“I learned so much online about coffee, a lot of the connections I made nationally and globally were due to the online resources available. I saw there was opportunity there and I knew that was going to be the way of the future in terms of retail.”
The road to e-commerce was not smooth for Mark, who started with a .com.
“We’ve gone through three iterations to our website,” he says. “When we switched to the second one, we paid for user testing. One of the things we discovered was the users assumed our .com was an American company.”
.CA shows that a business is Canadian at first glance
Canadians tend to support local businesses–according to Canada’s Internet Factbook, 69% of Canadians internet users agree that Canadian organizations should use a .CA domain. Why? A .CA can be an immediate identifier to website visitors that your site is Canadian. Additionally, users immediately perceive that a .CA website will list prices in Canadian dollars and that there won’t be any unnecessary hassle with shipping the products across international borders.
After user testing, Mark decided to pivot his approach and switch his primary extension to .CA.
“We’ve definitely seen growth; our online sales have grown about 10% per year.”
He still owns the .com, but redirects users to his .CA for maximum exposure as a Canadian brand.
Mark’s advice for entrepreneurs taking their business online
“Entrepreneurs considering a digital home for their business should dedicate time to researching their options, especially when it comes to using digital marketing agencies,” says Mark.
“Be very cautious, in terms of the information you get,” he says. “What I have learned is that there are so many companies offering advice and services. The internet is enough of a black hole that there is no way of knowing what will work and what won’t.”
For example, trial and error helped him determine when and where to use Pay Per Click ads.
“We use Google Ads only for targeted products, because the ROI is very high. We have wasted tons of ads trying to sell coffee, because it’s too broad a category. We have a luxury product, which garners lots of clicks, but no conversions because of the high price point. For specific products, Pay Per Click works much better.”
Mark has learned plenty along his path to entrepreneurship and stresses the importance of collaboration. Founders need to recognize their own limitations and focus on their strengths.
“You can’t do it all,” he says. “A successful business requires a team approach. I focus on what I’m good at and find people to do what I am not good at.”