1) An overview of eCommerce shipping from the USA to Canada
There is a robust trading bond between USA and Canada, with free trading as an established norm. This makes Canada one of the biggest trading partners of the USA. Canada has a flourishing economy with a booming international eCommerce demand. Indeed this is a good time for eCommerce brands in the USA to expand into the Canadian market, especially when there is ease of eCommerce shipping from the USA to Canada.
2) 5 Points to consider for eCommerce shipping from the USA to Canada
As pointed out above, USA has a stronghold in Canada’s eCommerce retail. This is why we have listed five factors that every eCommerce business should take into consideration before shipping their products.
2.1) Customer behavior
More than 70% of the population in Canada uses eCommerce for retail purchases, and almost 45% of it comes from the USA. Canadian consumers look for free shipping as their favorite shipping method for domestic deliveries, but not the same from overseas. This gives eCommerce businesses in the USA a leeway not to rely on free shipping for delivery and combine their affordable shipping options.
The preferred payment method in Canada is PayPal, though there is a heavy reliance on credit and debit cards. Canadian consumers also favor parcel locker or pick-up from the post office other than door-to-door delivery.
As such, eCommerce brands can opt for these alternative delivery methods to appease customer satisfaction and cut down on delivery costs. A significant proportion of the Canadian population shops using their smartphones.
2.2) Marketplaces and stores
Amazon Canada is the most popular eCommerce company in Canada. Therefore registering your eCommerce brand on Amazon Canada would open your store to an estimated five million consumers every month. Another option is to have your own website with a Canadian domain address to have a more upfront business with Canadian customers.
Not having a clear returns policy can put you in danger of cart abandonment. Therefore having a well-defined returns policy and easy reverse logistics is the key to gaining a foothold in the hearts of Canadian consumers. For returns, you can use Canada Post’s return labels for directly emailing them to customers and have them return their order to the nearest post office for easy reverse logistics.
2.4) Customs and Duties
An important term to understand in international shipping related to customs and duties is Delivery Duty Paid (DDP). It is a legal document (like a billing option) that enables the eCommerce brand (or the shipper) to send parcels internationally and have the clearance fees, associated taxes, and duties billed to themselves from the carrier once the package has been delivered. Therefore, while the shipper pays the duties, they bill the shipper to recover costs. With DDP shipping, customs clearance becomes easier, leading to faster delivery times.
For shipping to Canada, an eCommerce brand has to be familiarised with three types of tax systems: GST, HST, and PST. The most prevalent of the three is GST, where you pay 5% of the tax for domestic consumption of any items sold in Canada. The Harmonized tax (HST) combines GST and provincial tax (PST) in some areas of Canada like Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island.
3PLs are an excellent option for an eCommerce brand to relay their fulfillment and logistics tasks for a seamless business operation. 3PLs are adept at picking and packing orders, managing inventory and warehouse, handling customs forms and duties, and connecting with international carriers.
Along with these, a 3PL like ShipBob also carves out great discounts, tracks orders along the entire shipping route, manage to package, negotiate shipping rate, and a reduction in shipping costs.
3) 5 Best eCommerce shipping carriers from the USA to Canada (Features+Shipping Rates)
Now that we know about the five pointers of conducting eCommerce shipping from the USA to Canada, let’s take a detailed look at the five best shipping carriers for cross-border trade between USA and Canada:
United States Postal Service works with Canada Post for shipping your orders from the USA to Canada. In other words, Canada Post takes over the delivery of your parcels once your shipments land in the country. Despite this, USPS is a popular shipping option in the USA as it offers flat rate shipping and discounts. They also offer tracking and insurance as extra services, but only until your packages remain within the USA borders.
There are four tiers of services available for shipping to Canada:
- Global Express Guaranteed
This service is built to ship urgent items. For major Canadian cities, your parcels will be delivered within one business day. The price for this service, however, starts at $67. At max, the delivery with Global Express is done within three business days.
- Priority Mail Express International
This service is offered for shipping documents and other printed materials. It usually takes around 3 to 5 business days for delivery in Canada. And in some cases, Priority Mail service also guarantees a money-back option if deliveries are delayed. The service starts from $47.95.
- Priority Mail International
This is an affordable shipping service that also includes tracking and insurance. You can send both merchandise and documents in two packages. You can either opt for flat rate envelopes or small boxes for parcels weighing upto 4 lbs and medium or large flat rate boxes for parcels weighing up to 20 lbs. For merchandise, the service price starts from $200 and for documents, it starts from $100 including insurance and tracking.
