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Understanding Canadian Sentiments and Strategies in the Evolving World of Cross-Border Ecommerce

canadian client ordering clothes from US Evereve

What attracts Canadians to international online markets? In cross border ecommerce Canadians, factors like diverse product availability and cost-savings play significant roles. This piece targets the core of cross-border ecommerce for Canadians, outlining how shoppers are leveraging the global market and what retailers need to know to capitalize on this movement. Expect to find data-driven insights and strategy discussions tailored to Canadians’ growing inclination towards cross-border purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Cross-border ecommerce has grown significantly in the Canadian market, fueled by technological advancements and the shift in global consumer shopping behaviors, with Canadians showing a high interest in purchasing international goods, particularly from the U.S. and China.


  • While Canadian consumers face challenges like high shipping costs, exchange rates, and complex returns, they persistently favor cross-border shopping, influenced by lower prices and a greater selection of products.


  • The future of cross-border ecommerce for Canadians is promising, with growth trends supported by mobile commerce, changes in trade policies, and innovation in technology, while Canadian brands can leverage international market opportunities with the support of entities like the Trade Commissioner Service.


  • WeSupply optimizes cross-border ecommerce by offering seamless integrations, customizable returns, transparent shipping details, and analytics-driven insights, catering to diverse consumer expectations. With features like estimated delivery dates and satisfaction tracking tools (CSAT and NPS), it simplifies international transactions and enhances customer experience, making it an essential tool for businesses aiming to thrive in the global market. Unlock the full potential of your global ecommerce with WeSupply – Simplify, optimize, and delight in every transaction. Get started now!


Cross-border ecommerce, defined as the practice of selling products or services to a global audience through an online store, has witnessed significant expansion in recent years. With B2C e-commerce valued at 785 billion USD and expected to reach 1.44 trillion USD by 2029, businesses worldwide are recognizing the lucrative opportunity it presents, especially in the realm of ecommerce transactions.

Factors driving the growth of this market include the widened customer base businesses can access and the adoption of digital payment methods for smoother cross-border transactions.

Overview of Cross-Border Ecommerce in the Digital Era

The digital era has revolutionized cross-border ecommerce by extending businesses’ reach beyond their domestic markets. Technological developments like AI, AR, and blockchain have facilitated smooth transactions, improved supply chain visibility, and enhanced customer experiences. In this context, digital marketing plays a crucial role in promoting these businesses and reaching a global audience.

This has transformed global consumer shopping behaviors, fostering international trade, and offering greater access to global products.

Canadians’ Growing Interest in International Online Shopping

Lower prices and a better product selection pique the interest of Canadian consumers in international online sales. They predominantly buy clothing, shoes, fashion items, entertainment media, and electronics from international online shopping sites. Popular international online retail sites among Canadians include eBay Canada, Amazon, and specialized stores such as Lovehoney and Lululemon.

The Canadian Perspective in Cross-Border Ecommerce

A significant surge in cross-border ecommerce has been noted in the Canadian market, with projections indicating a rise to 77.6% in the number of online shoppers by 2025. Factors such as the ease of cross-border opportunities, challenges associated with customs clearance, and the growing popularity of e-commerce have led to a greater acceptance of online shopping and cross-border purchases among Canadians.

Despite the challenges of shipping costs and exchange rates, Canadian consumers generally hold a favorable view of international online shopping.

Exploring the Surge of Cross-Border Ecommerce in the Canadian Market

Significant growth in cross-border ecommerce is evident in the Canadian market, encompassing over 27 million eCommerce users. Canadian online retail brands often choose to sell cross-border into the US, considering it the largest and most accessible market.

The geographical proximity, cultural similarities, and a common language between Canada and the US make cross-border ecommerce between the two countries a strategic opportunity.

Canadian Shoppers’ Attitudes and Challenges: Returns, Shipping Costs, and Customs Duties

Significant factors in cross-border ecommerce for Canadian consumers include shipping costs and exchange rates. They also observe that returning items across borders is more costly and time-consuming. Nevertheless, many Canadian consumers hold a favorable view of US brands in cross-border purchases.

