Thinking about Canadian pricing

For a long time, Canada was a hassle. I still remember years ago, going to "Canadian pricing meetings" where we could discuss how to price our software for the Canadian market.

Canada is a fantastic country, almost certainly more attractive (in terms of a place to live or people to hang out with) than any other I know of. But for US manufacturers, it’s a foreign country, with customs and distributors and yes, currency exchange. For decades, the US dollar was worth more than the Canadian, so the easy thing to do was to jack up your prices. Now you had extra cash flow to make up for the difficulties.

Of course, the loonie is now worth more than a buck, so from a marketing point of view, Canada is a huge issue. When you have $28 written on your product but try to sell it for $35 in Canada, you’re doing nothing but annoying your northern neighbors. When you prohibit your Detroit car dealers from selling cars to visiting Canadians, you’re enraging them.

When I was growing up in Buffalo, businesses had three choices when dealing with visitors from Canada (just ten miles away): they could take Canadian currency but charge a fee for the transaction, they could refuse to take Canadian currency, or they could take it at par even though it was worth less.

Guess which companies got the business.

I think you have the same choice today with the products you export. If you expect to get your fair share of the market up North, you better have parity in your pricing, even if it costs you more to get the product there.