U.S. retailers boost Canadian sales via lookbook

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U.S. retail partners of Canada Post's Borderfree service saw a 10 percent surge in holiday profits in Canada with nearly a 50 percent growth in orders for all of 2006 as more Canadian consumers shop online. Through Borderfree, an e-commerce-enabled platform, Canada Post lets U.S. companies offer a localized shopping experience and manage Canadian orders including customs brokerage, online currency conversion and cross-border shipping.

"Canadian consumers spent $9 billion online between 2005 and 2006, and we're expecting to see that double by the end of 2009," said Paulina Sazon, marketing manager at Canada Post's catalog and Borderfree divisions.

Though Canadian consumers have one of the highest adoptions of broadband Internet, many of them do not shop online because few opportunities existed to do so until recently, Ms. Sazon said. Many U.S. retailers do not ship to Canada, and most major retailers do not offer transactional functions on their Canadian sites.

Along with the established Borderfree platform, Canada Post debuted the lookbook in November as an e-commerce catalog with multiple vendors, including Brookstone, Eddie Bauer and Cabela's, offering products and helping retailers test the Canadian market.

Response rates surpassed projections, Ms. Sazon said, and there is growing interest in the lookbook. Retailers including Hammacher Schlemmer and Lush have signed on to the lookbook's spring catalog.

"Canada is a hotbed for retailers who are looking to expand internationally," Ms. Sazon said. "Allowing shoppers to purchase in Canadian dollars is one thing that we will be seeing more of in 2007."

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