Canada may not have the population of the United States, but it is an even larger landmass. Population centers are typically spaced out across the country from coast to coast. This can make shipping across Canada challenging, but the Canadian eCommerce market is too large and fruitful to ignore. As an eCommerce vendor, it is important to understand the logistics behind shipping to customers across Canada in order to do it as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. In this article, we will help you do just that.
Take a moment and think about the sheer scope of the Canadian eCommerce marketplace. In 2019, of the just over 37 million people who live in Canada, over 28 million of them made purchases online. You heard that right. Nearly all Canadians make purchases online. According to Statista, retail eCommerce sales in Canada are projected to increase to 40.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2025. The sprawling population of Canada makes it a fertile country for eCommerce expansion. Strict Canadian COVID-19 retail regulations have only added fuel to the fire. We can expect even more Canadians to shop online as the pandemic continues.
Ship Your Products From Canada to Canada
There are numerous cutting-edge eCommerce order fulfillment operations across Canada. Companies like InterFulfillment specialize in eCommerce and understand the landscape better than anyone. If you have shipped products from another country into Canada you have already experienced the baggage that comes with it. For one, Canada is an expensive country to ship from foreign countries. Due to the sheer size of Canada carriers often need to hand off parcels to logistics partners to get them where they need to go. You heard that right. If you are shipping your product from the USA to Canada with USPS, your parcel will be passed along to Canada Post as soon as it enters Canada. This can not only cause delays that result in unhappy customers, but it can also make tracking the order from point A to point B a challenge.
Next, you have customs and duties. Shipping your Canadian orders from outside of Canada means they will need to be brokered in. This means that your customers may be subject to additional duties and taxes that must be paid in order to receive the product. These fees often come as a surprise to the consumer and result in them returning to sender and requesting refunds. This is a logistics nightmare that is very real, and could easily result in negative feedback and lost sales. The customer will then re-order similar products that are available to ship from Canada to Canada. Shipping Canadian orders from Canada means better rates, lower shipping times, and no duties or taxes being charged to your customer.
Understand Available Carriers and Shipping Services
Numerous carriers and services are available to ship orders across Canada, but they are far from equal. Some carriers and services are inferior but can cost as much as double and triple others. Imagine offering shipping rates to a customer in Canada that seem normal to you, but absurd to them. The result is they will not place an order. The result is lost revenue. That is a reality if you do not fully understand the carrier marketplace in Canada. The bright side is, that Canadians are typically very savvy when it comes to paying shipping fees. They are accustomed to it. But the typical Canadian consumer also understands how much shipping they should be paying as well.
Aside from USPS, Royal Mail, and other national shipping services most major carriers ship to and from Canada to Canada. Orders shipped USPS and Royal Mail are handed off to Canada Post. This begs the question, why not just ship with Canada Post, to begin with? Well to do that, you need to have an order fulfillment partner and inventory in Canada. Once you do, you will be able to ship using Canada Post to Canadian customers, saving time and money and ensuring your Canadian customers are happy and singing your praises. You are not just limited to Canada Post either. Other carriers offer comparable rates for you to ship your products from Canada worldwide.
Choose a Fulfillment Center in Ontario
The most logical and centralized location for a fulfillment operation in Canada is the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) in the province of Ontario. This is because of the sheer population density in eCommerce activity in Toronto. Also because it makes shipping to other provinces such as Quebec which has another large city in Montreal and serves as a gateway to the maritime provinces on the east coast. Also offering good proximity to western population centers such as Calgary, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
InterFulfillment has 3 full-service facilities with over 100,000 square feet of storage located in the GTA. That is the type of fulfillment partner you should explore if you are looking to expand into the Canadian marketplace and serve your Canadian customers the right way. Choosing an order fulfillment partner too far on the west coast or too far on the east coast will make shipping across Canada more costly and will increase shipping time. This is important to keep in mind when choosing a 3PL Canada company to pick, pack and ship your orders to your customers.
Explore Multiple Facility Order Fulfillment
Once you have enough sales in Canada, deploying orders from fulfillment operations that have facilities in Toronto and Vancouver may be worthwhile exploring. Sure there are more logistics and costs to consider when using multiple facilities to ship orders in Canada, but it makes sense, particularly for larger products with a lot of order activity. The reduction of shipping costs will indeed offset any costs associated with this type of expansion. Companies like InterFulfillment offer order fulfillment solutions mainly from Toronto, Ontario, but for customers that have businesses with order volume and product types that would benefit from a west coast facility, also offer order fulfillment from Vancouver, British Columbia.
Essentially what this means is that if customers who live in or are closer to Vancouver place an order, the order will be deployed to them from the Vancouver facility. And if a customer places an order that lives closer to Toronto, the order will be fulfilled from the Toronto facility. For a large enough company and product, this can result in massive savings in carrier costs and an incredible reduction in shipping time. Saving money and making customers happy is always worth exploring.
The eCommerce Canadian marketplace is booming. It is ripe for business expansion. But you will never be able to succeed without understanding the logistics. Hopefully, this information helps you get started in understanding the opportunity and challenges that need to be factored in. If you feel you are ready for Canadian expansion and want to service Canadian customers the right way, you are invited to reach out to InterFulfillment and request an order fulfillment quote (it’s quick and easy). The information shared will no doubt prove to be valuable to you while planning your next steps in the Canadian market and will help ensure your success.