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Shipping E-commerce Orders from the US to Canada

It seems like retailers in Canada are dropping like flies lately. This week Target decided to pull out of Canada. Sony, Mexx, Smart Set, Jacob, Holt Renfrew are all shutting down their retail locations. Sears Canada will no doubt not be too far behind either. There are numerous reasons for the failure of each of these companies and the struggles of many others. Two of the major reasons are: Canadians shopping south of the border in person, and Canadians spending more time and money online through e-commerce retailers.

The Challenge

In the past, I have worked with US-based e-commerce retailers that are having issues with the cost of shipping into Canada and their customers are experience delays in receiving their orders. These delays are largely caused by customs clearance issues and from dealing with US-based couriers that outsource their business once it arrives in Canada.

In the past, I have worked with US-based e-commerce retailers that are having issues with the cost of shipping into Canada and their customers are experience delays in receiving their orders. These delays are largely caused by customs clearance issues and from dealing with US-based couriers that outsource their business once it arrives in Canada.

Engineered Logistic Solution

Instead of warehousing all of a US-based e-commerce retailer's SKUs, the best course of action is to warehouse their inventory pertaining to their current orders.The first course of action is setting up a drop-shipping program for this type of customer, going from their US facility right to a Canadian warehouse. The US retailer would be using a Canadian warehouse's Canadian-based courier shipping account to label Canada-bound orders and then consolidate them onto pallets for LTL or FTL shipping to Canada. The key is to prepare a document for customs detailing exactly what is being shipped and attaching all of the HS-codes. Customs treats the consolidated orders as one shipment, and brokerage fees are much lower than applying them to the individual customer shipments.

Depending on the proximity of the US retailer to Canada, the turn-around on this cross-border shipment could be as little as 1 day, meaning as soon as it reaches the Canadian warehouse, it could be staged for pick up by a Canadian-based courier and potentially be at the customers door the following day. The Canadian warehouse would also act as a delivery address for reverse logistics (customer returns).

Value-Add

Not all Canadian warehouses are set-up to offer a flexible approach such as this, due to not having the volume courier discounts or logistics network to make it an advantageous & cost-effective alternative solution for US retailers. Engineering a supply chain solution such as this means that Canadian consumers can now expect almost the same service level and shipping costs as their US counterparts. In addition to this, US-based retailers can dip their toes into the Canadian market, and have the added bonus of having a Canadian distribution center without any of the associated overhead costs. Returns are no longer a logistical nightmare, and product is never unaccounted for.

Benefits

US retailers can enjoy the benefit of doing business in Canada without having an actual physical presence. The indirect benefit is that this becomes an entry point to Canada and for further business expansion opportunity. Canadian consumers can enjoy improved shipping times, and vastly improved shipping costs. These two reductions should generally lead to an increase in Canadian orders.

Is there an e-commerce retailer that takes forever to deliver to you, or the shipping costs make ordering prohibitive? Let me know in the comments section.

 

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