Impact and Opportunities for Canadian Retailers

The rise of cross-border ecommerce in Canada has presented both positive and negative effects for local retailers and the broader economy. Cross-border ecommerce has contributed to the expansion of Canada’s ecommerce market, as Canadian consumers frequently buy from international e-retailers, leading to increased sales and revenue for Canadian online retail businesses.

However, there are challenges such as adapting to different cultures and regulations, navigating customs and tax barriers, and ensuring compliance with diverse consumer protection standards.

Reasons Behind the Rise of Cross-Border Ecommerce in Canada

Several factors have influenced the rise of cross-border ecommerce in Canada, such as the ease of cross-border opportunities with similar taxes, increased popularity of e-commerce, and expansion of cross-border shopping.

Additionally, a robust Canadian dollar can enhance the affordability of imported goods, consequently stimulating cross-border shopping and increasing the demand for Canadian dollars.

The Effect on Local Retailers and the Broader Economy

Cross-border ecommerce has a significant impact on the Canadian economy, as evidenced by the embrace of online international shopping by over 27 million eCommerce users. The economy benefits from:

  • A diversified retail market that includes substantial cross-border purchases

  • Economic ties fostered by purchases primarily driven by the US and China

  • Enhanced consumer access to international goods

The Canadian Shopper's Journey

The cross-border ecommerce journey for Canadian consumers includes discovering international products, managing payment and currency conversion, and comprehending and handling shipping, customs, and delivery times. Canadian shoppers primarily discover international products online by engaging in shopping on international e-commerce websites that provide shipping to Canada, as well as from U.S.-based merchants. They commonly utilize payment methods such as PayPal, VISA, MasterCard, Interac, and American Express for international online purchases.

When it comes to international shipping and customs process, Canadian buyers navigate it by:

  • Educating themselves about the customs procedures

  • Confidently managing it

  • Acquiring detailed knowledge about export and import controls and permits

  • Methodically preparing packages for shipment

  • Selecting the most appropriate shipping method for their needs.

Discovering International Products and Navigating Payment and Currency Conversion

Canadian shoppers find international products online by purchasing from U.S.-based merchants and international retailers, particularly for products that are not accessible in Canada. They facilitate payment for goods purchased online from international vendors by utilizing credit cards, PayPal, and digital wallets.

Understanding and Managing Shipping, Customs, and Delivery Times

Canadian consumers need to understand the international shipping and customs process to ensure a smooth online shopping experience. They must learn about customs regulations, prepare packages for shipment appropriately, and select the most suitable shipping method for their needs.

WeSupply enhances customer satisfaction by providing clear, estimated delivery dates across the shopping experience and adapting shipping rules to product specifics. This approach ensures transparency and reliability in delivery times, addressing shipping anxieties and building trust by keeping customers informed about when their purchases will arrive.

Strategies for Overcoming Cross-Border Obstacles

Overcoming cross-border obstacles is a key aspect of ensuring a successful international shopping experience. Common challenges include dealing with shipping costs and returns, and building trust through transparency. Ecommerce retailers can enhance the returns process by devising clear and succinct policies, effectively communicating these policies in plain language, and implementing technology for automated and trackable returns. Transparency, too, plays a significant role in establishing trust in cross-border ecommerce by providing visibility into transaction statuses, fees, and associated charges.

These challenges, however, are not insurmountable. With the right strategies, such as addressing shipping costs and returns, and tailoring experiences to Canadian preferences, businesses can successfully navigate the world of cross-border ecommerce. Businesses can reduce shipping expenses by discussing with couriers and carriers, implementing cost-saving methods, and avoiding split shipments. They can also optimize the returns process for cross-border transactions by defining clear return policies, optimizing reverse logistics, and using returns management technologies.

Solutions for Smooth Transactions: Dealing with Shipping Costs and Returns

Businesses need to effectively address shipping costs and returns to ensure smooth transactions. They can diminish the influence of shipping expenses by negotiating better rates with carriers, exploring alternative distribution options, and utilizing flat-rate shipping.

To optimize the returns process, businesses can define clear return policies, streamline communications, and employ returns management systems.

WeSupply provides comprehensive solutions to streamline online transactions by addressing the complexities of shipping costs and returns on an international scale. By offering the flexibility to set different return addresses for various regions, charge return or restocking fees for specific countries, or even prohibit returns from certain locations, WeSupply empowers businesses to tailor their shipping and returns policies. This approach not only simplifies logistics but also enhances customer satisfaction by allowing shoppers to choose their preferred vendors for return shipments and personalizing the return experience according to their local context.

