Unboxing Canadian eCommerce

This week, IAB Canada hosted their second annual Business of Digital event covering all aspects of eCommerce in Canada. The half-day event was packed with stimulating presentations and practical insights that have been gleaned over the past two years of accelerated growth in the space. 

Google opened the event with an overview of the Canadian eCommerce landscape. The presentation detailed the tremendous growth seen across all categories and confirmed that we have come a long way since the early days of online shopping for books and electronics.  

Canada ranks as the second fastest growing market for eCommerce and is expected to continue the trajectory as today’s online platforms continue toenable big ticket shopping items. 

In a fireside chat with yet another homegrown success story, Article, a leading online furniture retailer operating across North America, Duncan Blair, VP of Marketing at Article, shared critical considerations for eCommerce operators. Taking ownership of the entire value chain, including shipping, provides the organization with the ability to maintain tighter quality controls around experience and efficiencies. Another area of focus was the importance of providing tools and information for shoppers to make the appropriate purchase decisions upfront, to minimize dissatisfaction and returns. Blair reminded attendees that connecting with audiences was less about generation and age grouping, and more about brand resonance. Interestingly, Blair alluded to the opportunities within unlikely media channels like audio, leveraging “theatre of the mind” to immerse audiences into Article environments. 

Another theme emerging from the session this week was the power of AI to unearth new opportunities; Victor Genova, Senior Director Programmatic Media Sales & Marketing, Canada at Inuvo presented an airtight case for “Why Marketing,” and shared some scenarios that clearly demonstrated the use case for AI to discover new (and sometimes surprising) audiences that would have strong intent to purchase. One study for example, connected short-snouted dog owners who often sleep poorly due to their pets’ snoring, to sleep-aids. We giggled at the study until Genova went further to explain that 90 million people happen to be in this category. 

One could not discuss the power of data without getting into the re-birth of contextual advertising. VerticalScope and RedFlagDeals.com presented several use cases for contextual advertising that showed the potency of relevance and the advancement of capabilities in the space. One of the hottest approaches for addressing audiences in a cookieless environment, advanced contextual advertising is well-positioned to drive results for eCommerce. 

Other presentations went further into best practices for eCommerce including Shopify, Pinterest, Snap and a great panel covering off loyalty strategies.  

Recording of the event will be available in the coming days, and we strongly encourage our members to watch the content. All presentations provided invaluable insights and best practices that could be implemented today. 

If you would like to participate in discussion about eCommerce, contextual advertising or any of the other topics covered in this event, please reach out to committees@iabcanada.com