A few years ago, when I was in Toronto, I remember being shocked when a friend there told me how difficult it was to get any sort of serious e-commerce there. Because of problems with customs and other issues, many of the big e-commerce players wouldn't ship to Canada, or made it quite difficult. This particular friend would order stuff to be shipped to a relative in the States, to be "delivered" later. It appears that Zappos has had enough. Rob Hyndman
points us to the somewhat surprising news that Zappos has bailed out on Canada
, saying it will no longer ship there, due to issues with customs:
We have made the difficult decision to shut down the canada.zappos.com site and stop shipping to Canada. One of our core values is to "deliver WOW through service". That means the best selection of brands and products that can meet just about every individuals needs as well as fast, free shipping and free returns, all at competitive pricing. Our Canadian customers know that we have not lived up to these service levels.
Product selection on canada.zappos.com is limited due to distribution agreements with the brands we sell in the United States. In addition, we have struggled with general uncertainty and unpredictability of delivering orders to our Canadian customers given customs and other logistics constraints.
While this is just one e-commerce outlet (albeit a subsidiary of Amazon.com), combined with what I'd heard in the past, it really does seem like a pretty major issue for Canada. If people there can't reliably order e-commerce products, then Canadians are missing out on quite a big part of what the internet enables. You would think there would be a more concerted effort to make things right, rather than spending so much time doing things like passing laws that Hollywood wants
, which will limit consumers even more.