E-commerce shifts the cross-border shopping frenzy from in-store to online

by Knowlton Thomas

Don't forget about us, eh?

And they haven't. With few Canadians willing to cross the border in this snowy weather, U.S. retailers are luring Northern shoppers to their stores online instead.

E-commerce seems made for Christmas: avoid the ice and snow. Avoid the clogged traffic and jammed parking lots. Avoid the aggressive fat lady fighting you for the last Burberry scarf. Avoid the line-ups that stretch to the store's bathrooms - or is that the bathroom line-up? It's too busy to even tell.

Indeed, while Christmas is many people's favourite time of year, it certainly isn't so for shopping. But e-commerce changes that. The problem has been, of course, that Canada has been woefully neglected; many large retailers don't ship to Canada, or only do for exorbitant premiums.

With Canada's loonie hovering near parity, it's the perfect time to take advantage of U.S. retailer's lower prices, seasonal discounts, and increasingly North-friendly shipping options.

An Ispos Reid survey conducted recently found that 80 percent of online shoppers say the ability to ship purchases hassl- free would increase their likelihood of shopping at American websites.

U.S. retailers have listened, with more now shipping to Canada.

And for those must-have items from U.S.-only sites, there is still a solution: Visa has partnered with Borderlinx, an e-commerce solutions company that is allowing Canadians to shop at any retailer in the U.S. and have their purchases shipped across the border. Borderlinx also provides a calculator that estimates the entire cost (taxes, duties, currency conversion, and shipping costs) of the purchase before it's final. For even further savings and convenience, purchases from separate websites can be consolidated by Borderlinx into one shipment.

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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