Export to Canada: part 2
Some advices for companies wishing to export to Quebec
1- Get UL certification for your products. If you do not have this certification you will not even set foot in Canada, you will only waste time. It is an indispensable requirement, it is required and YOU MUST HAVE. How much does it cost? It depends on the products you produce and you want to export. Contact an UL specialist consultant, but to starte, consider an investmnt between 20 and 30,000 euros.
2-Do an analysis: what position do you have in the market? Is it your company operating in the premium prices market? Are you in the mid range, or are you a really high level brand? Be spied and sincere with yourself and do not tell the usual stupid things like “we are among market leaders”. If you are reading these lines you are certainly not among the top 5 in your industry, then stop with nonsense, you struggle every day for a scrap of the market. Evaluate your products: quality and design. Do they really have something more/different than others, without falling into the usual cuddling that everyone says?
3- Once understood your positioning, in Quebec you have two simple choices: selling in the mega store, or joining the cool lounge of the downtown cool stores.
If you have decided to opt for the mega store:
– Hire a well-introduced sales person who already sells them products: it will be easier to have a chance to become their supplier and to overcome the caulking forks of the buying offices that need everything except you.
– Rent a warehouse and supply it with products that will sell more frequently. This kind of customer expects deliveries in a short time, they don’t want to wait 20 days for the container ship, plus the clearance times. Before leaving, consider at least $ 5,000 by month for this.
– Prepare to promote products through promotional flyers. All chains print their flyers quarterly, paid by suppliers willing to invest even to emerge among the millions of products displayed in the store. Account for at least $ 25,000 by year.
– Prepare an incentive campaign for vendors at each shop: you need to “sensitize” them to suggest your product vs all others.
If your place is among the city center boutique shops, my suggestions are:
– Hire a sales person who already works with the high-end furniture / lighting store. You need someone accustomed to dealing with items that have a history and content to tell and which does not just talk about ripped prices and promotions.
– Having the warehouse is not indispensable: this kind of customer is available to wait for their own lamp, such as furniture, several weeks… however it may be an ace in the sleeve
– Promote your products to architects and interior designers, who will in turn direct their customers to the stores that will handle your products
– Hire a local public relations agency to present your products to journalists working for the most important Canadian magazines. It will result in articles that will highlight your products, make them known to the general public and give you the visibility you need.
Finally, while you are in town promoting your business, for really good coffee, skip to one of the many Tim Hortons cafes. The best coffee drunk by me out of Europe.
If you want a good steak at end of the day, go to The Nek, a chain of very chic restaurants. Alternatively, choose one of the many places near the old harbor: definitely ideal for eating well, spending the right and savoring a fascinating atmosphere.