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Best Shipping for Small Business: Top 5 Solution (2024)

Jen Seran
  •  
June 1, 2024


Running a Canadian online store is exciting. But with great products comes the challenge of getting them to your customers efficiently and affordably. This guide will help you explore the best shipping for small business in Canada.

It will help you find the perfect fit for your online empire. Plus, we can discuss factors like cost, speed, and services offered. By the end, you’ll understand the importance of choosing the shipping solutions that keep your customers happy and your business thriving.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 5 top best shipping solutions in Canada you might want to consider: Stallion, Purolator, FedEx Canada, UPS, and Canada Post.

  • The Canadian market has various shipping options suitable to different business needs. Each carrier offers various services, so it’s best to check each to ensure you get the best.

  • Small businesses can use many strategies to reduce shipping costs. You can compare shipping rates or use flat-rate options. Regardless of your decision, it should be in your brand’s best interest.

  • Staying informed about shipping rates and industry trends is essential for small businesses. Knowing these updates can help you decide on your next step to improve your operations.

5 Shipping Solutions For Small Business

You will need the best shipping solutions to ensure you get those products into your customer’s hands in pristine condition. Here are the 5 major carriers in Canada to consider:

1. Stallion

Stallion Express building in Markham

Being a Canada-based shipping company, Stallion understands the struggles of Canadian online sellers. That being said, here’s a closer look at what they offer:

Services

  • Domestic Shipping. Stallion offers the cheapest shipping within Canada, from Vancouver to Montreal. While the transit time depends on the location and season, the expected arrival time (ETA) usually takes 2-8 business days. This service comes with a complimentary tracking option.

  • US Shipping. With Stallion’s US shipping option, you can compete with US sellers. They offer discounted rates on US shipping, helping you reduce cross-border shipping expenses. This can help you broaden your reach and expand your customer base.

  • International Shipping. Stallion partners with APC and PostNL to help you bring your business onto a global scale.

  • Amazon FBA. If you’re taking advantage of selling in Amazon USA, Stallion can help you bring your items to the Amazon US warehouse at an affordable shipping price.

  • Returns. Let’s say customers don’t like your package and want to return them to you. Stallion can help process back to you. However, this service is only applicable to domestic and US shipping only. Additionally, they only process the return for packages shipped through Stallion.

Additional Features

  • ECommerce Integrations. Stallion offers a platform for retailers to connect their online stores to their systems. It helps you manage your orders, print shipping labels, and check inventory without moving from one page to another.

  • Packaging Supplies. You can also buy packing materials from Stallion. They offer items such as bubble wrap, Kraft bubble mailers, and thermal labels.

  • Stallion Protection. It is an in-house package protection plan for added peace of mind. Note that this feature only applies to packages shipped through Stallion.

  • Tracking and Visibility. Stallion offers tracked and non-tracked options for every shipment. However, you can easily track the shipment’s progress using their tracking system.

  • Online Shipping Calculator. With Stallion’s online tools, shippers can easily see comparison rates from partner couriers.

2. Purolator

Purolator delivery truck

Purolator is a Canadian courier company that provides various shipping and logistics solutions.

Services

  • Express. They have next-day and expedited delivery options within Canada and the US. These services are perfect for urgent and time-sensitive shipments.

  • Ground. Purolator provides affordable ground transportation options for less urgent shipments. It is suitable for sending documents and non-perishable goods.

  • Freight. This service caters to larger items through freight shipping and less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL).

  • Air Freight. If you want to send large items at incredible speed, Purolator can also help you. It handles urgent international shipments through air freight services.

  • International. Take advantage of delivery solutions for imports and exports. You can ensure seamless customs clearance and international deliveries.

  • Logistics & Supply Chain Solutions. Provides customized logistics and supply chain management services to businesses, helping them optimize their operations.

Additional Features

  • 24/7 customer support. Ensures you can get help whenever you need it.

  • Online tracking and shipment management. It allows you to track your packages and manage your shipments online conveniently.

  • Packing and shipping supplies. Provides a variety of packing and shipping supplies to keep your items safe during transport.

  • Customs clearance services. Simplifies the process of importing and exporting goods by handling customs clearance procedures.

  • Delivery guarantee options. Offers options for guaranteed delivery times, even on weekends, for added peace of mind.

