1. Overview of Courier Services Companies in Canada
For an ecommerce company, being able to ship orders to customers is of the utmost importance. You may start to receive orders only a couple of months after opening your online store, but handling those orders efficiently is just as important as the number of orders you get.
Courier services companies come to the rescue of ecommerce businesses in Canada to help them manage orders so that customers receive their orders within time.
Courier service companies in Canada can provide end-to-end logistics solutions to online stores like warehouse management, inventory management, picking, packing, and delivery of items. In addition, they can also provide more specialized services like route optimization, scheduled delivery, curbside pickup, hyperlocal delivery, etc.
But choosing the right courier service company for your business is not child's play. This article will discuss the best courier service companies in Canada for ecommerce shipping. We will also deep dive into choosing the best courier company for your business by looking at several key factors in ecommerce shipping.
2. List of Top 15 eCommerce Courier Services Provider Companies in Canada [Cheapest and Fastest]
We know shipping can be costly, and hiring a courier service provider to ship orders can dig into your business profits. Therefore, we have chosen Canada's cheapest but fastest courier service providers. These delivery service providers offer more than door-to-door delivery. They are reliable and efficient courier partners to satisfy your business needs.
2.1) Canada Post
Shipping in Canada is incomplete without mentioning Canada Post. They are a premier postal service and delivery company in Canada. Overall, they provide personal, business as well as ecommerce shipping solutions to their customers. With Canada Post, ecommerce businesses can ship to 190+ countries worldwide and everywhere in the U.S.
They ease business setup through integrations with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and payment partners like PayPal. Canada Post's broad network of 6400 Post Offices makes it convenient to offer next-day deliveries across the country.
They offer three shipping tools to accommodate different shipping needs and businesses. Snap Ships (for parcels < 20), Shipping Manager (for parcels <50), and ETS2.0 (for parcels>50). Apart from these, Canada Post has a range of eCommerce shipping solutions. Your customers can have flexible parcel pickup and delivery at any post office and get order tracking information via e-mail.
Canada Post offers retailers the option to ship from their stores to facilitate business ease. Their carriers pick up orders from any retail outlet, reducing the need for a warehouse. Moreover, their software creates and processes shipping labels and order manifests for efficient delivery.
UPS is a global courier service and delivery company with large-scale operations in Canada and many other countries. UPS is well-known worldwide for its ability to deliver precious, high-value goods like designer watches and precious stones. They specialize in safely transporting orders weighing up to 150 pounds.
UPS offers shipping through various mail classes and provides tracking information to all its customers. UPS in Canada offers cost-effective standard deliveries within five days for regular domestic shipping. But, for important and time-critical shipments, they have Expedited shipping within two days and next-day delivery options.
The popularity of UPS as one of the best courier services in Canada lies in its extensive eCommerce business solutions and features. UPS is well-regarded for managing returns as it allows retailers to send customers pre-printed return labels and e-mails. They also offer the option of scheduling one-time and three-time pick-up attempts upholding customer convenience.
Their major business solutions include integrations with Amazon and eBay, offering batch file shipping up to 150 shipments simultaneously. They have integrations with ERPs, WMS, and TMS software like Netsuite, Pierbridge, ShipHawk, and EasyShip to accelerate business growth.
FedEx is probably the most popular courier service company in the world. As a delivery and freight forwarding company, they have extensive operations in Canada and 220+ countries. FedEx is the top choice for transporting dangerous goods like batteries and flammable items. With FedEx, Canadian businesses can ship heavy and bulky items in temperature-controlled transit.
FedEx's popularity primarily lies in its full-scale domestic and international shipping services, unlike any other Canadian carrier. With FedEx, businesses can avail of express services like overnight and priority overnight shipping within the country. On top of this, multiple other options cater to ground and freight services, like FedEx's one-day freight and freight economy.
In its 35 years of service in Canada, FedEx has developed multiple resources and tools to assist Canadian merchants in shipping smoothly. FedEx has special considerations for small businesses, offering 45% savings when they open an account. Moreover, they offer support at every shipping stage, from calculating transit times and shipping costs to scheduling pick-ups.
