While problems and slight hiccups are inevitable in any industry, it doesn't mean you shouldn't do your part to help prevent or resolve these issues.
The shipping and logistics industry is no exception because, even though rare, there are common challenges that many shipping providers and carriers experience. This article might pique your interest if you are an eCommerce business owner wanting to expand their business venture across the border.
Let's discuss the importance of cross-border shipping for your business, the common eCommerce fulfillment issues you may encounter, and how to resolve them.
Importance of US Shipping to Canadian Businesses
Since the United States and Canada share the world's largest bilateral trade relationship, with vast amounts of products and services pouring across the border, US shipping plays a significant role in many Canadian businesses' operations.
They can unlock significant opportunities for expansion, brand recognition, and long-term success.
Expanding Market Reach
The United States has a large consumer market with high purchasing power, which Canadian sellers can leverage. With a massive consumer market of 331 million people, Canadian businesses can develop their customer base by relying on efficient shipping solutions to the United States.
As you access this customer base, your business can broaden customer demographics, reach niche markets, maximize brand perceptions, explore eCommerce opportunities, and take advantage of efficient cross-border shipping.
Ultimately, your business can significantly expand and grasp new growth opportunities by entering the US market.
Streamlining Supply Chains
Since international shipping to the United States is more complicated than just shipping within Canada, streamlining the supply chain can improve processes, enhance coordination, and shorten lead times. The cross-border shipping operations improve efficiency and order fulfillment while reducing idle time.
The automated system allows businesses to send the package to its destination faster and respond to market demands with greater agility, resulting in better service efficiency, sales, customer satisfaction, and higher profitability.
Growing eCommerce Opportunities
While Canada has a growing eCommerce industry, cross-border shipping to the United States offers a combination of a larger population, more substantial purchasing power, an established eCommerce ecosystem, technological advancements, and a mature market, providing a more comprehensive range and depth of eCommerce options.
The United States also attracts substantial investments in eCommerce and nurtures an innovative culture. This investment and innovation create new technologies, platforms, and business models, improving eCommerce. As a result, it creates new opportunities for Canadian brands and businesses to leverage cutting-edge solutions and remain at the forefront of the industry.
Moreover, the robust technological infrastructure, including advanced logistics networks, supports eCommerce growth. It makes it easier for businesses to operate and give customers smooth online purchasing experiences.
Gaining Competetive Edge
One of the competitive edges that Canadian sellers have over local businesses is the unique products or access to specific goods that are not readily available in the United States. This product differentiation helps Canadian companies stand out and attract American customers while moving out from the growing population of the Canadian eCommerce industry.
Moreover, the US market often associates Canadian products and brands with high quality, reliability, and safety. This favourable reputation might give Canadian sellers like you a competitive advantage in the US, as American consumers may respect and trust Canadian-made products.
Leveraging Trade Agreements
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) provides preferential treatment for many goods traded between Canada and the United States. Canadian sellers can benefit from reduced or eliminated tariffs on qualifying products, making their goods more competitive in the US market.
You can maximize this advantage by understanding the agreement's specific tariff provisions to price your products more attractively, gaining a pricing advantage over sellers from non-member countries.
Not to mention, Canadian sellers will have more accessible and faster customs clearance when shipping products to the United States. As you comply with the USMCA's rules of origin and documentation requirements, you can reduce delays and transfer goods across the border more effectively.
5 Common eCommerce Fulfillment Issues For International Shipping
Expensive Shipping Costs
An expensive shipping rate is one of the most common reasons customers do not proceed to check out the items in their carts.
Although Canada and the United States are relatively closer to each other, transportation and logistics costs can still contribute to increased shipping fees. The fuel prices, transportation infrastructure, handling fees, and carrier rates can vary and affect the shipping costs.
Additionally, shipping services vary in speed, tracking capabilities, and customer support. The availability of expedited shipping services or premium delivery can come at higher expenses than standard shipping options. These factors can also influence the overall shipping costs.
