When I speak at conferences, I usually ask if there are any Canadians in the audience. There are usually a few, and I like to use the opportunity to open the eyes of the audience to the surprisingly challenging Canadian experience of ordering online and the importance of localization.
Canadians often say to me, “You Americans think that we are just like you.”
My question is… Well aren’t you? You look like us. You mostly speak the same language except for certain regions that I can’t remember the names of that are obsessed with French. You are nice like us – well maybe a little nicer. You like the same stuff, except for fake stuff we put in our syrup. And you live basically in the same region as we do. So what is the problem here?
Talking for any length of time with a Canadian makes it clear that their experience of shopping with US eCommerce players couldn’t be more different from the American experience.
Yowzer, these Canadians are weird.
All in all, Canadians are like most international consumers. They have high expectations, and if these expectations are not met, they are either not going to order or they’re going to find a way around the system with freight forwarding services or P.O. Box services (a very convenient option for the 70% of consumers that live within an hour of the US border).
Casting Canadians as “just like Americans” is a common mistake when it comes to cross-border commerce. It isn’t just a US issue, though – this problem is global. Indeed, to truly understand consumers from other countries, their expectations, their passions, well, this is without a doubt the most challenging part of our business
At the GRIN, we help retailers on this journey, accelerating their understanding of the markets where they are doing business to better service their passionate consumers. Get in touch when you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of going global. In the meantime, ask the next Canadian you meet if they know today’s exchange rate.