Tag Archives: canada

Building a Magento site for Canada

Let’s talk about Magento and building a Magento site in Canada.  For the most part, the things that you require are going to be the same at the basic level – theme, gateways, etc.  However, there are a few things that are very specific that is needed for a Canadian store.

Shipping

You are going to need a Canada Post shipping module. Sure, you could ship via FedEx or UPS, but Canada Post is by far the cheapest system in Canada itself.  Purolator comes as a close second, but it’s still pretty expensive.  If you are shipping B2B though, I’d definitely look at either Purolator or one of the other companies rather than Canada Post as their combined shipping options (i.e. multiple parcels to same location) can drive costs down.

Accounting

You are going to need to figure out your accounting.  Now, if you are purchasing only in Canada, you don’t really need anything major or different – however, if you are importing products from the States or elsewhere, you will need to tie-in purchasing and logistics with your sales.  Quickbooks works well for this, but understand you’ll need a software to import the stock/etc in – it doesn’t connect directly very well.  Webtex is one option – but again, once you hit a certain volume of products, you’ll definitely want a better solution.

That’s where things get tricky- very few systems out there tie-in accounting with Magento very well.  Look for a dedicated system that deals with Magento and multiple currencies.

Domain names .ca

You will want a .ca domain name.  Purchasing one is pretty cheap per year – about $10 per year.  In the beginning, you might want to just redirect the .ca to your .com; but not having it is a bad idea.

Google Webmaster

Okay, here’s an interesting thing to do – make sure to connect Google Webmaster Tools to your site and then target your site to Canada.  It’s an immediate boost for your listings in Canada but

Currency / Canadaisms

Don’t forget to mention what currency you are selling everything in.  Not only is this necessary for your payment gateway, you’ll also want to keep your precious Canadian consumers on-board for longer.  Definitely consider flying the Canadian flag somewhere prominent – it’ll keep your target market on your site longer.

French / English

Have only a few products? Seriously consider putting up a French translation of your site.  It’s a great way to get customers from Quebec and help you rank higher for a certain demographic.  Of course, the problem is if you have a lot of different products, you might want to avoid this due to the huge costs of implementation.

Canadian Anti-Spam Law & E-commerce

Canadian Anti-Spam Law (S.C. 2010, c. 23) is coming into effect very soon (July 1, 2015) in its first part with the final part coming into force July 1, 2017.

The law is actually relatively straight-forward especially if you have been following best practices (and the CAN-SPAM act down in the States) and should require few changes in any e-commerce business dealings.  For most e-commerce companies, the area they should be most concerned with are ‘commercial messages’.

Commercial Messages

Commercial messages are defined by asking oneself Is one of the purposes to encourage the recipient to participate in commercial activity? 

When determining whether a purpose is to encourage participation in commercial activity, some parts of the message to look at are:

  • the content of the message
  • any hyperlinks in the message to website content or a database, and
  • contact information in the message.

If you are sending a CEM, you need to comply with three requirements. You need to:

(1) obtain consent,

(2) provide identification information, and

(3) provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

Pretty straight-forward for the most part.  Now, about obtaining consent…

Obtaining Consent

Consent can be obtained via implied or express consent.  Implied consent boils down to the individual having provided you with a way to contact them / have contacted / bought from you before.  Now, consent is tricky so I’d recommend you read the entire bulletin yourself since frankly, it makes no sense to summarise a sumary.

However, one thing to note – you can’t get express consent via a pre-checked box anymore.  That’s right, you  need to opt-in customers, not use an opt-out method which is allowed under CAN-SPAM. So, one major change.

Abandoned Cart E-mails

One major promotional method used by some e-commerce businesses are abandoned cart e-mails.  However, under the new regulations this is a commercial electronic message and since no purchase has been made, there is no existing commercial relationship.  Which means that you don’t have implied consent, which would make abandoned cart e-mails illegal.

Fun isn’t it? So, turn it off before 2017 when you can be fined for up to a million a person.