Doug Stephens: The Dismal Present, and Bright Future, of Online Shopping
Stephens says there are several theories that explain Canada's lack of e-commerce, but most of them simply don’t hold up. The first is that the sheer size of the country leads to prohibitively high shipping costs. However, Stephens points out that despite Canada's enormity, we are not a "heavily dispersed population" because the majority of Canadians live "within 50 miles of the U.S. border." The U.S. on the other hand has a heavily dispersed population, yet has seen e-commerce boom. The real problems may lie with smaller businesses, as well as with our retail leaders. Only eight of Canada's top 25 retailers offered online shopping compared to 16 of the top 25 in the U.S. What this all means, ultimately, is that while the current e-commerce landscape in Canada is underdeveloped, there’s a huge opportunity for growth. The future of online retail, in other words, is still very much up for grabs.