It can affect your business because your target audience will choose local competitors instead to save on shipping fees, regardless of how good your products are.
How to solve this?
The only way to resolve this is to be mindful of which shipping company to partner with your eCommerce business. Thus, it would help if you researched the shipping providers and how they can satisfy your shipping needs.
Research Shipping Providers. Of course, customers will consider your brand when you get a carrier that offers cheap shipping rates. It should be the first factor you must consider. Explore shipping companies, such as major carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx) and local couriers. You can also check the local post office to expand your selections. Compare their shipping services, rates, and options to find the most cost-effective solution for your specific shipping needs.
Optimize Packaging. You can reduce the shipping costs by using efficient packaging. Select packaging materials that will protect your items while minimizing weight and size. Avoid excessive packaging materials, which add unnecessary weight and raise shipping costs. Improve your packaging procedure to ensure precise dimensions and weight measurements, which might affect shipping costs.
Using these strategies and continuously optimizing your shipping procedures can resolve the issues regarding expensive cross-border shipping costs. It will improve your competitiveness and profitability in the US market. Plus, you can cover the shipping costs sometimes and provide free shipping on special occasions to attract more customers across the border.
Slow Shipping Services
Shipping between Canada and the United States involves crossing the international border. Border inspections, security checks, and other administrative procedures can introduce additional time to cross-border shipments.
Additionally, inaccurate or incomplete shipping documents can lead to delays. Improperly filed customs forms, missing information, or erroneous item descriptions may lead to additional inspection or explanation from customs authorities, causing customs clearance delays.
Another reason why customers abandon their online carts is due to slow shipping or delivery speeds. Multiple reasons, such as peak season and weather conditions, affect the delivery time.
While this is out of your control, this situation will still negatively affect your business. So it would be best to consider how long it would take to complete the cross-border shipping.
How to solve this?
Always remember to research the standard delivery time of the potential shipping partner before doing business with them. You can also ask them how well they can manage the shipments on occasions when the volume of shipments tremendously increases. They also carry your brand, so questions like these are crucial in ensuring your business wouldn't be affected.
On a side note, you can use techniques to alleviate difficult situations you cannot 100% avoid, like taking advantage of shipping calendars. With the help of this tool, you can plan your shipping schedules and inform your customers when you will ship the package. It will let them know when to expect their parcels to arrive.
Additionally, you can also have an email blast if something happens that may have caused the delivery speed to slow down.
Limited Shipping Locations
While the only thing that separates these two nations is the border, some carriers do not ship to multiple parts of the United States. A shipping service may have limited coverage areas and operational capabilities because some carriers prioritize locations with higher shipping volumes and demand.
They often focus their efforts in locations with higher population densities and business concentrations. Since these places have larger customer bases and higher freight volumes, carriers find them more economically viable. As a result, shipping options are limited to less populated locations or distant places.
How to solve this?
You might think this issue is out of your control, but you can do some ways to surpass it.
Consider partnering with multiple carriers to expand your shipping options to access a broader range of shipping destinations and services. It allows you to adjust your shipping approach to the unique needs of your cross-border shipments.
You can also explore regional or local shipping providers with a more substantial presence in the areas you wish to ship to. Regional carriers commonly have wider coverage in specific regions or states, giving you more shipping options in such locations.
On the other hand, you can also take advantage of fulfillment centers like Amazon FBA to ship your products domestically from within the United States. You can leverage local carriers and minimize freight constraints, which can be beneficial if you have large order volumes or want to develop a consumer base in specific areas.
Lost or Damaged Goods During Transit
Although carriers ship and deliver your products to your members, a lost or damaged package during transit will still ruin the brand's reputation. However, that's not the only thing you should be worried about.
Lost or damaged goods lead to financial loss for the seller. Not only do they lose the product value, but they are also accountable for refunding the customer or replacing the item, affecting the business's profitability. It also may lead to higher return rates, adding to your business's administrative burden and logistics costs. Handling returns can involve additional shipping expenses and potential inventory write-offs.