International Returns and Country Specific Rules

Book a quick call with our experts to see how WeSupply can help you charge for returns shipping for specific countries, or just simply not allow for any returns. It’s all possible and configurable!

Tailoring Experiences to Canadian Preferences and Building Trust Through Transparency

Building trust through transparency and tailoring experiences to Canadian preferences are key strategies for success. Canadian consumers place high value on transparency in pricing and comprehensive details about expenses. Therefore, businesses should ensure that their websites display appropriate currency, taxes, and duties during checkout for transparency.

Understanding Canadian consumer preferences is crucial for businesses targeting the Canadian market. Catering to canadian customers’ preferences, such as their preference for direct shipping methods and prices displayed in CAD with taxes and fees included, can greatly impact a company’s success in this market.

Preparing for the Future of Cross-Border Ecommerce

As we look to the future, understanding emerging technologies and anticipating changes in trade policies becomes increasingly important. Emerging technologies in mobile commerce that are anticipated to have an impact on the future of Canadian cross-border ecommerce encompass:

  • Shopping through mobile apps

  • Sales made from smartphones and tablets

  • One-click ordering

  • Blockchain

Moreover, potential changes in trade policies could impact the future of cross-border ecommerce. For instance, Canada has enforced a prohibition on the production and importation for commercial purposes of specific single-use plastics, thereby potentially influencing cross-border ecommerce operations.

Retailers can prepare for potential changes in trade policies by utilizing local payment schemes and currencies, establishing market familiarity, managing foreign exchange risks, identifying potential new markets, staying informed about restrictions and regulations, and developing flexible pricing strategies. Furthermore, the anticipated advancements in mobile commerce technology include augmented reality, one-click ordering, mobile website optimization, and social commerce.

Emerging Technologies in Mobile Commerce and Their Impact on the Canadian Market

Mobile commerce technologies have played a significant role in the Canadian ecommerce landscape, accounting for one-third of all ecommerce sales in Canada. A significant proportion of Canadians utilize mobile phones and tablets for their online purchases, demonstrating a substantial level of adaptation to mobile commerce technologies for cross-border shopping.

These trends are expected to continue, with innovations like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital distributed ledgers expected to improve efficiencies, transparency, and accessibility in the cross-border ecommerce industry.

Anticipating Changes in Trade Policies and Their Implications

Changes in trade policies can have far-reaching implications for cross-border ecommerce. For instance, Canada’s recent prohibition on the production and importation for commercial purposes of specific single-use plastics may influence cross-border ecommerce operations. Furthermore, trade policies that pertain to international shipping and border processes are instrumental in the facilitation of cross-border ecommerce.

Through the streamlining of these processes, trade policies have the potential to improve the convenience of cross-border purchases for consumers and businesses alike.

Building a Successful Cross-Border Strategy

A successful cross-border strategy involves a multifaceted process that includes:

  • Market research

  • Product selection

  • Website localization

  • Compliance with regulatory standards

Understanding the local market landscape and consumer behavior is crucial to successful market research. Moreover, products should be selected based on a comprehensive strategy that takes into account local preferences and trends within the Canadian market.

Adapting a website for Canadian consumers involves:

  • Translating content into local languages, including pertinent keywords

  • Ensuring that the ecommerce platform supports local languages, currency options, and functional features that cater to Canadian shoppers

  • Complying with regulatory standards such as international trade laws, customs, and duties, to ensure the legality and functionality of cross-border ecommerce activities.

Market Research and Product Selection for the Canadian Market

Effective market research involves studying the target market’s landscape and consumer behavior. Canadian consumers have a preference for supporting local businesses, but they also engage in significant online shopping on non-Canadian websites. Therefore, businesses should select products that cater to local preferences and trends within the Canadian market.

Website Localization and Compliance with Regulatory Standards

Website localization is essential for effectively catering to a Canadian audience. This involves translating content into local languages, incorporating relevant keywords, and ensuring the ecommerce platform supports local languages and currency options. Compliance with regulatory standards, such as international trade laws and customs, is also crucial for ensuring the legality and functionality of cross-border ecommerce activities.

