Canadian Retailer - Spring 2011 - (Page 42)

| Retail: At Issue DISSOLVING make trips BORDERS: As consumers continue to south of the border, sales are squeezed from Canadian retailers By Robert Price I t seems as though each time the Canadian dollar approaches parity with the American greenback, a distinct division of public opinion is generated within Canada, creating two separate yet equally passionate camps of thought – those who oppose crossborder shopping due to the harm that it inflicts on the Canadian economy, and those who support the practice citing deals south of the border that are “too good to pass up.” The debate has been contested for more than three decades, with many of the same questions often being raised. Is the impact of cross-border shopping really that harmful to the Canadian economy? And, if so, what can be done to prevent Canadian consumers from heading south for bargains? SHOPPING LIKE GOSSIP Cross-border shopping today might be a fraction of what it was in the 1980s, but have no doubt: it still costs local communities billions of dollars each year. In 2009, Canadians took more than 20 million same-day car trips to the U.S. and spent nearly $1.5 billion south of the border. And this doesn’t count the number of shoppers who cross the border every day via the Internet. Some of the blame for the upbeat attitude many Canadians have for crossborder shopping lies with the media. The big Canadian media outlets regularly romanticize cross-border shopping. And they often write about cross-border shopping with the same glee as they report celebrity gossip. In 2008, Toronto Life magazine published a cross-border shopping guide to help readers make the most of their cross-border shopping sprees. In March of last year, the National Post ran an opinion piece declaring ‘Now's the time to shop in U.S.; Surging loonie makes foreign assets cheaper,’ and in November, the Toronto Star published an article titled ‘Hunting for bargains south of the border.’ Each article, in one way or another, promoted cross-border shopping, providing information for readers concerning ways to get across the border, how to minimize tariffs, and where to find the best deals. What’s even worse for local Canadian retailing is the culture of crossborder shopping that’s evolved online. Sites like have coupons and information about shopping destinations and border wait times. On the huge forum and comment sections on these sites, readers eagerly share their U.S. shopping strategies—and trash talk local Canadian retailers. CROSSING DIGITAL BORDERS The Internet has broadened how retailers define cross-border shopping. It’s no longer just crossing the 42 | canadian retailer | spring 2011 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Spring 2011

Canadian Retailer - Spring 2011
Table of Contents
Publisher’s Desk
Shop Talk
Mobile Retail
Leadership Series
In Your Best Interest
RCC Forms New Grocery Division
The Titans of Mobile
Promoting Your Brand in the Digital Age
We’re Number 1
Virtually Revolutionizing Online Behaviour
Back to Front
Trending Consumer Behaviour… Online
Dissolving Borders
Advertisers’ Index
Have Your Say

Canadian Retailer - Spring 2011