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How International Shipping from Canada Works: The Ultimate 2021 Guide

Nicasio Co III
  •  
  •  
May 3, 2021

Purchasing from another country has been made easier with international shipping. At a time when the e-commerce industry is booming, the need for a fast and reliable shipping service becomes more pronounced. Add to that how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to stay inside the sanctuary of our homes. Instead of going out to purchase a gift or go to the grocery, ordering online has become the new norm.

If you’re still not shipping internationally, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Statista estimates that there will be over 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021. Moreover, the global parcel shipping volume is expected to rise to 262 billion in 2026. 

Starting your e-commerce journey does not mean sticking to one place. Tapping into the international market is a great business opportunity, and you have to expand your reach to earn more income. So if you’re a business-minded person who wants to scale your business or a newbie who wants to target the international market, read this guide.

Getting Started with International shipping

Expanding beyond your borders is a huge step for your business. It entails providing your customers with the best online experience, which is a determining factor of whether your business will succeed or not. Luckily, Amazon has made it easy for sellers to ship internationally with Amazon Global Selling

Amazon Global Selling allows you to sell your products worldwide. Its goal is to increase your revenue and simplify your customers’ shopping experience. Currently, you can sell your products at 16 Amazon marketplaces. 

Europe

  • Amazon.co.uk
  • Amazon.de
  • Amazon.fr
  • Amazon.it
  • Amazon.es
  • Amazon.nl

Asia-Pacific

  • Amazon.co.jp
  • Amazon.in
  • Amazon.com.au
  • Amazon.sg

Middle East

  • Amazon.ae
  • Amazon.com.tr

Americas

  • Amazon.com
  • Amazon.ca
  • Amazon.com.mx
  • Amazon.com.br

Amazon Global Selling is a wildly successful program, with over 2.2 million third-party sellers worldwide. Cross-border shipments also account for a quarter of sellers' sales. So if you want to start shipping internationally, get started with this program. 

Importance of International Shipping

E-commerce shipping is important for a business to grow and expand its reach. It can make or break your relationship with your customers. You might offer your customers the best products, but they wouldn’t know that until the product has been shipped to them. 

If a customer receives a damaged product, it will reflect badly on you. Hence, picking a reliable courier for your international shipping needs is a must. Here at Stallion Express, we offer the best shipping service for an affordable price. 

Advantages of International Shipping

There are a number of reasons why you should try international shipping. 

First, you can broaden your customer reach. Customers will love to buy from your shop if you offer a product that isn’t available in their country. They’ll love you all the more if your products produce excellent results and you ship them on time.

Second, you can increase your sales. When you have reached new customers, you will have the chance to enter a new market and grow your business. You can boost your sales especially during the holiday season since people celebrate many holidays globally. 

Third, selling internationally through Amazon helps in reducing your brand building costs. When customers hear about Amazon, they will instantly recognize the name. You won’t have to worry about building your brand from scratch.  

Disadvantages of Shipping Internationally

There are a few disadvantages when shipping internationally. For one, you have to compete with local and overseas sellers. Second, customer reviews don’t appear in all marketplaces. For example, a four-star rating from a US buyer won’t appear in the UK marketplace. Lastly, you will have to contend with the difference in culture and language. You have to match your marketing with the culture of your target country for your products to resonate with them.

How to Start Shipping Packages Internationally Using Amazon?

If you wish to use Amazon to ship packages internationally, we can help you. Below are the steps you need to follow.  

  1. Learn the basics.

Selling on Amazon requires knowing the rules on taxes, seller identification verification and product eligibility of the destination country. 

  • Taxes 

If you plan on selling in the European Union, registering for the consumer spending tax or VAT is a must. It’s best to know about this to avoid problems in the future. Fortunately, there is the Amazon Service Provider Network. There, you can connect with service providers who can manage your VAT requirements for you.

  • Seller Identity Verification

After registering your account on Amazon, they will conduct a Seller Identity Verification. As part of European regulation, Know Your Customer (KYC) verification is also conducted once you reach EUR 15,000 in sales.

  • Japanese laws

If you plan on selling in Japan, you need to comply with its laws. In particular, the “Act on Specified Commercial Transaction” requires that you disclose your business information on your seller profile page. You will also need to maintain a local business address for customer returns.

  1. Create an Amazon strategy.

Before you start shipping, you need to create an Amazon strategy that will help you navigate international shipping. Some of the things you need to look into include the location, the products you will be shipping and the policies of your target country. 

  • Location

First, let’s talk about the location. You need to know where in the world you want your products sold. If you’re unsure where you should expand first, you can start by keeping the shipment close to home. Starting small and close allows you to test how expanding your shipment works. 

Another way to start looking for a location is tracking the shop’s current demand. Analyze your shop’s market and trends. Check where in the world you get the most traffic. Look for repeat visits, in particular, because they can point you to the people who are showing interest in your products. 

Third, consider the main languages of the country where you wish to expand. Communication is key to dealing with customers. You may want to expand to markets where you understand the language. 