Leveraging Consumer Insights and Technologies

Enhancing cross-border ecommerce strategies relies heavily on:

  • Consumer insights and technologies

  • Utilizing consumer data and insights to understand the target audience better and personalize marketing messages to improve the customer experience

  • Ecommerce platforms that enable businesses to reach customers in different countries, facilitate the exchange of goods and services across borders, and reduce dependence on a single market.

Consumer data can help businesses understand their target audience, personalize marketing messages, and optimize the customer experience. Analytics can also be employed to enhance cross-border ecommerce strategies by identifying crucial performance indicators. The most valuable types of consumer data in cross-border ecommerce strategies include demographic information, purchase history, browsing behavior, and preferences.

Using Consumer Data to Enhance Cross-Border Ecommerce Strategies

Consumer data utilization can foster the following benefits in cross-border ecommerce:

  • Expansion of market reach

  • Increased sales

  • Enhanced brand visibility

  • Competitive advantage

To achieve these benefits, it is crucial to establish the appropriate performance measures aligned with the company’s objectives when employing data and analytics.

WeSupply stands at the forefront of enhancing cross-border ecommerce strategies by leveraging consumer data through its advanced logistics analytics. Recognizing that a data-driven approach is vital for any successful business, WeSupply emphasizes the importance of measuring and tracking operations to continuously improve the post-purchase customer experience. By providing tools to monitor CSAT and NPS, WeSupply enables retailers to fine-tune their services based on direct feedback and insights into customer preferences and challenges. This approach not only helps identify and rectify issues, whether in order processing times, product quality, or other areas, but also supports businesses in adapting to the evolving demands of international consumers, ultimately optimizing cross-border ecommerce operations.

Returns Analytics for eCommerce Business

Book a quick call with our experts to see how WeSupply can help you understand why your customers are returning: Identify the most returned products; Understand why those products are returned; Identify which customers are serial returners; Reduce Return Rate with Actionable Insights; Returns data available in BigQuery.

The Role of Ecommerce Platforms in Streamlining Operations and Expanding Reach

Ecommerce platforms contribute to the enhancement of cross-border trade by enabling businesses to reach customers in different countries, facilitating the exchange of goods and services across borders, tapping into the international market, and reducing dependence on a single market. Specific ecommerce platforms specialize in cross-border transactions, such as FedEx Cross Border, CargoWise Customs (BorderWise), Go Global Ecommerce, Glopal, and Floship.

WeSupply plays a pivotal role in enhancing the operational efficiency and broadening the market reach of ecommerce platforms through its extensive integration capabilities. By seamlessly connecting with hundreds of third-party tools, WeSupply facilitates the smooth synchronization of order and returns data with existing API-driven tools. This interoperability not only enriches the customer experience by ensuring a more cohesive and responsive service but also contributes to significant cost savings for businesses. Through these integrations, WeSupply enables ecommerce platforms to streamline their operations and extend their presence in the market effectively.

The Future Landscape of Cross-Border Ecommerce for Canadians

The future landscape of cross-border ecommerce for Canadians entails trends and projections, as well as the role of innovation in international online shopping. The projected future of cross-border ecommerce in Canada suggests a significant increase in online shoppers, growing at a rate of over 27% from 2020. It is projected that by 2025, 77.6% of retail eCommerce sales in Canada will be from cross-border transactions. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital distributed ledgers are expected to improve efficiencies, transparency, and accessibility in the cross-border ecommerce industry.

Canadian brands have achieved success in cross-border ecommerce, such as lululemon athletica and Aritzia, which have effectively expanded in the US, while US-based companies like Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and Bed Bath & Beyond have achieved success in the Canadian market. These brands have overcome obstacles such as dealing with customs regulations, handling duties, managing international shipping processes, and contending with high shipping costs.

Trends, Projections, and the Role of Innovation in International Online Shopping

In the year 2022, the following trends in online retail transactions in Canada can be observed:

  • 55% of Canadians engage in online retail transactions using their mobile devices, with the younger demographic taking the lead

  • The primary source markets for cross-border purchases from Canada are the United States and China

  • There is an observable inclination of Canadians to increase their online purchases in 2022 as compared to preceding years.

Anticipated technological advancements are projected to have a substantial influence, given the current presence of over 27 million eCommerce users in Canada.