Purolator is a Canadian courier service company with vast operations in the U.S. and several other countries. With Purolator Express and Ground, ecommerce businesses can provide expedited shipping within Canada. Purolator offers flexible delivery times, guaranteed next-day delivery, and weekend pickup and delivery services.
The Purolator courier and retail services are tailored to manage omnichannel retail in Canada. Purolator has warehouses, distribution centers, and logistics services to connect retail stores with online customers. Moreover, their QuickShip program offers multiple shipping options tailored to business needs. With QuickShip, retailers can have next-day deliveries seven days a week.
Purolator has manifold services allowing convenient shipping locations and easy access points. Their Mobile Quick Stop enables pick-up during peak times in populated areas. Their other amenities include a Quick Stop Kiosk and Parcel Lockers. The kiosks are self-served, allowing retailers to create and weigh parcels and create waybills. They can pick up, send and return packages.
Purolator offers end-to-end supply chain management that encompasses transportation, warehousing, returns, and cross-border logistics. From managing warranties to providing safe disposal and recycling returned products, Purolator refurbishes and resells items. They also take special consideration of environmental safety and regulation.
Canpar is an end-to-end shipping solutions provider for small parcel delivery for eCommerce businesses in Canada and 215 countries. They allow retailers to schedule pickups, manage orders, and track shipments conveniently. This Canadian courier service company has the provision of sending delivery exception reports to sellers.
Since 1976, Canpar has been serving 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses. They are especially known for discounted shipping rates as cost-effective measures. Canpar has ground, select and express delivery services and expedited shipping to the US and other countries.
They have various API tools that integrate with your website, displaying ratings, service options, and negotiated rates. Their complete shipping solution package includes tracking, generating shipments, scheduling pick-ups, and managing the address book. The tracking feature includes delivery confirmation and exception notification.
Canpar provides one of the finest returns solutions with three services: Express online collection service, return tag, and pick-up tag. The Collect service allows retailers to authorize third-party personnel to use their shipping accounts. Using the return tag, business owners can pre-print return labels.
DHL is a leading logistics and delivery company with extensive shipping services in Canada. DHL is renowned for its massive network of fulfillment centers and warehouses scattered across the world, enabling faster order delivery. They deliver to 220+ countries globally with tailor-made cross-border fulfillment and shipping solutions.
DHL offers express, priority, and air/road/ocean freight services for international deliveries. In terms of domestic shipping, they have next-day express shipping, parcel, and international mail delivery.
Their services also extend to warehousing, focusing on packaging, labeling, printing, bundling, and kitting. This in-transit storage facility complements their transportation services. Their multi-customer warehouses involve inbound/outbound logistics, inventory management, order tracking, EDI links, and temperature control.
Most importantly, DHL's transportation and logistics services aim to reduce carbon emissions and improve transit times. Their Airfreight Plus service is perfect for handling highly valuable and dangerous goods. Similarly, their multi-modal air and ocean freight is a greener alternative that combines speed and affordability.
2.7) Blue Dart
Blue Dart is a global courier service company with a significant presence in Canada and neighboring countries. They work in collaboration with DHL to offer further logistics and delivery services.
BlueDart is usually used for personal deliverables like mail, documents, and bulk shipping enterprises. Their shipping repertoire includes door-to-door delivery, freight forwarding, and packaging. In addition, they make tracking information available for sellers and customers directly on their website.
BlueDart also offers real-time tracking and door-to-door services. For international shipping, they offer Express Worldwide for documents and non-document-related items. They have access to over 220 countries, and with pre-clearance for parcels, BlueDart makes international shipping convenient.
2.8) TFI International
TFI International is a Canadian courier service and transport company with primary operations in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. TFI International is renowned in the North-American region for providing LTL (less than truckload), courier, and logistics services.
