An except from Ed Crain's article in a past issue of Electronic Retailer:
There has never been a better time to take a direct response campaign global. Europe and the burgeoning middle classes of Asia and South America offer hundreds of millions of tech-connected consumers ready to place their orders, and already having conquered the world's most competitive market, your consumer brand is sure to be a hit. But before you head into the United Kingdom, Brazil, or Japan, wait—international success might be closer than you think.
The logical first step in creating an international brand is to take your product into Canada. The direct response industry in Canada is already geared to serve U.S.-based clients, eliminating the need to license distribution. There are full-service, turn-key solutions in every area from media buying to fulfillment— meaning you can keep all of the profits.
Canada also avoided the deep recession that hammered American consumers. Canadian real estate prices did dip in 2008, but they quickly roared back to record levels throughout the country. Historically low borrowing costs and strong job creation have translated into resilient consumer spending. Canada offers a lucrative market with a population of almost 34.5 million—about the size of California—and a welcoming environment in which you can lay the foundation for your expanding international division.
If you walked into a Canadian mall 25 years ago, you wouldn't have recognized any of the stores, but today, you'll need to look hard to figure out you aren't in Kansas anymore. The first Starbucks outside Seattle opened across the border in Vancouver, and the Gap arrived in 1989, marking the start of a huge wave of retail expansion northward. From Apple to Zara, the big, international bricks-and mortar brands are here, and the most conspicuous holdout—Target— opened the first of 130-plus planned locations in Canada.
To read about the key reasons Canada should be your first step abroad, you can find the full article here.