The landscape of cross-border ecommerce has witnessed significant shifts, including:

  • An initial decline in trade levels

  • A significant rise in ecommerce as a fundamental strategy driven by globalization

  • A noteworthy increase in cross-border opportunities in Canada as businesses extend their online presence to new geographical areas

  • A robust cross-border shopping culture in Canada that has been influenced by the pandemic

Canadian brands can effectively adjust to the evolving global ecommerce market by investigating international market opportunities with the assistance of organizations such as the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS).

Summarizing the Shifts in Cross-Border Ecommerce

Cross-border ecommerce has undergone significant changes such as rapid growth, increased online purchases, a shift towards digital solutions, and an evolving landscape for online retailers. The emergence of cross border e commerce in Canada has resulted in a fervent consumer market attracted by discounts, free shipping, and online promotions.

A significant number of Canadian consumers intend to sustain their current level of online shopping, showing no inclination to revert to pre-pandemic habits.

The Way Forward for Canadian Consumers and Brands in the Global Market

The future of cross-border ecommerce for Canadian consumers and brands appears promising, with projections of a growth rate that will result in an increase to 77.6% of online shoppers by 2025. Canadian brands can synchronize with global ecommerce market trends by investigating international market opportunities with the assistance of organizations such as the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). Participating in cross-border ecommerce is particularly beneficial for brands situated in close proximity to the US.


In conclusion, cross-border ecommerce has emerged as a significant frontier for businesses and consumers alike. For businesses, it offers an opportunity to reach a global customer base, while for consumers, it provides access to a wider array of products and services. While challenges exist, with the right strategies and a keen understanding of the market, businesses can successfully navigate the world of cross-border ecommerce.

WeSupply stands out in cross-border ecommerce by aligning with Canadian consumer expectations through features like customizable returns, analytics for strategic decisions, and clear shipping details. It enhances the international shopping experience by offering transparent delivery estimates and adapting shipping rules, alongside tools for measuring customer satisfaction. This focused approach enables businesses to effectively address the complexities of serving the Canadian market, fostering trust and streamlining operations in the competitive landscape of global ecommerce. See the difference with your own eyes – Book a WeSupply demo today and transform your ecommerce experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a cross border e-commerce?

Cross-border e-commerce refers to selling goods from a website of a national store in another country to another party, whether it’s between a retailer and a consumer, two businesses, or two private persons. It essentially involves international e-commerce transactions.

Can you do eCommerce in Canada?

Yes, you can do eCommerce in Canada due to its robust economy, high standard of living, and growing technological savvy population, with eCommerce sales expected to surpass $33 billion by 2024.

How does WeSupply cater to Canadian consumers' expectations in cross-border ecommerce?

WeSupply addresses Canadian consumers’ needs by offering customizable return policies, clear communication on shipping costs and precise delivery estimates. This approach reduces shipping anxiety and enhances the overall shopping experience for Canadian shoppers.

Can WeSupply help with the complexities of international shipping and customs for my ecommerce business?

Yes, WeSupply simplifies international logistics by providing tools for transparent management of shipping, and delivery times. Flexible shipping rules and estimated delivery dates are displayed at various shopping stages, making the process straightforward for both businesses and consumers.

What makes WeSupply a good fit for businesses looking to expand in the Canadian market?

With its seamless integrations, customizable logistics solutions, and emphasis on customer satisfaction, WeSupply is uniquely positioned to help businesses navigate the challenges of cross-border ecommerce and succeed in the Canadian market.

Is it possible to block returns from Canada or charge for returns shipping with WeSupply?

Yes, WeSupply provides the option to customize your return policies for Canada, including the ability to block returns, charge return or restocking fees, and let customers handle returns shipping with their preferred vendor, offering a personalized return experience.

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WeSupply is transforming the way businesses build Customer Lifetime Value by offering positive exchange experiences. By making exchanges effortless, WeSupply encourages customers to revisit your website for any product, without price constraints. Key features like using store credits or gift cards as partial payments not only increase order values but also reinforce customer loyalty. This approach is instrumental in enhancing Customer Lifetime Value, as it turns a simple exchange into a delightful shopping experience, fostering long-term customer relationships and ongoing business growth.

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