  • Sustainable delivery practices. Works towards reducing their environmental impact through sustainable delivery practices.

3. UPS

UPS warehouse

UPS Canada caters specifically to the Canadian market. It offers many shipping and logistics solutions tailored to Canadian businesses and individuals.

Services

  • Domestic Shipping. Similar to UPS’s US offerings, UPS Canada provides various domestic shipping options within Canada. This includes express deliveries, ground transportation, and specialized services.

  • International Shipping. Shippers can leverage UPS’s global network for import and export deliveries between Canada and other countries. UPS Canada assists with customs clearance, simplifying the process for international shipments.

  • Supply Chain Solutions. UPS Canada offers logistics and supply chain management solutions designed for Canadian businesses. These solutions can help optimize inventory management, distribution networks, and overall supply chain efficiency.

Additional Features

  • Focus on the Canadian Market. It has expertise in Canadian domestic and cross-border regulations.

  • Bilingual Support. Reflecting Canada’s bilingual nature, UPS Canada offers customer service and support in both English and French.

  • Integration with Canadian Systems. UPS Canada likely provides seamless integration with Canadian customs clearance procedures and other relevant systems, streamlining the shipping process.

  • Value-added Services. Similar to UPS’s core offerings, including delivery confirmation, tracking, signature options, holding packages at locations, and Cash on Delivery (COD).

4. Canada Post

Canada Post delivery trucks

Canada Post, the national postal service of Canada, offers various mailing and shipping services for individuals and businesses alike.

Services

  • Domestic Mail & Parcels. This includes regular mail for non-urgent items, expedited options like Xpresspost for faster delivery, and Priority™ for guaranteed delivery times within specific timeframes.

  • International Shipping. Offers solutions for sending mail and parcels to various countries around the world. They handle customs clearance for most destinations, simplifying the international shipping process.

  • Pickup Services. They provide convenient pickup options for parcels at your doorstep or through scheduled business pickups.

  • Postal Boxes. Offers secure post office boxes for receiving mail and packages.

  • Specialized Services. You can choose additional services that fit your needs, such as signature confirmation and CODs.

Additional Features

  • Widespread Network. Leverages an extensive network of post offices, postal stations, and community mailboxes across Canada for convenient access.

  • Self-Serve Options. Use online tools for postage purchases, label printing, shipment tracking, and managing mail holds or forwarding while away.

  • Mobile App. Offers a mobile app for managing shipments, tracking packages, finding locations, and holding mail on the go.

  • Flexible Payment Options. Accepts various payment methods for postage and services, including stamps, online payments, and debit/credit cards.

  • Focus on Sustainability. Canada Post has initiatives to reduce its environmental impact through ongoing efforts to minimize emissions and utilize sustainable practices.

5. FedEx

FedEx package

FedEx has shipping solutions designed to meet the needs of Canadian businesses and individuals.

Services

  • Domestic Shipping. FedEx Canada provides various options for expedited and ground transportation within Canada.
    • FedEx Express. This is perfect for urgent shipments. It has various service levels to fit your specific needs and budget.
    • FedEx Ground. You also have a cost-effective option with ground transportation. This is perfect if you have less time-sensitive shipments.

  • International Shipping. FedEx Canada can also ship overseas if you plan to expand your business overseas. Being one of the largest shipping companies worldwide, they have the network to facilitate import and export services. They can deliver to over 220 countries and territories. Plus, they can assist with customs clearance to make the process faster.

  • Freight Shipping. With larger shipments, you can use freight shipping. They offer LTL and TL freight.

Additional Features

  • Online Shipping Tools. FedEx Canada offers user-friendly online tools.

  • Pickup and Delivery Options. It provides flexibility for how you get your packages shipped.

  • Additional Service Options. Enhance your shipping experience with various add-on options.

  • Money-Back Guarantee. Provides peace of mind on certain FedEx Express services with money-back guarantees for on-time delivery (subject to terms and conditions).

Tips On How To Get The Best Shipping Rates For Small Business

Here are some tips to help you get the best shipping rates for your small business in Canada:

1. Compare Shipping Costs

two men standing on coin stalks

Don’t just stick with one carrier! There are many shipping options in Canada. So, the best shipping strategy is to explore as much as possible. Take advantage of online shipping tools or platforms like Stallion that allow you to compare rates. This quick comparison can reduce shipping costs and help you offer free shipping to customers occasionally.

