketplace and the marketplace assumes responsibility for the international delivery.

  • Returns handling: Basically, there are several approaches to handling product returns based on the location of the retailer’s distribution center that services Canada. Typically, retailers who fulfill within Canada or the U.S. will instruct the customer to ship the items in question back to the retailer’s distribution center. Retailers who fulfill outside of Canada or the U.S. have two options. Customers can ship returns to a third-party Canadian warehouse facility, in which case the returned inventory can either be used to fulfill new orders when possible or consolidated and then shipped back to the retailer at specified time intervals or volumes levels. In any case, the customer credit/refund or exchange should be processed as soon as the return is received from the customer. The question of who pays for the shipping cost associ- ated with the return (the customer or retailer) is a policy matter.

Once the service, operating, and systems requirements have been identified, the retailer must then determine if any of its existing operating and technology assets can possibly be leveraged to support the expansion. Such assets include:

  • Canadian brick-and-mortar retail presence;

  • Distributors;

  • Third-party fulfillment or customer-support providers;

  • Other Canadian-based business relationships;

  • Existing Web platform;

  • Order management application;

  • Processes;

  • Inventory; and

  • Facilities and organization.

The ability for a retailer to leverage existing assets, be it either internal or third-party, will greatly reduce both the cost and the risk associated with the launch of a Canadian enterprise.

Finally, the retailer should at the conclusion of the discovery process undertake a tradi- tional GAP analysis in an effort to document both the current and future state require- ments and any operations and systems enhancements needed to support the expansion.

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

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.

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