The country’s largest company is now selling more than two million of its products online every day, but people are still getting the message: Canada needs to get more involved.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said Thursday that sales were up 17 per cent from last year.
But the Federation is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We have to do everything we can to keep the momentum going,” said Michael Leitch, president of the federation’s regional business unit.
“I don’t think we’re ready to say that we’re finished yet.”
The federation is encouraging companies to put their online strategy into action, and is taking action with a number of initiatives to encourage consumers to get their hands on their own merchandise.
“If you look at the numbers, if you look across the board, people are buying more products online,” said Leitch.
“In fact, online sales have been up 14 per cent year-over-year.”
A lot of the growth in online sales comes from people not being able to access stores, or buying from people who are out of town.
“The biggest drivers are not the store closures,” said Stephen Proulx, vice-president of research at the BMO Capital Markets research firm.
Proulex said online shopping is a good thing, but the federation is also trying to make sure it’s all about the customer. “
So if we can get people to shop locally, we’re going to see a really positive return on investment.”
Proulex said online shopping is a good thing, but the federation is also trying to make sure it’s all about the customer.
“Online shopping is about giving the consumer what they want and need and need not worry about the retailer,” he said.
“That is, we want to ensure that people who shop online don’t get stuck at a store.”
Poulin said that is especially true for younger people, who have more time on their hands.
“Young people are going to be the next generation who is going to spend more time online,” he explained.
“They’re going for it because they want to shop and they want it fast.”
The biggest change has come in the past year.
“When I was in Toronto, my family was going to go out to buy a couple of things for Christmas, and I was just so tired, and so excited, that I didn’t want to wait for the store,” said Shari Leitch-Hanna.
“Then my son came home and we went shopping.”
That was six years ago.
“It was the biggest moment of my life,” she said.
Leitch said that for years, people thought they could simply go online and buy anything.
But, now, the internet is becoming more of a part of everyday life.
“There’s no longer a point in going online to buy anything,” she explained.
Sales are up by almost 100 per cent in the last year and are growing at double the rate of other Canadian retailers.
The federation has also encouraged businesses to put online strategy strategies into action.
For example, it is offering a $20 rebate to anyone who buys from a company that is part of its strategy.
The initiative will allow businesses to sell products online for less than the price of their physical store.
“This is a great way to make it even more competitive and to encourage people to spend less,” said Proullx.
“And it also gives retailers a chance to make money on a product that they can’t sell for much more.”
Leitch believes that consumers should get more than just a quick discount.
“You don’t want the consumer to buy for less,” he added.
“What we are trying to do is give people the opportunity to get it at a discount.”
Poulson said the federation plans to spend another $20 million on a new online marketing campaign, including advertising and targeting.
Prouhl said that could include using social media to get people talking about the federation and encouraging them to shop online.
The company is also working to improve its retail network and to build up relationships with other retailers.
“At the end of the day, our biggest customer is the Canadian consumer,” said Chris Gant, president and CEO of Canadian Tire, one of the world’s biggest retailers.