The benefits of third-party sales platforms.

Using a third-party sales platform offers opportunities to increase sales revenue. These systems are designed to save time and money, a business’s two most essential assets.

Canada is an incredibly vast landscape, with a population of more than 37.5 million people concentrated primarily in four provinces – Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. In fact, 86 per cent of Canadians live in one of these four provinces, with more than 14.5 million Ontario residents accounting for almost 40 per cent of Canadians.

There has been a recent surge in online shopping in Canada, with an increasing number of retailers investing in digital platforms to reach customers. It is estimated that in 2019, over 20 million digital buyers in Canada will spend almost $40 billion online. In fact, Forrester Research Inc. predicts that almost 10 per cent of all Canadian retail spending in 2019 will be conducted online – up from 6 per cent in 2014 – as Canadians continue to go online for many of their shopping needs.

The 2018 Online Marketplaces Report by Internet Retailer (citing a UPS study) found that 96 per cent of online shoppers in Canada proceeded to make an online purchase. As with most countries, eBay and Amazon are the dominant selling platforms, offering benefits including huge market shares, ready-made audiences, and easy-to-use stores. Other online marketplaces worth considering in Canada include Best Buy Marketplace, which gives access to over 225 million visitors per year and 18.5 million visitors every month to their Canadian domain; Newegg, a diverse marketplace that has historically sold electronics, audio parts, sporting goods and more; and Walmart Canada, a marketplace receiving 8 million unique monthly visitors, making it a potentially lucrative sales channel. Two others worth considering are eCrater or Etsy, an international online marketplace for crafts and craft supplies. And Canada’s largest retailer, Loblaw Companies Ltd., recently announced its plans to launch its own online marketplace, looking to compete with Amazon and Walmart for multi-product home delivery.

(Also of note is ChitChats, a Canadian company that offers an alternative shipping solution for small businesses in Canada. ChitChats can help reduce shipping costs as much as 74 per cent, and offers U.S. and international shipping.)

The structure for each platform varies, but the standard offering is a place to sell online where the traffic is high and the marketing is done for you. Larger marketplaces (such as Amazon) have millions of visitors every year, a fact that could really boost revenue and build a company’s brand, offering a great way to test the Canadian marketplace.

Canadian marketplaces each have their own customer bases, rules and policies, commission fees, and customer expectations. Although Canada currently doesn’t have as many online marketplace options as other countries, the number is growing as international businesses realize the profit potential here.

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