How to Distribute to Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the country’s fourth-largest city. Ottawa is located along the Ottawa River in the eastern region of Southern Ontario. Ottawa is a very diverse city with a population estimated at 895,000 in 2014.
Ottawa’s 2020 population is now estimated at 1,393,086. In 1950, the population of Ottawa was 282,326. Ottawa has grown by 84,757 since 2015, which represents a 1.26% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Ottawa, which typically includes Ottawa’s population and adjacent suburban areas.
Ottawa has the most educated population among Canadian cities. It is home to some post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions, including the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery, and numerous national museums.
In clearer terms, what the above means is that Ottawa has a considerably large population at approx. 1.4 million and vibrant communities which are known for tourism, political administration, and academic research.
And by this, it is clear that this is a green area for sales. With the population and the steady in-flow of tourism, a well-positioned product can do well in this market. However, this is dependent on the distribution methods employed. This could either be direct or indirect.
To fully understand the distribution of products into Ottawa, it will help to look at it from the distribution of products into the areas in Ottawa.
Distribution of Products to Central Ottawa
This area comprises the ByWard Market, Centretown, Centretown West, Downtown, The Glebe, Golden Triangle, LeBreton Flats, Lower Town, Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South, Sandy Hill.
Many of these areas are suburbs. However, Downtown stands out. It is the central area of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Like other Downtowns, it is the commercial and economic center of the city. It is sometimes referred to as the Central Business District and contains Ottawa’s financial district.
ByWard Market is another different area. It is a retail and entertainment district in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located east of the government and business district. The Market district includes the market buildings and open-air markets along George, York, ByWard, and William street.
It is important to pay close attention to the communities to understand them. If you’re new to the Ottawa retail market altogether, it may help to work with experienced and established distributors. This is the indirect method of distribution.
Distributors can get your products into a lot of stores. Over the years of working in a particular area, they have forged long-term business relationships with retailers. They understand the market. They know the distribution network. Some types of products have low sales in some areas while others do better in that area. A distributor keeps track of this data for future reference.
So, as a manufacturer who is new to Ottawa entirely, you may want to engage the services of distributors who understand all the areas – of course, including Central Ottawa.
Distributing to East End
This area encompasses Carson Meadows, Castle Heights, Forbes, Lees Avenue, Lindenlea, Manor Park, New Edinburgh, Overbrook, Rockcliffe Park, Vanier, and Viscount Alexander Park. This area is largely residential.
Entering these communities can be done directly or indirectly. Indirectly – through the use of distributors who have worked in the area for some time and understand the area’s distribution network.
It could also be direct. This is when the manufacturer decides to penetrate the market without the use of distributors. This is not impossible – many manufacturers do it. Discounters, for instance, prefer working with the manufacturers because of the steep prices they will be able to sell at.
However, doing this can require a lot of work. Many manufacturers just send agents to pitch to large retailers. This work, but not every retailer is that large, and connecting with these retailers can be daunting. This is why many manufacturers network within retailers’ associations. These associations give the opportunity to connect individually with these retailers and pitch.
This works well when you’re targeting an area like Ottawa – or a more narrow one like East End, Ottawa.
Distributing Products to South End
This is the area that comprises communities and areas such as Airport-Uplands, Alta Vista, Billings Bridge, Confederation Heights, Ellwood, Elmvale Acres, Greenboro, Hawthorne, Meadows, Heron Gate, Heron Park, Hunt Club, Riverside Park, Riverside South, Riverview, Mooney’s Bay Park, Sheffield Glen, South Keys, and Urbandale.
This is a large area you can reach by networking within retailers’ associations in Ottawa. Some of them are the Retail Council of Canada, Ontario Convenience Stores Association, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, and Canadian Sporting Goods Association.
There are many more that are niche-specific and could align perfectly with your market offering. You can do more research on these associations.
What to Note When Distributing to Ottawa
Ottawa is a large market. And as with every large market, you should expect stiff competition. You can set your brand apart by focusing on a unique selling point. This is the point that sets you apart from your competition.
You almost can’t run the same marketing throughout Canada. There are places like Quebec, where the French language and culture are pretty dominant. You want to put this into consideration in your marketing.
More, marketing is as vital as the product you’re selling. You should invest considerably in marketing to get your brand message to your target audience. Ensure you tailor the message to them.
Laws and Codes
Canada is different from the United States. Different laws apply here. It is important to note whether all products – or some – need to be certified by a regulatory authority. For instance, in the United States, the FDA has to certify food and drug items as fit for public consumption before it can be sold to the public.