They have Canada's largest fleet network and are popular within Canada for fast and cost-effective delivery. TFI offers real-time tracking services to ecommerce companies.
USPS is the official postal delivery service of the United States. Along with the U.S., it also delivers to 190 countries worldwide. USPS is the best choice for smaller packages. It is cost-effective and can deliver orders to P.O. boxes near your home. USPS is one of the fewer carriers to provide shipping even on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
DTDC is a multinational courier delivery company providing comprehensive delivery services in Canada. DTDC specializes in the timely delivery of bulk shipments. It delivers to over 10,000 locations worldwide and can safely carry goods of high value and dangerous goods. DTDC can send your orders post-haste for urgent shipping through its Priority and Express services.
eCommerce cross-border trade is another cornerstone of their services. Their technological amenities offer extensive real-time visibility and consolidation of shipments. Other important cross-border services include offshore warehousing, line haul, customs clearance, trucking, and COD reconciliation.
Minimizing return to origin percentages, e-fulfillment, and sample showrooms are some of DTDC's alternate core features. For Canadian retailers, they focus particularly on devising a global business and shipping strategy. This includes warehousing and distribution, customized shipping solutions, and door-to-door delivery of parcels, documents, and cargo.
2.11) General Logistics Systems B.V. (GLS)
Dicom Express, now known as GLS, is one of Canada's top regional courier companies, founded in 1968. They serve a wide range of industries, shipping over 80,000 orders per day. The major amenities provided by Dicom Express include LTL, FTL freight, cross-border logistics, and Regional parcels.
Their regional parcel service presents expansive intra-provincial delivery in Canada, with 95% of deliveries completed within 24 hours. They have one of the fastest ground transit records among Canadian national couriers and complete coverage of Ontario and Quebec.
Their next popular service involves LTL and FTL freight shipping, ensuring safe and cost-effective delivery by single drivers. Again the LTL service covers all grounds in the country with next-day deliveries. Their FTL service is augmented by truckload management and procurement capacity, providing cross-border and intra-state coverage.
GLS has a dedicated logistics team who works to reduce wastages in supply chains and optimize last-mile delivery and freight consolidation. Their customized Transport Management System (TMS) lowers transportation costs and improves shipment planning and execution.
2.12) J.B. Hunt
J.B. Hunt is a name well-known across the North American logistics market. Operations since 1961, the company provides comprehensive transport and supply chain solutions for small businesses and enterprises in Canada and the U.S.
J.B. Hunt’s primary strength lies in its large-scale fleet resource that caters to multiple occasions in last-mile deliveries of parcels. Businesses can home-deliver mattresses or furniture with a dedicated team of delivery experts. The dedicated delivery team route, create shipments and regulate the entire process of final delivery to customers.
Similarly, they have different modules for delivering to job sites, B2B eCommerce, and deliveries from suppliers to retailers’ 3PL centers. With combined expertise in logistics and warehousing, they offer efficient shipment consolidation, linehaul, and manage multi-stop routes.
J.B. Hunt’s fulfillment services reduce costs and increase efficiency with their pool-point distribution and cross-docking solutions. Their state-of-the-art warehousing facility improves inventory management and packaging. They have recently introduced electronic bills of lading to ease international shipping.
Asendia was launched in 2012 and is a joint venture between La Post and Swiss Post. The company operates in over 220 countries, including U.S. and Canada. A major highlight of Asendia is its eco-friendly and carbon-offsetting shipping services. They have a whole range of international parcel and mail delivery services.
From last-mile delivery and customs brokering to on-time customer delivery, Asendia has a major foothold in both the U.S and Canadian markets. ePAQ is their flagship parcel and document delivery service for eCommerce retailers. It also involves return management features like local drop-offs, pre-paid free returns, and partly-paid affordable returns.
Their ePAQ International Standard is a low-cost delivery option for low-value items. Whereas their ePAQ Select, Plus, and Elite options offer both budget-friendly and fast-tracked parcel delivery with order tracking. The standard weight limit for most international packages is 4.4 lbs, extending up to 66 lbs for special items.
