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Global Perspective

Next Stop: Canada

1 Oct, 2008 By: Doug McPherson Response

Experts weigh in on how American companies can best enter Canadian markets, plus plenty of other good tidbits you should know about what's happening in DRTV with our neighbor to the north.

Response: Is it true more DRTV products are moving to the retail level in Canada? And if so, what does this mean for those in the DRTV industry?

Baldassi: DRTV products have been moving into retail for 20 years now. In the past, a number of companies had the luxury of not going to retail thanks to great DR numbers and a strong continuity play. This is more challenging now, and only a select few can stay out of retail and still thrive.

Booth: Some companies are going this route because the television environment can be very difficult if you don't have a stable of products that are generating strong sales through DR. If your DR business is profitable, then maximizing this channel of sale should be a priority to generate sales and build up brand awareness for the item. Once this is done, the timing is perfect for a retail launch. If knockoffs are an issue, an earlier retail launch would be necessary. Without a strong TV presence, retail sales may be sluggish, so being selective about which items you take to retail is advisable.

Crain: Retail for many DRTV products is the big payday, but it has to be set up and managed with a staged DRTV launch and campaign. Going to retail early or without proper media support can be costly. Many DRTV products are simply not suited for retail and can enjoy years on TV without ever going to retail. Retail can be a whole lot tougher than DRTV.

Stacey: Retail is now a critical part of DRTV success in Canada. With new items, it's more difficult to justify a large TV campaign if you are not going to retail. It's also important to have a local distributor with the retail capabilities and relationships to maximize your retail sales.

Woodrooffe: Remember that Canada has a population of less than 33 million — the same as California — and it is very multi-cultural and doesn't have the same volume of retailers. Drug stores, for example, are health-and-beauty stores, like the United Kingdom — not like an American Walgreens that is a mini-department store. Also, know that Canadian law requires all retail packaging and instructions sheets to be bilingual, displaying both English and French.

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