Searching for Profits? Head North
Plain and simple, Canada is booming. If your year-to-year sales to Canada aren’t up more than 100 percent, you’re missing out.
A couple of months ago, I discussed the meteoric rise of the Canadian dollar and the opportunities this presented for U.S. catalogers. Having just returned from a trip to Canada, I’m pleased to report the Canadian market is showing even more potential than I’d previously thought. The strength of the loonie, the Canadian dollar, is a matter of national pride these days. Everyone in Canada is talking about cross-border shopping and travel. I’ve never known the focus on “what you can buy for less in the U.S.” to be greater than it is now.
This was illustrated in a recent news story I read about a Canadian who went to buy a greeting card priced at $4.95 CDN/$2.95 US. Given the dollars are approximately equal, the consumer wanted to pay for the card in U.S. currency. Of course, the focus of the article was the continued discrepancy in transborder pricing (it established more than 30 years of currency difference) and how, even when the dollars are equal, retail locations are still charging more for the same item. What an opportunity for direct marketers, who can step in and adjust their pricing faster than their bricks-and-mortar retail equivalent.
If you’re an opportunistic marketer, here are some things you should do to tap into this resource:
* profile high-potential Canadian prospects;
* mail and/or call these prospects;
* set up a version of your Web site for Canadian-based shoppers, clearly explaining your dollar-at-par pricing and easy shipping and handling for Canadian orders;
* focus your offers on “hard-to-find” products in Canada.
(A market that is one-tenth the size of the U.S. doesn’t normally have the selection we enjoy in the U.S. Canadians are acutely aware the selection is “phenomenal” in the U.S.);
* encourage new inquiries from Canadian residents;
* build your Canadian housefile;
* work with list brokers, printers and transborder fulfillment services who can help you seize the opportunity quickly;
* if any part of your offer is attractive to the natural resource industry (e.g., oil, mining, coal, metals, etc.), you’re in an even better position, as much of Canada’s economy is resource-based and booming; and
* recognize that Canadian shoppers are “giddy” with their increased purchasing power and excited to see the new choices you offer.
Think of Canada as having the potential of California; that’s the size of the prize. Make sure you’re not left behind.
Got questions? Stories? E-mail me.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence Inc., a strategic consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at www.b2bdmi.com or (954) 566-4451.