Another major highlight of Asendia is its discounted USPS services for retailers in the U.S. and Canada. Their consolidated mail and parcel shipping, expedited and pre-sort facilities have made Asendia an ideal international mail consolidator for USPS. Apart from this, Asendia has a leading D2C eCommerce solution called ESW that offers complete solutions for global D2C order fulfillment.
2.14) Chit Chats
Chit Chats is one of the popular eCommerce shipping solutions in Canada. Their primary focus is to extend low-cost shipping services and discounted postage rates. Chit Chats has partnerships with leading carriers like Asendia, Canada Post, Canpar, APC Postal Logistics, and USPS that handle shipping domestically, in the U.S., and internationally.
The convenience of shipping with Chit Chats makes them a popular choice for many eCommerce retailers. They provide parcel drop-off, scheduled pick-up by Canpar, and mail-in services. Once merchants integrate their stores with Chit Chats, they can purchase discounted postage. After packages at processed by the company, they are relegated to specific carriers for the final delivery.
Chit Chats offers tracking and customs brokerage for U.S. shipments. Retailers can get up to 80% off international shipments, coupled with order tracking and insurance. The weight limit ranges from 4 oz to 2lb. For domestic shipping, retailers can save up to 48% on cost along with full tracking, insurance, and shipping time between two to eight days.
eShipper is a Canadian courier and freight company established in 1999. They have dedicated shipping and fulfillment services, including next-day shipping, international and air shipping, and freight solutions. With warehouse complexes of 300,000 sq. ft, eShipper is Canada's leading warehousing solution provider.
Powered by an automated shipping platform and multiple fulfillment centers, eShipper offers tailor-made shipping solutions and 70% savings on costs. They have collaborations with multiple carriers like Aramex, FedEx, DHL, Purolator, USPS, and Canpar. Leveraging its carrier relations, eShipper offers free return labels for UPS, DHL, and Purolator.
Their SmartZone Skipping amenity is a tech solution that strategically routes shipments and saves up to 50% on high-volume shipments. Free pickup service to eShipper's CPX warehouse and Canada Post hubs is included here. Retailers can access 2.7 million Canadian addresses, door-to-door tracking, and final delivery by Canada Post.
eShipper also offers next-day delivery within Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. The service includes reliable tracking, GPS-tagged drop-off service, and proof of delivery. Along with next-day shipping, eShipper also offers exclusive international rates, including overnight and two-day shipping.
3. List of Top 15 Essential Criteria to Choose the Best Courier Services Provider Company in Canada for Online Store
A lot of any online company's success depends on the courier service provider it partners with. This is because shipping dictates the post-purchase journey of your customer. A bad shipping experience where customers face delays or shipping exceptions will turn them off your store forever.
Therefore it's important to put careful thought into the process of choosing your courier service provider. We have listed the essential things every courier company in Canada must have.
3.1) Service Areas or Serviceability
Serviceability refers to the number of locations to which a courier service provider can deliver orders. Naturally, the more locations it delivers to, the better it is for your online store.
However, it's wise to check with your courier service provider in Canada to ascertain that it delivers to all the locations you want to reach. If your ecommerce business mainly spans domestically within Canada, you can look for local courier service companies in Canada.
3.2) Limitations on Cargo Weight and Size
Before selecting your courier service company, it's essential to determine their cargo weight and size limitations. Whether in Canada or elsewhere, every courier company has a specific size and dimension limitations on shipping. This can depend on the type of shipping service, mail class, domestic or international delivery, etc.
You need to find out if your chosen courier company can accommodate you when your business scales up and starts receiving more and more orders. You may require shipping services like bulk shipping, bundling, etc., for your deliveries within Canada and worldwide.
3.3) Shipping Rates
You may be tempted to opt for the courier service company in Canada with the lowest shipping rates. But that would be a mistake. The best way to find out which shipping costs work for you is by looking at your business directly and asking yourself some key questions.
