Canadian eCommerce sites in Social Media

Published by Engagement Labs on July 31, 2014

In the leadup to black Friday and the biggest shopping season of the year, we took a look at the Social Media properties of Canada’s top eCommerce sites and comparable companies south of the boarder.

The Canadian ecommerce industry has slowly but steadily upped their game to a point where the user experience and price points are getting closer to what US consumers have long been used to. While the proficiency has improved, it’s still less common for Canadians to make purchases online.

With Canada boasting one of the highest uptakes in Social Media use in the world, we were interested to see how their biggest eCommerce sites used the medium to keep shoppers engaged.

Amazon.ca vs Amazon.com

The hulking behemoth that is Amazon has transformed the retail landscape both online and off. The site really does offer an amazing variety of products. However, the Canadian site has long been the “ugly stepchild” with fewer items and reduced service. There are signs though, that the Canadian site is getting more attention. The addition of grocery and specialty food items for example, is a step in the right direction.

Amazon.com has a tremendously successful Facebook page; with frequent posting of content, they do an excellent job of engaging users. The content is varied, focusing on products ranging from children’s books to power tools. The Amazon.ca page on the other hand, is poorly maintained. It had only two original posts in the measurement period with more posts being shared through the Amazon site. The result of these shared posts is a reduced level of visibility. Furthermore, the interactions with the page are staggeringly low for a company such as Amazon.

Drugstore.com VS. Well.ca

Personal care has been a very strong area for online shoppers in both Canada and the United States. While there is likely to be increased competition as Amazon and Walmart debut their online grocery stores, they have a challenge with many existing stalwarts.

In comparing Well.ca to Drugstore.com, the Canadian page wins out. Well.ca, as their name suggests, is focused more on general wellness than on selling specific products. The page includes motivational photos, company developments and events along with weekly posts (Testimonial Tuesday’s, What’s New Wednesdays) that users have come to expect and interact with at high rates.

The Drugstore.com page is rather bland with a steady stream of promotional posts and product shots. With nearly one million fans, none of the 37 posts in the measurement period received more than 115 interactions with many of them displaying much lower engagement rates.

Chapters.ca VS. Barnes & Noble

Books are one of the easiest things for consumers to buy online, they won’t spoil in the mail and the size is always going to fit. The largest brick and mortar sites in their respective markets continue to increase their online presence.

The Facebook pages for these two brands use both high quality visuals and consistent posting. However, what really sets the Barnes and Noble page apart is a focus on reading itself. Many of the posts ask users questions and focus on the experience of reading or particular genres of books. Only a handful of the posts on the Chapters page are focused on a particular book while all other posts are strictly promotional. A greater variety of posts and a focus on cultivating more user interaction would benefit the Chapters page by generating greater visibility in users’ newsfeeds.

Growth in Canadian eCommerce will likely be driven by greater competition, better service (free shipping and returns) and increased focus on the consumers. In 2013, we saw improvements across the board, Shop.ca recently saw its first million dollar day of sales and many traditional retailers are making their entrance or return to eCommerce. All of this can be improved by increasing public exposure through a variety of channels. Social Media is a logical avenue for contact and can best be utilized by having posts that focus on customer interaction and the promotion of lifestyle and brand over specific products.

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.