Dollarama to compete in e-commerce market

Consumers and employees still unsure online store will bring success

Dollarama in Richmond Hill.
Dollarama's online pricing will be comparable to in-store prices at locations such as the Richmond Hill store. Chris Cammalleri/Toronto Observer

Dollarama has rolled out its new online store and is trying to drive customers to make bulk purchases.

The model has met a mixed reaction so far, with consumers and employees questioning how useful this new store may be.

Christine Clement is a regular Dollarama shopper and she finds the store to be the most convenient way to purchase household essentials like cleaning products and kitchen supplies.

‘’Dollarama is like an adventure to me. I usually go in with a list of the essentials that I need but always end up leaving with double or triple the amount of stuff I went there for. It’s super convenient for me, and it’s kind of fun,’’ she said.

“I’ll definitely check out the online store, but I personally just love going to the store and browsing,” Clement says. “I think the online version will take that adventure aspect out of shopping at a dollar store.’’ 

This concern is also echoed from a different perspective, by a Dollarama  employee. Roman Raimondo has been working at one of the stores for more than a year. 

“Honestly, not many customers that come shop at our store are buying in bulk,” Raimondo said. “The average Dollarama customer wouldn’t benefit from this, I don’t think.”

Products on the website will be offered only for bulk purchasing. In terms of prices, they will be identical to those in-store, plus shipping fees. Dollarama is the first Canadian company in the dollar-and-variety-store industry to offer an online shopping experience.

Dollarama will now have to compete with companies in the bulk industry like Costco, which also delivers in Canada and arguably has a more established e-commerce platform. Although Costco offers discounted prices, they’re not low enough to fit the category of dollar-and-variety-store.

Will this change the way Canadian consumers interact with those stores?

Dollarama has established itself as one of the most convenient stores to shop for these cheap items. But now, customers can have their desired items sent straight to their front door.

There hasn’t been much advertising of Dollarama’s new e-commerce platform, but perhaps they will be targeting small businesses instead of the average consumer. (A call and an email to Dollarama’s corporate headquarters were not returned.)

If that’s the case, we may see the company change its marketing focus. Raimondo added he could see this working if they focused on the small commercial industry, such as selling to corner stores and/or variety stores.

According to its website, the company said they will be shipping from its in-store inventory. To keep up with potential demand, they have also increased the size of their distribution centre in Montreal by 50 per cent, to around 500,000 square feet.

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Posted: Jan 31 2019 9:18 pm
Filed under: News