‘Click’ into the Future
Embracing the World of E-commerce in Canada
It seems more and more people are becoming addicted to the world of online shopping and the instant gratification that our technology savvy world can bring us. The expanse of the ‘e-world’ is becoming so advanced that you can literally buy anything with a click of a mouse – clothing, groceries, a new pet – you name it, you can find it for sale on the web. However, what does this mean for our fashion market –specifically, our fashion market in Canada? Should traditional retailers fear growth of online shopping or embrace it?
Online shopping and the e-world are growing at a rapid pace but in a country as large as Canada with such a young fashion industry, it’s hard to predict where the market is going. Online shopping has struggled here in the past with Canadian Tire shutting down their online shopping in 2009 due to dismal sales and The Hudson Bay Company just starting to make an online come back since their e-commerce shut down in the same year. Compared to America, our e-world is almost comical; however there is a definite need in the fashion market and Canadian shoppers are desperate for a domestic online solution.
Joanna Track, who started the beloved website sweetspot.ca, was the first one in Canada to recognize this need in the market and do something about it. In 2011 Track started eLUXE.ca, an online shopping heaven for designer women’s fashion but it didn’t come without its challenges. Many Canadian women spend the majority of their online shopping on U.S. or European sites, such as shopbop.com or net-a-porter.com, which often results in high shipping and duty charges. According to the Guide to E-commerce in Canada article written by Jordan Markowski for Digest Dx3, Canada Post says that the confusion over shipping speed, costs and delivery can often prompt a shopper to abandon their shopping cart at the checkout. There are many advances in technology that makes shopping from home a luxury – with features like free delivery with tracking and returns accompanied by preaddressed return stickers make online shopping a breeze and a seemingly risk free experience. Where people tend to get caught is in the fine print. They don’t realize that most of the time they need to spend a certain amount of money to qualify for free shipping or free delivery is only offered to citizens of the U.S or wherever the site is based. As Ms. Track told the Globe and Mail in an interview with Katherine Scarrow (May 9th, 2011), “the real challenge here is getting the product from the vendors to the customers in a smooth and efficient way”, not to mention clear and cost effective – and Track is doing just that! Being a proud Canadian, she has tailored eLUXE to the needs and desires of other fellow Canadians with clear methods of shipping at competitive rates or a free shipping option and always free returns. But many are concerned about online shopping because it doesn’t have that personal touch of face-to-face selling – which causes people to second guess whether brick-and-mortar shops are really becoming obsolete.
Brick-and-mortar stores offer the option to see the actual product in person, to talk to available sales reps who should be able to answer any questions, and is overall a fun and social experience for most women, which generally results in a positive experience with a less percentage of returns or unsatisfied customers on point of purchase. However, the face-to-face experience can also have its downfalls, sales people can often be annoying and pushy, stores and malls are often crowded (don’t even think about it during the holiday season) and in a wide-spread country like Canada, shoppers often have to travel to the shopping destination. In fact, the Globe and Mail article More Canadians Turned to the Web for Christmas Shopping (Jan. 17th, 2013) reported steady rises in consumer shopping online in late 2012 and early 2013 with “consumers [spending] 2.8 billion online in December” alone. E-commerce brings everything to your door with the ‘click’ of a mouse from the comfort of your home or virtually anywhere you have access online – be it the office, a coffee shop, or in your car. Although there is always a wait time to get the purchased product and a chance of that item not fitting the way you imagined, the risk is balanced out with quick, reliable and often affordable shipping methods. Sure, you might not get the same experience as you would in a brick-and-mortar store but there are many more fabulous bonus features that offer their own personal touch. Ms. Track has designed eLUXE to help the everyday woman in her shopping experience with such features like an online stylist that you can talk to live to get advice on styles, fit, or shopping within a budget – not to mention all of the discounts that can’t be found anywhere else, online or in-store. Tactics like these, paired with a wider selection of items than carried in-store and a direct way to get exactly what you’re looking for make online shopping the perfect option for the modern-day consumer.
Online shopping paired with brick-and-mortar stores is the perfect retail combination that will save time for those who get frustrated from a wasted shopping excursion – I for one hate coming home empty handed from a day at the mall. Zara.com is the perfect example, who just launched an ecommerce website for Canada! It allows one to browse the collection at their convenience, see if they’re interested and even check stock levels at each location if they want to go in for a closer look.
In our opinion, brick-and-more stores definitely still serve their purpose and offer a perfect excuse to get together with the girls for an outing but if you’re someone who is fashion hungry, wants to find the best deals, the widest product range, and is possibly looking for a great outsource for some retail therapy – our advice to you is to get online!