The USA market opens up a wealth of opportunities for Canadian retailers, no matter if you are just starting your business, wanting to increase sales or already doing well. If you have a brick and mortar store along with an online presence, the USA market is also a great way to move stock faster and increase volume.
For larger Canadian chains and brands such as Joe Fresh, Aldo and Aritzia, it is much easier to get into foreign markets. After all, they do have more resources, a significant market research base and the financial means to do so. They even have funds available to cover a potential initial profit loss. However, this should not discourage smaller retailers from establishing a presence. We recommend that you do your homework though! Pay attention to other brands’ experiences and existing USA trends.
There are many benefits to selling to American consumers:
- Canadian retailers have a great reputation in the USA
- The exchange rate makes our product look less expensive
- There are reasonable shipping fees to the USA (compared to Europe), especially on small items like accessories
- Orders under $800 ship duty free
- Retailers can get away with less seasonal product (think more summer and midseason items)
- The USA offers a much bigger consumer market than Canada
In order to prepare your entry into the USA market, your social media campaigns, Google ads campaigns, promotions and advertising have to be ready!
You will also have to take into consideration that the competition is much stronger in the United States than in Canada. It is a very desirable market for domestic retailers and foreign brands from all over the world. New retailers try to enter this market every day and there are numerous brands with a well-established presence and loyal consumer base.
Canadian retailers have an edge!
Canadians do enjoy a great reputation in the USA, and you can use this to your advantage. Our product is perceived of as great quality and our sense of fashion is well respected. Get ready to use this in your marketing campaigns. In many cases you will be competing with lower priced, lower quality fast fashion, which is beginning to lose its edge. Your American clients will look up to your expertise.
Get Your Website and Social Media Ready
Have a critical look at your website:
- Do you mention the USA in its content and on your product pages?
- Is it clear to American visitors that you are ready to ship to the USA?
- Are shipping fees to the USA indicated?
- Is it easy to navigate, equipped with a shopping cart and calls to action (you may think clients will call you if they like something, but many times they will not!)?
- Do you have landing pages that can be used for Google ads campaigns?
After a few tweaks here and there, you’ll be ready to roll out into the USA market!
Research Accessories Trends in the USA
The correlation of trends in Canada and the USA has always been somewhat of a mystery. You can use what you have ordered for the Canadian market to unify your stock, but you will have a better chance of being successful if you keep the American consumer in mind when doing your buying. It is also more difficult to predict with online stores because brick and mortar stores have the advantage of immediate feedback from their customers. Indirectly you can gauge your merchandise by weighing product clicks versus actual orders, or engage in social media polls.
Sometimes we’re really in sync with our neighbors and sometimes we are not. As a rule, the trends appear first in the United States and are delayed in Canada by about six months. This can be used to your advantage though as you’ll have a longer period of time to sell through your stock!
How do you research trends in the USA?
- Trends can be spotted on the streets in New York and Los Angeles, and easily seen on social media, blogs and online magazines.
- What are the celebrities wearing? Celebrities have a huge influence on American trends.
- Follow trendsetters, influencers and bloggers on social media. Often they endorse products that are about to enter the market.
- Research the online retailers that already have a big American presence and study what they are doing on their websites, social media and marketing efforts.
If you already run an online store, you will find that with the right edge and promotional efforts, the USA market is well worth looking at.