May 2018
The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
E-Commerce - It's Hard to Ignore


E-Commerce - It's Hard to Ignore

If you thought e-commerce was a fad, then think again. Here are some facts and stats that will make you reconsider whether your company should consider venturing into the e-commerce market.

And beware, A-commerce is already a thing according to who state, " … in 2018, shoppers with more important things to do - and that's all of them - will embrace the outsourcing of certain retail experiences to algorithms and smart devices. That means the automation of hunting, negotiating, purchasing, delivery arrangements and more."

So if A-commerce is not already on your radar, you might be wise to do a Google search and see what all the fuss is about.

In the meantime, let's look at Canada's e-commerce market by the numbers. (Source:

  • B2C e-commerce sales figures in Canada in 2015 were $29.6 billion, by the end of 2018 the figure is expected to be $44 billion.
  • On a global scale, B2C e-commerce sales are expected to reach approximately 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, up from nearly $995 billion in 2015.
  • It is predicted there will be 22.5 million digital shoppers in Canada by the end of 2018.
  • Currently, 10% of Canadians purchase online once a week.
  • 37% of Canadians buy from domestic vendors only.
  • 8% of all retail sales in Canada are online, up from 4.3% in 2013. This figure is expected to reach 10% by 2021.
  • Only 18% of Canadians feel very uncomfortable buying online.
  • The most popular online sites in Canada are Amazon, Canadian Tire and eBay.
  • Snapshot: A survey showed that in the third quarter of 2017, 22% of Canadians purchased something online using their cell phone during the previous month.

What these figures show us is that if we are ignoring the electronic commerce market, we are missing out on a very large number of potential customers. And this is a market that continues to grow year on year. An almost $44 billion market that is impossible to disregard if you are to grow your B2C business.

Could you sell your product online? If the answer is yes, why aren't you? If it's simply too daunting a task, find help. Often, your local college or university will have students who, compared with the average businessperson, are experts in this field even before they graduate - ask them for help, they are looking for real world experience.

E-commerce is not going to disappear, it's a valid and profitable way to sell what you make. What's more, consider your current geographical reach and then imagine your reach via e-commerce. The size of the market will blow your mind!

E-Commerce - It's Hard to Ignore


Your Business Ethics Checklist

We all think we are ethical, honest, and above board in our businesses and that we provide excellent customer service, but on a score of one to ten how do you think your business fares? Look through any newspaper and you will see untruthful or misleading advertising. Lots of companies continue to sell merchandise they know is sub-standard. Pick just about any manufacturer, go online, and read the reviews - it quickly becomes obvious certain companies (no names) are simply cheating consumers.

How many of the following ten points can you honestly check off? Be honest, if you aren't you're only lying to yourself.

  1. Our management team is completely truthful in all its dealings with employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and shareholders (or stakeholders).
  2. All my company's advertising is not only truthful to the letter of the law, but also in the spirit of fair trading practices. It is not misleading, nor does it misrepresent, overstate, or exaggerate the facts.
  3. I always keep my promises - my word is my bond, no matter who I give it to.
  4. I stand by what I sell 100 percent. If it doesn't meet a customer's expectations I fix it, or refund their money. And, I deal with all customer complaints politely and quickly.
  5. When I, or any member of my staff are selling to potential customers, we are totally honest when describing the features, advantages and benefits of what we sell. Our pricing is transparent, fair and offers good value. And, we are as attentive AFTER the sale as we were during the time we were getting the sale.
  6. I return ALL phone calls within 24-hours.
  7. I return ALL emails within 24-hours (except spam of course).
  8. I do NOT pick and choose the questions I answer in emails, or in person - I answer them ALL.
  9. I am polite, respectful and considerate to all my employees, customers, suppliers, contractors and shareholders (or stakeholders).
  10. I show respect to all those I deal with by always being on time for meetings.

This list is not comprehensive by any means, but we hope it gets you thinking about how easy it is to let honesty and ethical business practices slip in a business - any business. Are you certain for instance that your employees are being as honest as you are with your customers?

One good idea is to create a 'standards of business-practice' document that all staff are required to read and sign when they join your company, and annually thereafter.

In today's open and transparent social media savvy world, it's very easy to get a bad name for exploding tablets and washing machines. Not to say the company in question knew beforehand there was a problem with these products, but a little upfront care about standards might have prevented all the bad press.

What was your score? If you are completely honest with yourself, is there room for improvement?

E-Commerce - It's Hard to Ignore


Coach's Corner - How Do We React?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
- Newton's Third Law of Motion

Although the laws of physics and human relations cannot be seen in the same way, there is a similarity that for every action between people there is a reaction.

What is our reaction? How do we respond? What is an important part of that response? These are questions we need to ask ourselves because we are expected to react or respond.

There are essentially 3 types of reactions-Avoidance, Knee-Jerk, and Thoughtful. First, it may be a good place to start for each of us to look at our pattern of reacting. Are we avoiders, hoping the problem will go away? Do we tend to react immediately based on our primal fight or flight instinct? Or do we take time to think about our response, despite our wanting to avoid or conversely to jump right in?

Avoidance does not solve issues; in fact, avoidance usually exacerbates or prolongs them. We need to understand that by choosing avoidance, whether intentionally or not, those around us can't be sure what it is we want or desire. Good questions for us to ask ourselves include: Why are we avoiding this? What do we achieve by avoidance? What message are we giving when we choose to avoid? For those of us who tend to avoid, we need to answer these three questions and then have the courage to be heard and understood.

When we react in a knee-jerk fashion we often end up regretting, apologizing, or retracting what we said. Responses blurted out are usually done with little to no forethought as to where or how they land, what grief or anxiety they cause, or what antagonism they foster. Before reacting quickly or immediately it is best to pause and take time to think. We can tell those expecting our response that we will get back to them at a specific time. Then we need to ask, what do we want to accomplish with our reply? What are the ramifications of various responses?

Some of us are more ponderous and take time to gather our thoughts. Time may be a variable depending upon the urgency of the situation. For our communication and expectations to be clear, we still need to explicitly say when we will get back to whomever we are responding. Again, we ask ourselves questions such as, in what direction do we want to proceed?

How we react is as important as the message.

"You can't control other people's behaviour, but you can control your responses to it."
- Roberta Cava, Author of Dealing with Difficult People

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development


Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
4757 Tebo Avenue, Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 8A9
Phone: 250-724-1241 | Fax: 250-724-1028