What kind of shipping service is most essential for my business? Do I want to ship internationally? How much am I willing to pay for shipping? By answering these questions, you should be able to pick the best shipping services at the best shipping rates for your business in Canada.
3.4) Speed of Delivery
Today's customers indeed want the fastest delivery date they can get. Some ecommerce businesses like food and medicines have to invest in ultrafast delivery options because of the nature of their business. However, not every business needs to offer such delivery timings to their customers.
Research says, on average, customers begin to turn away from a store if the estimated delivery dates go beyond 3 - 5 days. That said, it never hurts to offer faster delivery to customers.
Suppose you think same-day, next-day, or hyperlocal delivery is something your business needs to provide to its customers. In that case, you must look for courier service providers that offer those specialized shipping services.
3.5) Hidden Costs and SLA Terms
Some courier service companies offer cash-on-delivery services, scheduled pickups, delivery, etc., at an added cost, while others don't. Extra-shipping services can significantly add up your shipping costs and result in a huge surprise for you. To avoid such pitfalls, talk to your courier service provider about hidden costs, and don't forget to read the fine print.
Hidden costs, extra charges, shipping exception management response, and delivery time should all be included in your SLA terms. Your SLA will help you regularly check how your courier service provider is holding up the end of their deal and save you in the case of any shipping accident.
3.6) Specialized Shipping
With ecommerce penetrating almost every aspect of retail, the demand for courier service companies in Canada offering special shipping services has increased.
Depending on your industry, courier service operators can provide varied shipping services to safely and effectively transport goods. For example, shipping companies in Canada can offer temperature-controlled shipping, transportation of dangerous or flammable products, and bulk shipments.
3.7) Security and Insurance
It is well-known that goods can sometimes get damaged or lost in transit. In the case of high-value cargo, a single lost/damaged item can cost you your reputation and a ton of money. Tying up a trusted courier service company in Canada with trained staff to handle items can make your life much easier.
Insurance is another crucial thing every ecommerce business in Canada should ask their courier service companies about. Insurance saves both parties in case an accident happens where one or all of the products of the fleet are damaged/lost.
3.8) Delivery Methods
Simply put, the delivery mechanism is the entire process of shipping in a nutshell. Miscommunications are common in any business, and it's doubly so when you hire a 3PL or courier service company to manage your shipping.
Because now, you, the business owner, must maintain a transparent line of communication with the customers and the courier service company. It is crucial to discuss the details of the day-to-day shipping process with your courier service provider to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
There should be an agreement on where the products are stored, how orders are picked up, and who takes care of the packaging. Furthermore, you have to set down rules for how orders are delivered and how customers are notified. This is especially true for notifications about when the order ships, what happens in the case of a failed/delayed delivery, etc.
3.9) Proof of Delivery
Ok, so your orders have shipped. But how do you ascertain that it has reached your customer? Is your courier service provider's word good enough when running an online store?
The truth is not all orders are delivered successfully. But the entrepreneurs are unaware of failed deliveries until a customer complains when the situation has already gotten out of hand. So the best way to tackle such problems is by swift action.
Proof of Delivery (POD) lets you do that through a digital signature of your customer when they receive their order. This is a foolproof way of keeping a tab on which orders get delivered and when. It's also an excellent way to reduce paperwork.
3.10) RTO Percentage
RTO or Return to Origin refers to failed deliveries. Shipping exceptions can happen for many reasons, unavailability of customers, wrong delivery address, fake attempts by courier service providers, etc. Eliminating RTOs is impossible, but looking at your courier service company's RTO% can give you a deep insight into their quality of service.
A consistently high RTO% can indicate some faults on the courier service provider's part. You can ask the following questions to understand their RTO performance. How many attempts does a courier service agent make to deliver an order to the customer? How do they reach out to the customer in case of a wrong address? How do they inform the customer about a delayed delivery?
