Why I Think Canadian Retailers Are Losing Out On On-Line Sales

Last week, I really wanted to buy some accessories for my new camera. As usual, I scoured the net to see what my options were; you know, doing some research for what is out there, and where I could get it.  As a rule, I hit my local retailers’ websites first to see what they have in their stock. If I do not see it there locally, then I expand my search and widen the net to include nondomestic sources such as the U.S. and the Asian markets. Sadly, as in this case, I finally bought my accessory from a company down in California, for what was a really great price.

The next day while I was shopping for food, I decided to stop in at one of the electronic stores in Langley City to brows around. To my surprise, I seen the exact item that I had just purchased from off of the internet, sitting there right in the (local) store.  Although I had paid slightly less for it from the California retailer, I was shocked nonetheless to see it sitting there on the store shelf in Langley City (close to where I live).

I asked the salesperson why they did not list this on their website. His reply made about as much sense as Federal Civil Servant justifying spending on why HB pencils are used instead of H2 pencils – it stunned me!

“It’s our policy. We only post certain items, stock items that are on sale, or items that we want to compete with from the other retailers…, we post those on line. And super sale items are also not listed” The sales person said.

I told him that I just bought this particular item from a store in California because I could not find anywhere else.

The salesperson’s reply: “Well, you should have gone down here and looked first. We have carried this item for a very long time. Everyone should know that we do not post all of our stock on line – we just cannot do it.”

I replied, “That is too bad. It is more convenient for me to do online shopping than it is driving around wasting gas and time, plus fighting traffic down town. I guess your company will suffer. It is a shame; you are missing out on a lot of sales. The Internet is just so convenient”

To which the salesperson shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

I guess it is that kind of attitude among local business here in British Columbia that will cause them to suffer further economic losses in the long term. I, as a consumer, will take full advantage of using the net for my shopping needs, and if local retailers are not going to cater to me, then they will lose out on my sales as I seek them further abroad.

I heard on CBC news this morning that Canadians have spent over 30 billion dollars on online shopping this year alone. This must be sending a message out to all local retailers here in Canada if we are buying that much volume? If not, will feel bad for them? No, probably not because they know.

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