  • Product

You need to consider the product you wish to ship when creating an Amazon shipping strategy. As much as you want to offer your whole product line, you need to know if the items will appeal to the international market. Additionally, determine the weight of the item because smaller items are more cost-effective. Lastly, create a list and decide on a winning product. 

  • Country policies

Once you have an idea of the items and places you want to sell, it’s time to check the country policies. You can’t ship products that are prohibited in your target country. Being familiar with its existing rules and regulations can help ensure smooth shipping.

By gathering information on these three areas, you can create a strategy for your store. It’s best to stick to your plan of action for seamless delivery. 

  1. Create an account on Amazon’s global marketplace.

We have covered the location and products you wish to sell in the previous step. Next is creating an account on the Amazon global marketplace, specifically on your target region’s marketplace. 

For example, if you want to sell in the United States, then you have to create an Amazon account for that country. It goes the same way when you want to sell in the UK. However, there is an exemption to this rule. 

If you’re part of the North American Unified Account or European Unified Account, you can create only one seller account for the different marketplaces belonging to the unified account. For example, you have an account in the UK and you want to sell in Spain. Because both of these countries are under the European Unified Account, you don’t need to create a new account on Amazon Spain.  

Next, provide your payment information to pay your monthly fees for each Amazon account. You can use one of the following methods to set up your account:

  • Use a bank account in the marketplace where you want to be listed.
  • Use Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers.
  • Use a third-party currency conversion service.

The monthly fees for each account are as follows:

  • US: USD 39.99
  • Canada: CDN 29.99
  • Mexico: MXN$ 600.00
  • Brazil: R$ 19.00
  • UK: GBP 25.00
  • Germany: EUR 39.00
  • France: EUR 39.00
  • Italy: EUR 39.00
  • Spain: EUR 39.00
  • Japan: JPY 4,900.00
  • Australia: AUD 49.95

These are the details you need to provide when creating an account on the Amazon global marketplace:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email 
  • Bank account number and other bank details
  • Business name
  • Tax information
  • Valid credit card number and its associated details (for the payment)

Steps to create an account

  1. On the Seller Central, click “Inventory” and then click “Sell Global.” The tabs for the different regions will appear.
  2. Click your target marketplace. There are two ways you can do this. 
  • Click “Register Now” if you have no preexisting account in your target region. Register yourself as a new seller in the international marketplace.
  • If you do have a preexisting account in the target region, click “Link Accounts” to link your current and target region accounts. With this, you can manage all the marketplaces in one seller account. If you want to switch marketplaces, you can use the drop-down menu. 
  1. Start listing your products.

Once you have created your Amazon account, you can start listing your products. Remember that product listing can’t be done in bulk. All of your products’ Amazon Standard Identification Numbers must be registered on every marketplace you’re in. Also, don’t forget to add the following details:

  • Product ID
  • Product title
  • Product description
  • Product features
  • Product keywords
  • Product images (high quality)

Don’t forget to optimize your product listing. Doing so helps increase product visibility. It will also help you rank high on Amazon and stay relevant. 

  1. Select your fulfillment method.

When fulfilling your orders, you can choose to do it on your own or through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). FBA removes the burden of fulfillment from your shoulders. Amazon will handle the packing, shipping and returns; the only thing you need to do is send them the inventory. 

If you decide to fulfill your orders on your own, you will be responsible for the packing, shipping, documentation and returns. Moreover, you have to deliver excellent customer service. It’s also important to note the following terms:

  • Importer of Record (IOR) 

It is the responsibility of an IOR to pay the applicable import duties and taxes. They will also ensure that the imported goods comply with local laws. An IOR is needed in Europe and Japan. Amazon’s fulfillment centers are not considered IOR. 

  • Non-resident importer 

If you do not have an IOR, you must appoint an Attorney for Customs Procedures (ACP). However, you need to remember that an ACP only pays duties and taxes. Ensuring your products’ compliance with the local laws is your responsibility.

  1. Fill out the necessary documents and carefully package your items.

Whenever you ship products from one country to another, you need to fill out customs documents. These include information such as the name of the sender and the recipient and shipment details. Each destination country has its own set of requirements.

Also, don’t forget to pack your item carefully when shipping to Amazon’s warehouse. If you are under FBA, Amazon will handle the packing. If you’re shipping on your own, make sure to use the right containers and packaging materials.

How to Start Shipping from Canada to the United States? 

shipping from canada to us
  1. Check if you’re allowed to ship the item you’re about to send to the United States.

We have mentioned this, but it bears repeating: check if the item you are about to ship can be sent. Otherwise, you’ll have a problem with customs and your customer. Check the list of items the United States restricts and prohibits. Also, take note of the shipping documents you need to present for smooth customs clearance. 

  1. Determine the documents you need to present.

If you’re still unfamiliar with the documents you need to fill out and prepare when shipping to the United States, it’s time you take note of it. Entrepreneurs who skip this process get their shipments held at the border, which aggravates their customers. You see, negligence is not good for business. 

Below are the documents you need to provide before delivering products to customers.

  • Commercial invoice

Also known as a business invoice, a commercial invoice discloses your shipment’s content and value. Note that you must declare the actual number and description of the items in the invoice to avoid delays.  

