November is often the busiest time of the year for many retail businesses with the build-up to U.S. Thanksgiving and preparations for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But it’s a trend that doesn’t impact only U.S. retailers, it’s happening in Canada too.
There’s an opportunity for merchants in Canada to benefit from the increased activity during this time period. Aside from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales increasingly promoted domestically in Canada (even though U.S. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Canada), with the Canadian dollar in a weaker position relative to the U.S. dollar, Americans are increasingly crossing the border to find better deals motivated by their currency strength. In fact, spending on U.S. credit cards in Canada remained the biggest driver of foreign spending, with an increase of 13 per cent year over year.
Overall, foreign currency spending in Canada is up. Spending at Canadian businesses on payment cards issued outside of Canada increased by 13 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the third quarter of 2015, as Canada continues to be a popular destination for foreign tourists.
Making the conversion
The increased spending on foreign cards, especially from U.S. customers who live close to the Canadian border, presents an opportunity for businesses. A payment tool like Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), launched this summer by Moneris, can help a business capitalize on such an opportunity.
DCC gives international customers using their foreign-issued Visa or MasterCard the ability to see the cost of a purchase in their home currency on the merchant's terminal and the option to pay for the transaction in that currency or in Canadian dollars.
Seeing immediate benefit
A great example of this can be seen in Southern Ontario's Niagara-on-the-Lake region, a destination attracting more than 2 million tourists each year. One particular business in this region, Cecile's Home & Gift, uses Dynamic Currency Conversion as it serves many tourists and is always looking for new ways to improve the customer experience.
The owner of Cecile's Home & Gift had seen these solutions while travelling in Europe and liked the feature. Since implementing in the summer they’ve already had a number of tourists come in and it made their experience much simpler and straight forward when it came time to pay.