Is e-commerce in Quebec profitable or not?
Following the CEFRIO conference I attended and the many e-commerce strategic planning projects underway at Adviso, I felt the need to discuss this. Why do many Quebec companies not offer transactional websites? Is it not profitable?
According to the CEFRIO, 19% of consumers buy online, which is very little. Is the other group of consumers afraid of credit card transactions? Not anymore. This is because 93% of companies do not sell online…
A real substantial opportunity
There isn’t alot of Quebec companies that take selling online seriously. It is mostly the large websites with well developed English versions that have a real e-commerce presence online. A real presence is a web transactional presence equal to or superior to that offered offline, as in store or telephone. The era of expired promotions and out of date catalogues are over! The consumer wants to go online, they like the comfort of their home (or of their desk chair for that matter!) to shop online, to read up on their future purchases and to determine the store location they visit. I can start dropping a lot of names, many industries, but think about it, how many times have you been disappointed with a lack of a shopping cart on a website? How many times would you have wanted to finish with it at that moment and then realized that an additional step would be necessary?
Excuses for not selling online?
Of course, bilingualism can complicate the process of uploading the content online, as much on the technical and editorial side and that Quebec itself is a small market. But anyways. Who will be (and actually are) the consumers of tomorrow and of the next 10 years? Generation Y, the greediest and exacting when it comes to the information found on websites they visit. This generation places importance on a web presence and values sites that offer just that. This is especially true if this presence represents a real added value for the user. All this has an effect on the global perception of the organization and the capacity it has to bring consumer loyalty.
A concrete example
I would like to mention a commercial retail example. There are two equal companies that almost have the same weight in Quebec. They both have between 50 to 100 stores each. One offers a transactional website that is extremely developed offering all their products and more, has an aggressive email marketing strategy, and web promotions with the goal of driving store traffic. The other has a prehistoric transactional website that is not even 1.0.
Results? More than 50 times the revenue (for the first one, as you guessed). A stand alone medium that does very well (representing business numbers of many stores) as well as how it positively impacts and complements the other mediums. In short, it is more than a profitable project. As you noticed, I can not mention the firm’s names. But what I just said is the truth.
And the e-commerce solution providers?
I must say they are not completely easy to find. It is hard to find good companies that offer evolved solutions for e-commerce in Quebec that know how to manage the particularities of the Quebec market. I know organizations that offer entry level solutions and others that offer state of the art solutions for selling online. Not everyone can afford to pay the price of an Amazon like store, and I feel that very few providers offer a medium solution, for projects between $25,000 to $75,000.
The day where you will have merchants and solutions, you will easily find the customers asking just that. How do you position yourself in your own industry?