The Canadian Online Market place is $15.3 billion according to the last study done by Statistics Canada. Etailers looking to capitalize on connecting to the 51% of Canadian’s who shop online, via affiliate programs, need to evaluate three critical areas of their business in relation to the Canadian marketplace. These include: 1) branding and product offering; 2) the ecommerce platform used; and 3) customer service. Evaluation of these areas will lead to the identification and use of strategies to attract top performing Canadian affiliates to join your affiliate program.
Branding and product offering
Understanding how Canadian consumers interact with your brand and product offering is a crucial step to luring affiliates. The more Canadians who love your brand the easier it is to attract affiliates, because they are already sold on the benefits of promoting you. If you don’t have an automatic hotness quotient like TheBay.ca, take the time to evaluate your brand by surveying Canadian customers to identify what motivates them to buy. The identified USPs (unique selling positions) can then be promoted, via your blog, Pininterest, Facebook and other social media – tell all Canadians the reason why your brand is unique to them.
The customer journey and the experience on your site is defined by your ecommerce platform and how it is packaged. Just like sitting in an amazing performance vehicle, customers know quality when they see, feel and experience. Be mindful of how easy it is for customers to navigate your site to find what they want, and then use features provided by your ecommerce platform provider to encourage your customers to make a purchase.
Canadians have a preference to buy nationally; however, if Canadian etailers don’t have the right offering, 60% of online Canadian shoppers will buy from the US and 18% internationally. As a result multinational brands can greatly benefit from the Canadian marketplace, especially if they make the customer journey an easier one.
Most etailers often forget that offering a wide variety of payment solutions is key to the customer journey. When making purchases, Canadians will use mainly credit cards; however, 30% will also use online payment processors. Etailers can benefit from adding some of the more popular ewallets to their site. Other elements that add to the customer journey include, free shipping or custom promo codes. In the end these additions will improve your conversion rates and increase customer satisfaction.
The level of customer satisfaction is defined by customer service. Good customer service encompasses the journey that a customer goes through from purchase to delivery. Merchants who utilize responsive communication before and after the sale, efficient payment processing, and effective shipping and handling understand that this leads to a satisfied customer and excellent customer service.
At the end of the day, satisfied customers ensure that affiliates can trust promoting a merchant’s affiliate program, and that they will get paid. If affiliates can trust that there is opportunity to get an ROI on their promotional efforts, they will continue to promote the merchant’s offer. Furthermore, the relationship an affiliate has with a merchant creates buzz among other affiliates, as they notice others promoting the program.
Affiliates will feel comfortable in promoting a merchant that can demonstrate that the brand, platform and services are well promoted to Canadian consumers. In my next post, I will explore how to translate these three elements to tangible affiliate program strategies to recruit and activate your affiliates. In the meantime, keep up to date with our latest tips and resources by subscribing to our blog and following us via Facebook and Twitter.
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