How to Distribute to Vancouver
Vancouver is a major city in western Canada, located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. Vancouver’s 2020 population is now estimated at 2,581,079. Vancouver has grown by 144,112 since 2015, which represents a 1.16% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects.
Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, and the Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city ranked among the top ten of the world’s most well-living cities for ten consecutive years. However, Vancouver also ranks as the most expensive city to live in Canada and as the fourth-most expensive housing market globally.
Vancouver is often called a “city of neighborhoods” because it has several neighborhoods with distinct ethnic mixes. The immigration rate into the city is high despite being one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world. 52% of its residents are not native English speakers, 48.9% are native speakers of neither English nor French, and 50.6% of residents belong to visible minority groups.
The distribution of products to this city can be done directly or indirectly. Here, direct refers to distribution to retailers. In contrast, indirect distribution refers to the use of distributors to get products into retail stores and shopping centers.
To fully understand distribution to Vancouver, it will help to look at the areas within the city and how the distribution of products can be done to them.
Distribution to Kitsilano
Kitsilano is a neighborhood located in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As of 2016, this neighborhood had over 43,000 residents. The area is mostly residential with two main commercial areas, West 4th Avenue and West Broadway, known for their retail stores, restaurants, and organic food markets.
To penetrate the Kitsilano neighborhood with products, it may help to work with a distributor. Distributors take the stress off manufacturers. They have the resources and expertise to enter remote areas manufacturers can’t. With this, the manufacturer does not have to worry about inventory and logistics. Those become major points of concern for the distributor. And the distributor ensures that all these are catered for.
Manufacturers focus on product development while distributors focus on distribution networks. They understand well enough to know which area is most fitting for certain types of products. As an advantage, distributors forge long-term relationships with retailers. This makes it easy to introduce new products and follow up sales.
Distributing to The West End
The West End is home to a mixed population, old and young, of Canadians, immigrants, and international transient residents. Like other downtown neighborhoods, the West End is very densely populated. It is adjacent to the downtown core business and financial districts, with traffic-calmed streets punctuated by concrete islands, sidewalk barricades, and mini-parks and many residential heritage buildings, including The Manhattan, The Beaconsfield, The Beverly, and Queen Charlotte.
Close to 45,000 people of all ages, incomes, ethnicities, and sexual orientations live in the West End. The age group of 20–39 years consistently ranks the largest at 48%, followed by 40-64 at 34%, 65+ at 13%, and under 19 at 6%.
To distribute products to The West End, the manufacturers can go directly to retailers. This may seem tough, but with retail associations, it has become much easier to do this.
Through these associations, a manufacturer who is new to the area can network with retailers and make secure several distribution deals through this one-on-one approach. This will involve a lot of networking, however. And the market has to be aware of the products already.
But as a good side to this, with this direct approach, the middleman is cut out, which means better pricing and more profitability.
Some of the retail associations in this area include the Retail Council of Canada, Automotive Retailers Association, and the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers.
Distributing to Yaletown
Formerly a heavy industrial area dominated by warehouses and rail yards, since Expo 86 (the 1986 World’s Fair), Yaletown has been transformed into one of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods.
The manufacturer can choose any of the methods of distribution to get products into Yaletown. However, the method to be used is dependent on the type of product and the resources available.
Some products would be better distributed directly to retailers. For instance, grocery products and some others with short lifespans can’t stand the long distribution chain. They are mostly direct to the stores.
On the other hand, some products are better distributed through distributors because of the cost of distribution and the stress involved.
Unlike the two above, some manufacturers have found it much better to entirely handle the distribution chain – down to retail and servicing. Tesla is an example of this. This method is highly beneficial as it strengthens the relationship between the average customer and the brand. More, the data gathered can be used to improve consumer experience.
Things to Note When Distributing to Vancouver
Vancouver 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.