2. Negotiate For Shipping Discounts

woman talking on the phone while writing in a paper

As your business grows, your shipping volume also increases. This might sound daunting, but negotiating discounted shipping rates with carriers is an excellent time. If this time comes, don’t hesitate to approach the shipping company and discuss your business needs. Remember to highlight your projected shipping volume to make you an attractive customer for them.

3. Use Flat-Rate Shipping Options

shipping boxes with a calculator

Explore flat-rate shipping options if you have items with consistent weight and dimensions. These options significantly reduce shipping expenses, especially for lighter items. Note that the flat rate is lower than the calculated rate based on weight and distance.

4. Choose The Right Size Packaging

two hands holding a box on blue background

Every gram counts! Use packaging materials that are right-sized for your products. This minimizes the dimensional weight. Some carriers charge a sneaky fee based on the package size rather than just actual weight alone.

Imagine sending one single shirt and putting it in a large box. Of course, it’ll take up so much space that there’ll be none left for other packages. To make up for the loss, carriers will calculate the area that the parcel used.

Thus, to avoid this, use the correct packaging for each item. It should not be too tight because it’ll damage the items inside when transported. If it’s too loose, you’ll pay more. Additionally, consider lightweight packing materials like air pillows or bubble wrap instead of heavy-packing peanuts.

5. Strategize Free Shipping Incentives

delivery man holding a free shipping box

As mentioned earlier, you can easily offer free shipping to customers with the right shipping partner. Note that free shipping is a powerful incentive for customers. However, it can eat into your profits without the correct shipping strategy.

Consider offering free shipping only for orders above a certain minimum purchase value. This encourages customers to spend more to qualify for free shipping, offsetting the cost you incur.

6. Offer Local Delivery Or Pickup

Explore local delivery or pickup options depending on your location and customer base. This can be a cost-effective solution for customers nearby and a convenient perk for them.

7. Print Shipping Labels In Bulk

attaching priority mail tag on a shipping box

Bulk label printing doesn’t directly affect rates. However, the software used for bulk printing often allows you to compare rates across carriers. This quick comparison enables small businesses to pre-negotiate discounts with carriers for higher shipping volumes. This can lead to significant cost savings, potentially lowering per-shipment costs.

8. Consider International Shipping Services

small boxes with a toy airplane

International shipping is costly. However, offering it can unlock better rates for small businesses in 2 ways:

  1. Negotiation Power. Carriers value high-volume customers. Combining domestic and international shipments increases your total shipping volume. As a result, it gives you more leverage to negotiate discounted rates with all carriers, including domestic ones.

  2. Specialized Services. Carriers offer international shipping programs with lower rates than standard options. Exploring these programs allows you to find affordable ways to reach customers abroad without sacrificing profit margins.

9. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Supplies

cardboards and wrapping materials

Free shipping supplies (boxes, envelopes) from carriers can indirectly improve rates. Here’s the catch:

While free, your products might be in better sizes. Using oversized boxes leads to “dimensional weight” charges based on size, not just weight. This can inflate your shipping costs. The best approach? Invest in a few key, well-sized boxes to minimize dimensional weight and maximize savings, even if it means a small upfront cost.

10. Stay Up-To-Date on Shipping Rates

man writing on a tablet in front of the laptop

Shipping rates fluctuate! It’s like finding secret discounts – just by being in the know. Staying informed is critical to finding the best deals for your small business. Here’s how:

  • Check carrier websites. Check for rate changes and special offers.

  • Sign up for carrier alerts. Get notified of price adjustments and promotions.

  • Use shipping comparison tools. Stay updated on real-time rates from different carriers.

Final Thoughts

In eCommerce’s exciting but fast-paced world, finding the best shipping for your small business is crucial. By considering the tips explored here, you can become a shipping master! Compare rates, negotiate with carriers, and embrace strategic packaging.

Remember, free shipping supplies might come at a hidden cost, and staying informed on rate fluctuations is critical. With some planning and the right partner, you can ensure your products reach customers efficiently and affordably, keeping your business thriving and your customers clicking “add to cart” confidently.

If you still need to choose your partner, why not select Stallion for the lowest rates yet fastest shipping?

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

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