- First-Class Package International Service
This is another economical option provided by USPS with prices starting at $14.85. You can send packages weighing up to 4 lbs with a value under $400. You can get delivery confirmation in the electronic medium in this category.
UPS is a popular eCommerce shipping service for both shipping from the USA to Canada and domestic shipping within Canada for the past 40 years. There are two options for shipping from the USA to Canada:
- UPS Expedited
It takes two business days to ship from the USA to Canada with expedited shipping. This service offers three delivery attempts for door-to-door service and a guaranteed on-time delivery commitment. This option also provides in-house customs clearance.
- UPS Worldwide Express Delivery
This is a fast delivery option (next-day delivery) with in-house customs clearance and an on-time delivery commitment.
UPS provides wholesome international shipping services like customs brokerage and shipment tracking. They are a leading eCommerce shipping solution for handling customs clearance, assisting brands in clearing global regulatory compliance requirements, providing EDI solutions, and updating brands with the latest changes in the Harmonized tariffs.
UPS also has a flagship Women’s Exporter Program that supports women entrepreneurs with key knowledge, shipping tools, and networks through webinars, e-learning courses, and personal advice to help them connect with customers.
FedEx offers the maximum shipping options from the USA to Canada, making it a useful and popular eCommerce shipping solution for USA-based eCommerce brands. FedEx offers customizable shipping services, customs brokerage, and flexible billing.
Based on the estimated delivery times, there are the following shipping methods available:
- For same-day delivery and next-day delivery, there is the FedEx International Next Flight. This is the fastest shipping method FedEx offers. With this, you can deliver parcels whether envelopes or merchandise to most Canadian cities within one business day.
- For a delivery between one and three business days, there are three options: FedEx International First, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International Priority Express. All three options are ideal for delivering both packages and envelopes weighing upto 150lbs. Included here are customs clearance and door-to-door deliveries.
- Delivering freight within one to over six business days has four options: FedEx International Priority Freight and FedEx International Economy freight deliver air freight weighing over 150 lbs. FedEx Freight Priority and FedEx Freight Economy deliver LTL freight weighing over 150 lbs.
- For delivery in three days: FedEx offers the International Connect Plus service for delivering envelopes and packages weighing less than 70 lbs. The services included here are- end-to-end shipment tracking, delivery in the daytime, and multiple pick-up options.
DHL has over 22 fulfillment centers across the USA and offers one of the most reliable shipping services from the USA to Canada. For cross-border shipping from the USA to Canada, DHL offers the following services:
- DHL Parcel International Direct
If you choose this method, your parcel will take between three and ten business days to reach Canada. The maximum weight of your parcel can be 66 lbs with a shipping cost of at best $100 per package. You can also avail yourself of customs clearance and address validation.
- DHL Parcel International Standard
In this method, your parcel would take 4 to 8 business days with the customs clearance feature included. The shipping cost is up to $100 per package for a weight of fewer than 66 lbs. It includes services like shipment tracking, reliable on-time delivery, and postal customs clearance.
- DHL Packet International
This method is suitable for lightweight packages weighing up to 4.4 lbs. The arrival time of the parcel in Canada is between 4 and 8 business days.
For time-sensitive shipping like next-day deliveries, there are three options: Express, Express Worldwide, and Express Envelope. The next-day delivery ranges from 9 a.m. to the end of the day. Each service comes with door-to-door courier delivery, shipment tracking, notifications upon requests, customs clearance, and delivery management facilities.
Purolator is a domestic Canadian shipping company that offers a robust shipping experience from the USA to Canada for over 20 years. The branch service offering eCommerce shipping from the USA to Canada is handled by Purolator International.
Purolator has customized shipping combinations for freight shipping across air, sea, and the ground. Their air freight covers fast deliveries with its extensive network with freight transport every night. They have s strong network of ferries to reach the remotest Canadian region for their sea freight service. Their ground freight service gives you chance to reach 16 million people in cities and remote regions on time.
Purolator mainly has three shipping methods:
- Expedited Freight Forwarding
This has four tiers. First or next day delivery, two-day delivery, 3 days delivery, and 3-5 days delivery.
- Purolator Express courier delivery
This service delivers the next day or between 2 and 5 business days.
- PuroPost Parcel Delivery
It takes 2-8 days to deliver parcels in this option.
eCommerce between Canada and USA is expanding each year. This is why it is important to gather all the necessary information one might need to expand their eCommerce business beyond the borders of the USA to Canada. Having a thorough understanding of customer behaviors, customs, and duties, shipping partners is the first step towards the goal of establishing a sturdy eCommerce shipping practice from the USA to Canada.