Expert Advice with Lily Chau of Staples Canada 4/19/2016
Describe your company and your role there.
I work for Staples Canada as a Senior Category Manager. I oversee the MarketPlace Team.
What trends are you seeing in your category in the Canadian Marketplace?
Currently we’ve seen many suppliers going beyond their core business to boost their online assortment. This is typically followed up with a major investment in distribution facilities as well as initiatives to leverage third party sellers to round out and expand their product line-up.
What challenges do you face in your business? Are there any different challenges from a US retailer?
Some of the main challenges that we face at Staples Canada are high shipping costs; weak product content and images from vendors. Often, the product content and images received are not SEO friendly.
What advice can you provide vendors for wanting to expand into Canada?
I would suggest that vendors that are breaking into the Canadian market learn about and have a very good understanding of the import procedures, tariff as well as the shipping documents involved in doing business in Canada. It may also benefit suppliers to leverage a Canadian distributor for the initial launch if they choose not to go direct at the beginning. Additionally, warehousing in Canada is recommended in an effort to cut down on shipping costs.
What value have you received from attending ECRM EPPS events?
ECRM’s EPPS events are a great starting point for retailers to expand their category as you are able to connect with so many potential vendors that you may otherwise not had the opportunity to meet with.