Small Business

This Is Why Your Business Needs to Be Selling Online

The time has come for Canadian small businesses to add e-commerce to their retail arsenals. With increasing government support for domestic and international trade and e-retail platforms being more accessible than ever before, it has never been easier to start an online store.

And trust us, you’re going to want to start yours ASAP.

What does the data say?

In 2013, Statistics Canada noted that Canadian companies supplied more than $136 billion in online goods and services, both domestically and overseas.

Forrester’s Canadian Online Retail Forecast predicts that this growth in e-commerce is set to continue as Canadians are expected to spend an estimated $40 billion on online purchases by 2019 – that’s almost $1000 per person.

The forecast also noted that the annual profits generated by brick and mortar stores are expected to pale in comparison to those of online stores, with the revenue of online stores expected to grow 5 times faster than that of their physical counterparts.

Despite the clear demand for Canadian e-commerce, CIRA’s 2015 Internet Factbook reported that Canadian small businesses are failing to deliver. Only 19% of Canadian-owned companies are currently selling online, and 40% of Canadian businesses still lack a website.

The time to sell online is now!

There has never been a better time for Canadian small businesses to sell their goods online. 42% of clothing, 32% of electronics, and 29% of household goods in Canada are purchased online, with forecasted increases in the coming years.

If you’re still not convinced, 62% of the Canadians surveyed by CIRA indicated that they prefer to purchase online goods from fellow Canadian businesses and retailers, as opposed to making cross-border purchases. It’s not hard to imagine why. Easy currency exchange, cheaper shipping options, and the ability to support one’s local economy are working together to push Canadians in the direction of domestic e-commerce.

How to Setup an E-commerce Platform to Maximize Growth

Establishing an online shopping portal is easier than ever, especially with Canadian technology companies taking the lead. Companies like Payfirma and PayPal allow online payment and financial security infrastructure, while companies like Shopify and eBay handle multi-channel retailing.

For the more technologically-challenged business owners, setting up a website with tools like Squarespace or WordPress can get your business online within a week. Third-party retailers like Amazon and Alibaba are also great options for businesses looking to expand the reach of their products without having to build an in-house e-commerce and shipping platform.

Cross-Border Potential

Additional opportunities for Canadian small businesses lie beyond the border. Online sales in China represented a $375 billion industry in 2016, with forecasts for cross-border e-commerce from Europe and North America estimated to reach $245 billion in Chinese sales by 2020.

Alibaba Group’s Gateway ‘17 Toronto summit is posed to take over Toronto’s Enercare Centre in September 2017, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, scheduled to address Canadian business owners regarding growing small business through domestic and international e-commerce.

Use FundThrough’s promo code (FTH) at Gateway ‘17 registration to learn how you can ramp up your online sales, both in Canada and beyond.

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