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How to Find Affordable International Shipping in Canada

Diana Zheng
June 28, 2021

Did you know a well-planned shipping strategy can be one of your killer marketing tactics? Customers will sing praises about your high-quality products and fast and reliable shipping. Such is the power of word of mouth, an authentic, no-nonsense and free form of advertisement. All that thanks to your 360-degree marketing strategy.

But where can you find affordable international shipping in Canada? Don’t worry because we’re here to help you. Read on.

Best way to ship packages internationally

Choosing a partner carrier is only one part of your shipping strategy. If you want to achieve the best way to ship packages internationally, you should cover each aspect below.

Shipping Strategy

Is shipping from the USA to Canada considered international? Yes, hence the importance of having a shipping strategy. Your shipping strategy is your key to increase conversions, reduce costs and scale your business. For this to happen, here are the shipping methods you can employ in your e-commerce business.

  • Live rates are direct, real-time costs from your chosen carrier. You can be sure you’re getting up-to-date rates, which means your customers will receive the shipping price live as well. However, you can’t use this as a promotional tool, especially in a sprawling country like Canada.
  • Flat rates are a fixed amount that you will charge for your orders regardless of the product’s weight and dimension, destination and value. It is straightforward, and customers don’t have to second-guess how much they have to pay. The downside: when the shipping fee is higher than the cost of a small package, it can discourage customers from buying.
  • Table rates offer a flexible way to calculate shipping rates based on weight, destination, product price and quantity. You can define the rules and set the rates. It is also convenient for customers since they can view your rates in a tabular form. However, you must have sufficient experience in shipping to apply this strategy because of its complexity.
  • Free shipping is the most popular shipping strategy among buyers. Therefore, it can be a great promotional strategy. However, it has a dirty secret: free shipping is never really free because you’re the one paying for it. Ouch.

Dimensional weight of the package

Dimensional (DIM) weight is the most common basis of delivery service companies when they charge for shipment. You can calculate it by multiplying the length, weight and height of the package and then dividing it by a dimensional factor (DIM divisor).  

Make sure that you measure your product correctly to avoid additional costs due to the wrong DIM weight. Remember: commercial carriers charge whichever is greater than the DIM weight.


This aspect is one of the reasons we’re saying that shipping could be a marketing tactic. You can use a great packaging design to impress customers and customize it to create an unboxing experience. You can also attach a thank-you note where you can request the customer to share a photo of it on social media. 

Insurance and tracking

Insurance and tracking offer protection while your items are on their way to the customer. They will cover the loss of or damage to your package, particularly if it contains heavy or fragile items. You can get these from your chosen carrier.

Fulfillment warehouse

If you want to make international shipping affordable for your customers, then you must consider this aspect. A fulfillment warehouse is where you pick, pack and ship your customers’ orders. 

You can have fulfillment warehouses in countries where you offer your products. If you keep your consignment close to home, you can set realistic delivery times and rates for your customers. But first, analyze and determine which countries frequently visit your online store so that you can put up warehouses strategically. 

Best price for international shipping

Besides the value of your product and the factors mentioned above, you must also consider the best price for international shipping if you’re offering your product abroad. Here are other costs to add to your budget.

  • Packaging should be sturdy but uncomplicated. It must be affordable as well, so start looking for deals or carriers who offer free boxes. 
  • The cost of shipping depends on the product’s weight or its delivery time.

Product’s weight

For packages under 3 lb, you may choose USPS to ship your orders to Canada. When it reaches Canada’s borders, USPS usually entrusts the final leg of the delivery to Canada Post. If the package weighs more than 3 lb, you may try either FedEx or UPS.

Delivery time

Here you have two options: economy international shipping vs. standard international shipping. Which one should you choose?

In economy international shipping, the prices are lower when you ship packages in bulk. It is perfect for non-urgent packages or if you want to replenish your stock in advance. USPS, DHL, UPS and FedEx offer economy international shipping.

On the other hand, standard international shipping or expedited carrier services are more expensive than the economy rate, and you can’t deliver items in bulk. However, it is the quicker and more reliable option between the two. Moreover, you can also track your packages while they’re in transit.

  • The handling charge is the cost of preparing and packaging an order. This cost is separate from the order subtotal and shipping fees. Handling charges cover the labour costs of fulfillment, including packing, shipment and warehouse storage costs.
  • You should also consider duties and taxes. You must be knowledgeable about each country’s customs and duties because they will affect your shipping goal.

Besides these, you must take note of the credit card fee and your profit margin. Add these all up to calculate the international shipping fee, and then sum it up with the product cost to determine the best price you can get for international shipping.

Total price = Product cost + International shipping fee

3 ways to save on international shipping

Of course, we won’t end this article without telling you how to actually save on international shipping. Here are our top three tips. 

  1. Research various courier companies. Do your homework and find the shipping options available online. Compare each carrier and determine which one you can afford. 

Moreover, take this question into account: how long does standard international shipping take from the USA to Canada? It differs from carrier to carrier. For starters, you can try APC Postal Logistics, PostNL and USPS International. Usually, it takes from 6 to 21 business days, so choose wisely.

  1. Choose a shipping solution that can automate your fulfillment operations. A shipping solution has software that you can integrate directly into your e-commerce website or marketplace. You can use it to manage your orders, find the best international shipping price and print labels.
  1. Opt for sustainable packaging. Why? According to BNN Bloomberg Canada, Canadian consumers and businesses are starting to become more eco-conscious. Moreover, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a ban on single-use plastics starting early 2021. It is also time for your business to follow this zero-waste movement for the sake of our dying planet.

In closing

Affordable international shipping isn’t a fixed amount that you can adjust as you please to save money. You have to consider several factors, such as the shipping strategy, DIM weight, packaging, cost of insurance and tracking and warehouse fee. You must also be aware of Canada’s customs regulations to avoid costly returns and legal implications. Lastly, future-proof your international shipping strategy with sustainable packaging to gain lots of likes from your customers and save the environment, too. 

Are you on the lookout for an affordable international shipping solution in Canada? Stallion Express offers international shipping that you can customize based on your business needs. For inquiries, you can call +1 877-863-7447 or email us at [email protected].

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

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