Whether proponents of growing up like it or not, people in Quebec – and the world – are consuming more and more. And more and more, it’s doing it online, notes Jean-Guy Côté, general manager of the Quebec Retail Council, an association that represents more than 5,000 businesses in the province. According to the latest research by the NETendances Academy for Digital Transformation, reported by Laval University, Quebec residents spent 16.1 billion dollars online in 2021, which is an increase of 30% compared to 2019.
Growth is also being felt at Diff, a 110-employee technology company that helps retailers create smooth websites for transactions. “We can’t hire people fast enough to meet demand,” says CEO Benjamin Crudo. Although he has been in this business for more than 10 years, he believes that we are still “at the beginning of the experience” of online shopping, and that business opportunities are still numerous.
Even today, some retailers don’t ask for emails from their customers, Jean-Guy Côté was surprised. “We are really talking about the base. Anyone who offers quality coaching services to help marketers succeed on their digital journey, whether in marketing, technology or data analytics, will easily find customers.
Do you remember Shopping VAT, or commercials broadcast at night on TV? The formula was reincarnated on the web, in the form of “social trade”. As in the old days, charismatic people promote a lot of live articles, with the difference that listeners can, in addition to buying products, also communicate by chatting with the host. Social commerce is extremely popular in Asia and according to many experts it is the future of online commerce. An ideal opportunity for influential entrepreneurs.
Jean-Guy Côté notes that many successful digital retailers have started “selling a highly specialized product that they are passionate about”. Opening a shop in a remote village to spread your love for rowing or a Japanese writer is not very realistic. But online? It is quite possible to find a clientele as fanatical as you. “Especially if you have a unique choice,” adds Benjamin Crudo.
Online shopping tools are now so sophisticated that all you have to do is enter “your credit card number and poof!” you have your own website for transactions, ”says Benjamin Crudo. He believes the next step in technology will be marketing automation to attract customers to your site in ways “other than paying for Facebook and Google”. Those who manage to create such digital platforms will hit the jackpot.
Anyone can sell their products on Amazon, emphasizes Jean-Guy Côté, which makes it a kind of “digital shopping center”. And it’s not the only one that exists: Best Buy, Walmart, Alibaba, Wayfair and Mercado Libre are also online markets open to everyone – just as they should be. Le Panier Bleu, in Quebec. Many companies live solely from selling on one or more of these platforms, with no physical or digital presence elsewhere. And there is room for much more.
This article originally appeared in the June 2022 issue Newsunder the title “50 ideas for starting a business”.