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2013 was Amazon’s year of expansion in Canada. It introduced 14 new product categories, double the number it had when entering the market, and began to extend Prime’s two-day shipping to zip codes beyond key population areas. (Hundreds are still ineligible.)

 

So far, Canadian retailers seem to be unprepared for the Amazon invasion some say has already started. Only 39 of 50 brands in our Intelligence Report: Omnichannel Retail | Canada (released in partnership with Google) are fully e-commerce enabled, and only 77% of those offer any type of free shipping. The majority of sites with free shipping, 22,  require a minimum order, but only six publicize the minimum on the site.

 

Several exceptions to the norm exist, and they have begun to play offense without waiting for others to catch up. Walmart, Bell, Lowe’s, Lululemon, Rogers and Telus provide free shipping for orders of any size. Others such as Sephora and MEC instill shipping minimums, but nudge the consumers towards reaching it by cross-selling and featuring impulse buys in a sidebar.

 

Given that 63% of Canadians in a survey said free shipping was why they shop online, investment in the service would not be a waste. It could even be a first step for staying competitive.

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