The landscape of commerce in Canada has shifted considerably during the last two years, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing about rapid changes in consumer shopping, selling and payment habits. As businesses of all sizes make efforts to adapt to this continuing evolution, many are dipping their toes into the world of eCommerce for the first time — in fact, Square’s Future of Retail 2022 report found that 31% of retailers say the pandemic encouraged them to invest in opening their online store.
The idea of opening an online store may be an intimidating prospect for some small business owners, but there’s a strong case to be made for giving it a try. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider opening an eCommerce store:
1. It’s what consumers want
Having endured multiple lockdowns since COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Canadians seem to have become accustomed to the convenience and ease of shopping from the comfort of their own home. “Customers’ expectations have absolutely increased over the past two years,” said Laura Carinci, Head of Brand Marketing and Partnerships at Jenny Bird during a recent roundtable discussion about The Future of Omnichannel. “Customers are at home, and they’re on mobile apps on their phones or tablets. And if they need something, they need it, and they want it right away.”
Recent statistics demonstrate how Canadians’ online shopping habits are shifting. According to Statista, in early 2022 Canadian eCommerce retail sales amounted to $3 billion per month, with 29 million Canadians expected to make online purchases by the end of the year. For businesses without an eCommerce platform, that’s a lot of potential customers to miss out on.
Turn any business into an online business with a free eCommerce website.
2. eCommerce is here to stay
Although government restrictions have loosened across the country and brick-and-mortar stores are back to business as usual, there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping the continuing rise of online shopping in Canada. Statista has reported that revenue generated within the retail eCommerce market in Canada is expected to surpass 90 billion U.S. dollars by 2025 — nearly double the revenue in 2021.
Recent actions taken by the Canadian government reflect the growing importance of eCommerce to Canada’s economy. In an effort to help businesses bounce back after two years of pandemic-induced challenges, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) on March 3, 2022. The program will see $4 billion invested over four years to support small and medium-sized businesses across the country grow their online presence and adopt or upgrade their digital technologies, in order to “remain competitive and meet their customers’ needs in the digital marketplace.”
3. It’s easier than you think
Does the idea of opening an online store freak you out a little bit? You’re not alone. 31% of retailers surveyed for Square’s Future of Retail 2022 report say that not knowing enough about technology options and platforms keeps them from selling goods through newer online or social channels. The good news is that there are free resources available to help business owners overcome any doubts they might have about building or improving their online presence. Entrepreneurs can build an online store in minutes with Square Online, with no cost or coding involved, and Digital Main Street offers a variety of free tools and training to help businesses build and expand their online presence.
Alex Somers, owner and operator of Hamilton, ON’s Studio 22 Aesthetics, is a graduate of Digital Main Street’s shopHERE powered by Google program, which creates online stores for independent small businesses and artists at no cost. “I am not naturally tech-savvy, but Krishna, my amazing advisor during the shopHERE program, held my hand throughout the whole process, and never made me feel silly when I asked questions,” said Somers. “Thanks to Krishna, I now have a super user-friendly, easily navigable website that my clients love to use. He really helped to simplify the process of ramping up my online presence.”
While launching an online platform for your business may be a daunting idea, all signs point to the fact that eCommerce is only growing in importance to the Canadian economy. To remain competitive and best meet your customers where they are, why not make use of the resources available to you and get ready to step into your digital future? Start your online business today.