  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin

In the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada, the United States and Mexico agree to remove impediments to trade and investment with each other. The NAFTA Certificate of Origin helps in determining if imported goods are eligible to receive reduced or free duty as specified in the agreement. The exporter must accomplish this document fully and legibly, and it must be in the importer’s hands at the time of declaration.

  • Importer ID number

The Importer ID number is used by US Customs to track the movement of your goods through the various importing processes, such as establishing bond coverage. You can get yours through your customs broker. 

  • Bill of lading

A bill of lading is a legal file acting as an official contract of carriage that a product is bound for shipping. The document includes relevant shipping information and outlines the terms and conditions of carriage. 

  • B13A application form

The B13A application form is a document required by Canadian customs for all export products to be shipped to other countries. This is a must for shipments with a value above CAD 2,000 and for regulated, prohibited and controlled goods regardless of the product value. You need a Canadian Automated Export Declaration and submit your B13A at least two days before transport. 

  • Cargo control document (CCD)

The CCD is a document that contains crucial information about a product. It has a unique shipment code assigned by Canadian customs to help them identify the origins of carriers and shipments before they are delivered to a designated location. 

  • A valid export permit

You need an export permit to ship internationally. To get one, you need to have an Export and Import Permits Act file number, which you can obtain by registering for a separate claim with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Afterward, pay a fee of CAD 14.00. Your export permit will be given within 30 days. 

  1. Choose how you will ship packages internationally.

There are three ways you can ship internationally.

  • Air freight

If you wish to ship bulk packages, air freight is your best choice. It’s also faster than shipping through sea since the products are loaded on the plane and quickly sent to the customer. However, this option is more expensive since the plane has less space to store the products. 

The cost of air freight is based on either the actual gross weight or volumetric weight, whichever is higher. The reason behind this is some packages are heavier despite the small space they occupy. 

  • Sea freight

If you are shipping packages that require big containers, you can pick sea freight. It’s also the cheapest method of shipping internationally, but it takes the longest time. The cost for sea freight is also based on the parcel's volume or weight, whichever is higher. 

  • Shipping courier

A shipping courier sends your packages to your customers. Some of the famous courier companies are FedEx, USPS and United Parcel Service (UPS). Shipping couriers are one of the best options when shipping internationally. If you plan on shipping gifts, personal items and goods, you can pick any of these shipping couriers. 

Note that each shipping courier has a different set of rules, so read their terms and conditions beforehand.

  1. Learn how to reduce shipping costs.

If you want to ship internationally, you have to face this reality: shipping is expensive. However, resourceful business owners find ways to reduce this cost.

For one, you can negotiate with shipping carriers. Oftentimes the volume of packages you ship per month can reduce the shipping price. Second, you can use the packaging materials provided by the shipping carrier. Using your own can result in additional fees, particularly when the item exceeds the size restrictions. Third, invest in prepaid shipping. It is especially useful if you ship in bulk.

  1. Pick a reliable shipping carrier.

Depending on how they deliver your goods, your shipping carrier can strengthen or damage your relationship with your customers. Hence, it’s imperative that you choose a reliable shipping carrier to handle your packages. Below are some international shipping carriers you can choose from.

  • United States Postal Service

Best for small businesses looking to ship small items, the USPS is a shipping service that offers you the best price for a package under five pounds. The standard delivery period for USPS is 2–8 business days. 

  • United Parcel Service

If you plan on shipping large packages, pick UPS. They offer better deals for larger packages; however, they don't provide flat rates, unlike USPS. The standard delivery period for UPS is 1–5 business days. 

  • FedEx Corporation

Known for its quick delivery period, FedEx is best for rush shipping. Their services include overnight shipping, cross-country same-day shipping and regular delivery for domestic and international shipping. The standard delivery period for FedEx is 1–4 business days.

  • DHL

DHL delivers to more than 220 countries, and they have an online quote generator to know the cost of shipping your package. Hence, DHL is best for international shipping. The standard delivery period is 3–8 business days.

  • Stallion Express

Stallion Express is a reliable shipping service from Canada and the cheapest courier on this list. They closely work with APC Logistics and PostNL to bring you the fastest and most trustworthy international shipping service to grow your market worldwide. Shipping internationally will cost you as low as $6.20. You may also integrate Stallion Express in your store.

If your business is located in Canada and you need a reliable and cheap shipping courier, pick Stallion Express. One of the best deals you can receive from us is saving up to 80% on shipping costs. Plus, delivery is only for 5–10 business days.

Final Thoughts

International shipping from Canada requires time and research. You must also be ready to hand in the necessary documents to avoid delays in shipment. We hope this guide helps you in your international shipping journey. If you’re looking for a shipping carrier that can safely deliver your goods, pick Stallion Express.

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

Get Started Today.  Sign Up for Free!
Nicasio Co III
Written by Nicasio Co III

Nicasio is the co-founder of Stallion Express - the leading eCommerce shipping company in Canada. Through his unique experiences in tech and digital marketing, he is on a journey to disrupt the logistics industry.

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