3.11) Returns Management
Returns are an inevitable part of ecommerce shipping. The goal of returns management or reverse logistics is to safely transport the order from the customer to the warehouse or seller. Unfortunately, returns can quickly become a source of frustration and loss for ecommerce business owners.
Still, the right returns management system will efficiently manage returns and turn it into a source of profit. In addition, with a good returns management program, customers will feel confident buying more products from your store, relying on the robust returns system.
3.12) Stuck Shipments
Every courier service company will have a few stuck shipments in its basements or warehouses. A couple of stuck shipments are typical and mostly happen due to issues with customs clearance, customer denial, or logistical incompetencies. The problem arises when stuck shipments are more significant in volume or increase considerably over time.
This indicates inefficiency in how the courier service provider handles shipping. The number of stuck shipments your chosen shipping company has at the moment will tell you about its shipping culture. Therefore, you should consider this when choosing the best courier service company in Canada for your business.
The fastest courier service companies today are the ones that use the latest technology to automate several shipping processes. Low manual intervention reduces the chances of human error, giving rise to a smooth shipping operation.
Apart from automation, technology enables faster delivery with features like route optimization, scheduled delivery, etc. Therefore, to fulfill your orders in and outside Canada, you must hire a courier service company that uses the best technology available.
3.14) Additional Benefits
Courier service providers in Canada and worldwide come with a few perks. Depending on your niche, you may require some or more of such additional benefits.
Most shipping service companies in Canada can offer ecommerce businesses various additional services. This includes packaging, kitting, loading, on-site assembly, repair, ironing, tagging, etc. If your selected courier company provides some or all of these services, it's a big plus!
3.15) Reviews and Track Record of Courier Company
Lastly, it boils down to what the overall service provided by the shipping company is like. Your courier service company is only as good as its customers' services. Talking to a few of their former or existing clients or even looking at reviews should give you a clear idea about their nature of service.
Another thing to look for is how they address grievances when something goes wrong, or a client requests a change in SLA terms. Since the nature of ecommerce is continuously evolving, you need a partner that is flexible and adaptable to change.
4. Final Words
Finding the right courier service for your business is as important as getting that first customer or figuring out your niche. It's a decision that should take a lot of thought. The kind of courier service company you choose for your business in Canada can make or break your reputation. A good courier service company can improve its brand image and loyalty by providing excellent shipping service.
At the same time, a courier company that's not the right fit can do the exact opposite. There's also the problem of coordinating work and communication between the seller and the courier company. Without a clear line of communication, the shipping service will lose quality, and the business partnership will ruin.
Therefore, always pay careful attention to the shipping company you hire for your business and heed the criteria before finalizing one. We hope this article helps you search for the best courier service company in Canada.
5.1) What is a courier service company?
Courier service companies are logistics providers specializing in the shipping and deliveries of parcels, mail, and other consignments. They provide a safe and reliable shipping experience for online businesses with a host of shipping and freight options.
By partnering with a courier company, you deliver your parcels and mail over long distances within days, and sometimes within the same day. Courier companies optimize last-mile delivery by incorporating services like returns management, warehousing, and expedited delivery times.
5.2) Which is the best courier service company in Canada?
The answer to this often-asked question is, unfortunately, quite subjective. Given the proliferation of courier service companies in Canada, each offers general and specialized services. Therefore, you must first examine your shipping volume and specific needs to find the best Canadian courier service.
For retailers focusing on international and cross-border shipping from Canada, you can rely on expedited and special shipping services of FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Purolator. These shipping companies offer fast air freight and affordable ground shipping services to 220 countries globally.
Similarly, for domestic shipping within Canada, you can confidently rely on Canada Post, Canpar, ChitChats, eShipper, and GLS. While some carriers in the list are proficient in freight services, others are excellent at providing shipping discounts. eShipper and Canada Post are good choices for warehousing and return management.
Also, if you prefer sustainable shipping, Asendia is a great choice of courier services. They are a 100% carbon-neutral company with a wide selection of mail and parcel services. In conclusion, the best courier company largely depends on what specific business needs you to want to fulfill.