The data effect

How analyzing parcel volumes can help retailers make better e-commerce decisions

As the e-commerce industry evolves at a fast pace, it can be hard for retailers to keep up. From customer acquisition to logistics, deciding where and how to invest in your online retail channel is anything but easy. Canada Post is using its unique data to help retailers better understand the industry and how it’s changing.

We actually have an interesting lens on the market, and we complement that with research that allows us to deeply understand the trends, what’s happening in emerging industries, and how customer expectations are changing for online shopping and delivery.

This information helps us drive our own innovation, and feeds back into the e-commerce ecosystem to support retailers.


New industries emerge

Specifically, my team has been offering retailers new insights into how the Canadian online shopper is evolving. Consumers are shopping with far greater frequency, and branching out in the variety of items they buy online. Typically, categories like health and beauty along with fashion have dominated e-commerce parcel volume growth, but industries such as sporting goods and toys/hobbies have been catching up and generating double-digit annual growth.

The exciting a-ha, has been the realization that shoppers are just now increasing their appetite to buy different items and test new business models online, like subscription services and grocery delivery – all previously underexplored opportunities.


The rise of mid-size cities

Where Canadians are shopping online is also changing. Major urban cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have traditionally fuelled the lion’s share of annual e-commerce parcel volume growth. While they remain near the top of the list, mid-size cities are starting to take the lead.

For instance, throughout 2015, Windsor, London, Kitchener and Saskatoon had the fastest-growing parcel volumes year-over-year.

We’re seeing shoppers in historically underperforming markets testing waters and becoming very quickly converted. In the Prairies and the Atlantic region, groups of shoppers have become far more engaged around e-commerce.

The bottom line is that since 2013 e-commerce has continued to post double-digit growth with no signs of slowing. By sharing our e-commerce data, we can help equip retailers with the tools they need to capitalize on this thriving market, especially smaller competitors.

We’ve become very passionate about supporting the Canadian e-commerce market at the small and medium level—we really want to help them drive their business forward.