The Plight of the Canadian Shopper

Date: May 9, 2017

Topics: Technology

While Canadians are shopping online more than ever, they’re still lagging behind their neighbours to the south because, well… online shopping from Canada can be immensely frustrating. Though most Canadians would prefer to buy from local companies, they’re also shopping online because they’re looking for the best deals. And given the size of the Canadian market, the best prices are often found cross-border — even once you factor in shipping costs, taxes and duties.

The cross-border solution isn’t a simple one

So to find out where the challenges are, we asked our friend Lauren, a Canadian, to talk to “selfie” — herself on her iPhone — for a little vent session.


As we see, it’s really not as simple as a direct price comparison. When buying from US or other international e-retailers, Canadians often encounter major issues. Is the price indicated actually what they’re going to pay? Will there be foreign transaction charges on their credit card? Will the transaction go through, or will it be flagged as suspicious, given that it’s being processed outside of Canada? How long will it take to arrive? While the price may be good, will it be worth waiting the extra days or even weeks to receive something they could simply pop down to the mall to buy?

Every time Canadians look online for products, these are the thoughts that run through their heads. Though Amazon.ca is growing, and companies like Walmart Canada offer free shipping over a certain amount, it’s still typical to find the identical product on a US website for half the price. Particularly when the Canadian dollar is strong, it makes more financial sense for Canadians to shop in the US; and given that so many live within an hour’s drive of the border, it’s not uncommon for Canadians to have their online purchases shipped to US postal addresses.

What retailers must consider to win Canadian sales

Given all of these issues, making it easier for Canadians to buy your brand can guarantee you a slice of a rapidly expanding pie: an online market that’s predicted to grow to 39.9 billion by 2019. Great deals, free shipping and fixed pricing in Canadian dollars will even put you ahead of many Canadian retailers — who often set the same prices on their websites and in-store, and simply don’t offer the same level of customer experience that many have come to expect from US retailers.

We connected with some of our retailers, who mentioned this solution from GoInterpay to help retailers lower the barriers to entry. We spoke to Matt Cannon, VP of Business Development:

GoInterpay VP of Business Development Matt Cannon is all about making global payments hassle-free, just look at him.. so chill.

 “While you would typically need to set up a local entity to be able to sell in Canada, with GoInterpay’s payment processing solutions, you can charge your customers in Canadian dollars, and process their payments locally to eliminate hidden fees and increase approval rates. Plus, GoInterpay’s Micro FX Engine eliminates currency fluctuation risk, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting paid, even if the exchange rate isn’t entirely stable.”

Given that Canada shares our language, partially, and perhaps the biggest (wall-less) border in the world, and a great deal of cultural influences with the US, it shouldn’t be surprising that Canadians expect the same level of service when it comes to online retail. And with Canadians already making roughly half of their online purchases in the US, it just makes sense to improve your services and beat the competition — both local and international.

Note: We did ask GoInterpay to flip the bill for editing the embedded video, but that is only because we find the solution useful to you both as a service and to gain an understanding as to where the market is going in terms of plug & play solutions that are breaking down the cross-border walls.


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