How to solve this?
To avoid problems like this, read customer reviews of the courier's reputation in handling items and any shipping from Canada shipments. Choose reputable shipping carriers with a positive track record.
Remember to keep your product properly packed to withstand the shipping process, and use appropriate packing materials to protect items from damage during transit.
Lastly, do not forget to purchase a package protection plan to protect the ship against loss or damage. However, remember to evaluate the options offered before deciding. Understand the coverage limitations, deductibles, and claims procedures to ensure you have adequate protection for your shipments.
Stressful Return Policy
A returns policy is essential because it makes the customers feel at ease knowing they can buy and return products they cannot use. However, some shipping companies have a stressful process of returns, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
A complicated, time-consuming, or unclear returns process can frustrate customers needing to return or exchange products. This discontent can lead to unfavourable reviews, decreased client loyalty, and potential reputation damage for the seller.
How to solve this?
As a Canadian seller, you can also implement a customer-centric returns policy to improve customer satisfaction, preserve positive relationships, and lessen the negative impact of a stressful returns process on your business.
You can escape this problem by reading the returns policy before partnering with the carrier. Feel free to ask relevant questions to ensure you understand the process. They can offer flexible return options to cater to different client preferences, including in-person drop-off at designated locations, carrier pickups, or local carrier facilities.
A reliable shipping partner offering streamlined returns handling services can provide you with the tools and systems to efficiently process return shipments. This includes generating return shipping labels, tracking packages, and managing the entire returns workflow.
Moreover, some shipping partners even provide returns portal integration, allowing you to conveniently set up and manage returns directly on your platform.
We will process everything for you once you drop off the package, including customs clearance.
How Does Shipping From Canada to US Work?
Stallion is exclusive to its account users. Create an account, and remember to use a valid email address. Once+ you complete the registration form (ensure to put accurate details), you will receive a verification email to verify your Stallion account. All you need to do is click the link redirecting you to your dashboard.
If you're ready to ship the parcel, select the CREATE SHIPMENT button on your dashboard's upper left side. You'll need to fill out the shipment form correctly to avoid any issues with customs.
Note: Stallion fully complies with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regulations, so you must ensure you don't sell and ship products under the prohibited goods list. If you go against them, it might lead to legal issues and sanctions.
After putting the product descriptions, including the package measurements, you will know the shipping fees, delivery time, and all the details in the cross-border shipment.
After you pay, you can drop off the parcel at the nearest Stallion branch. However, you can also opt for a pickup service. Stallion offers a complimentary pickup option if you reach a certain number of shipments daily or weekly within the Greater Toronto, Greater Vancouver, and Montreal areas. Meanwhile, if the number of your shipments didn't meet the criteria or you are located outside GTA, you can still book a pickup via UPS for a small additional fee.
Cheap Shipping From Canada to the US with Stallion
With our shipping rate, you can compete with US-based sellers and competitors, allowing your target audience to choose your brand across the border.
While the prices depend on the package's weight and dimensions, the recipient's location, the chosen shipping service, and applicable tax and duty, you can still guarantee that Stallion offers the cheapest rates in the industry.
A package to New York weighing 4oz will only cost you CAD 4.39, which is about 75% cheaper than the national carrier. Another example is shipping a package to the same destination weighing 15oz. Unlike the national carrier that will charge you CAD 19.72, you only need to pay CAD 7.62 with Stallion.
Know More About Us!
Stallion Express also offers domestic and international shipping! We are partnered with Canada Post and UPS for our domestic shipping. Meanwhile, APC and PostNL are our partner couriers for international shipping.
Would you like to see other related posts and learn more eCommerce tips? You can check our Blog Page to read different topics on improving your brand and business.
Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.
Aman looks after the content marketing department at Stallion Express. He is passionate about helping businesses grow by providing informative and up-to-date trends in the eCommerce industry. Outside the office, you can find him on the soccer field cheering on Real Madrid.
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