Smart order routing to reach Canadian customers

Industry Insight

There was a time when being a United States retailer meant serving only local customers. However, thanks to the widespread adoption of the Internet, combined with smart order routing systems and foreign distribution centers, it is growing increasingly easier for U.S. sellers to engage foreign prospects, particularly Canadians.

Canada: The next frontier for retailers

As Multichannel Merchant reported, Canadians often have a lot of brand affinity toward American retailers – to them, nationality does not matter, as long as the seller has the products they are looking for at reasonable prices. This opens up an entirely new target market that retailers can access somewhat easily – it is not like engaging foreign markets with significant cultural gaps and language barriers.

“Canadian consumers are spending on average almost $1,500 online per year, and we’re among the world’s most connected online populations.”

“Ecommerce has seen strong growth for the last number of years, and Canadians are very open to it,” Jennifer Campbell, general manager of commercial marketing for Canada Post, told the news source. “Canadian consumers are spending on average almost $1,500 online per year, and we’re among the world’s most connected online populations. Yet there are still a number of U.S.-based companies that have either (sic) not been delivering into Canada or are just starting.”

Citing data from Canada Post’s own data on parcel volume growth, Multichannel Merchant was quick to note that B2C eCommerce expenditures in the country have grown 13.6 percent in 2014 to crest the $27 billion mark. Mass merchants,  fashion and apparel brands and consumer electronics sellers have all seen sharp growth online, and businesses in these retail categories may want to consider the Canadian market if they have not already.

Setting up the infrastructure to engage foreign audiences

One of the biggest challenges that lies in the path of selling to foreign customers is getting orders to consumers in a cost-efficient, timely manner. International shipping can be tremendously expensive, and additional delays may result in unhappy customers.

Fortunately, by using drop shippers and foreign order fulfillment centers, merchants can improve both the cost-efficiency of delivering products to out-of-country customers as well as address the delivery time issue. By using a mix of the two, retailers can offer a broad variety of SKUs while still keeping their footprint light when operating abroad. This approach allows them to quickly and easily invest more into foreign eCommerce investments if they see success or pull out without taking too many losses if the demand simply is not there.

Order routing will play a pivotal role in managing both drop shippers and distribution centers on foreign soil. With the right logic and rule sets in place, systems will take into considering stock levels, shipping, customer geolocation and automatically route orders to the most optimal fulfillment center, which guarantees a quick shipment while maintaining the best mix of stock availability across all channels.