What You Need To Know Before Shipping To Canada (Interview w/InterFulfillment)

Canada is really big. And the population is the size of California.

So how do you ship to such a big country in a cost-efficient, timely way?

That’s a big question, and that’s why we’ve brought on Adayra Lopez from InterFulfillment to shed some light on this question!



This transcript was generated by AI and may have minor errors.

Brandon Rollins: Canada is big. Yes, that’s right, only the hard hitting facts here on Fulfillrite YouTube. But seriously, look at this on the map. Even when you account for the distortion up at the top, it’s still enormous. And the population? Considerably smaller than the U. S., about the population of California. That makes shipping tricky, and that’s why you need a local expert.

That’s why I brought on Adaira Lopez from Interfulfillment to talk about that. Now, we’re going to cut to the interview in just a minute, but real quick, my name is Brandon. This video is brought to you by FulfillRite. We ship orders for e commerce and crowdfunding. Link below for more details. Quotes are always free.

Now, one last quick note. We edited this with a light touch on the interview because we wanted to keep it lo fi and simple, uh, just an honest, just like two professionals on a zoom call. All right, let’s cut to the interview. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining and for taking the time to do that, to do this video with us.

We really appreciate it.

Adayra Lopez: My pleasure. It’s really a pleasure, uh, you know, uh, having, uh, this interview with Fulfillrite, uh, and being able to help, uh, Online vendors to understand the Canadian market a bit better.

Brandon Rollins: Absolutely. And, um, I, I’m going to go ahead and just start with a ridiculously naive question.

Just to, uh, just go ahead and get that out there. And that is why not ship to Canada from a US based fulfillment center?

Adayra Lopez: It’s not. necessarily something that, uh, businesses should avoid. Um, most of the time is necessary because you’re exploring the market. And, uh, it is really a big decision to do it, to make that big jump.

And, um, And do it from here locally. So most of the customers that, um, are just penetrating the Canadian market, what they do is they start from their origin point. If that, let’s say, is the US, then they start shipping from the US to Canada. For a short period of time, it’s okay to do it, um, but it’s not sustainable because at the end of the day, you want to have your Canadian customers, uh, happy.

And that means you want to make sure that their shipments get delivered fast as opposed to having to wait for a delivery for 10, two weeks and, or God knows how much it will be. Um, and also they will encounter, uh, paying duties and taxes. And, um, You know, when as a consumer, when you go out and try and buy something from another country, uh, you know, you don’t know what you’re going to get hit at a later time.

Uh, and then you, you, you have extra costs that you did not anticipate. So in order for, uh, you to test the market is okay. But once you, um, are. Ensure about, uh, the growth that you can have in Canada. It is ideal to find a partner here for your order fulfillment, logistics, uh, solutions, and be able to then grow the market from within.

Brandon Rollins: I think that’s a good consideration because it is expensive to have multiple different warehouses in a whole bunch of different locations. Um, but once you start shipping a bunch of Canadian orders, I have to imagine the crossing the border and the customs that come along with that is expensive. The postage itself is probably a lot.

And then it’s like you said, 10, 12, 14 day travel times. And that can, um, not every customer is going to want to agree to that, especially once you start shipping a larger order volume and fewer people know you personally.

Adayra Lopez: That is right.

Brandon Rollins: So. Obviously, Canada is a really big country, but, uh, like really big.

It’s kind of ridiculous when you look at it on a map and you realize that. Along those lines, what are the factors that make Canadian order fulfillment different than other countries?

Adayra Lopez: You know, I can think of three factors that are important to emphasize. Population is one of them. Um, the country is huge, but we’re not as populated as, for example, the U.

S. Um, just to give you a perspective, you know, it’s 39, 000, 000 people in Canada, which is only. I believe the population of California stayed alone. So, um, in Canada, we have 10 provinces and 3 territories. Then if every province has remote locations. So, number 1, because of that, population or their volumes are not going to be as perhaps, uh, other countries, um, with more people in them.

And, uh, also you have those remote locations that will increase the shipping costs. Um, so that is different, um, than The European nations or the U. S. or the U. K. Um, and you also have the fuel store charge. Um, Canada seems to have more strict, um, gasoline taxes and also more strict environmental regulatory aspects.

So that drives the cost of gas to be higher at the pump and therefore carriers here delivering the goods will Continue to change the fuel surcharge on, um, the shipments and that changes every week. Um, and as you advance in the year towards the last quarter, um, that’s when you see the highest fuel surcharge on shipping.

So it is important to be aware of it. So that you can, um, be able to price your, uh, products correctly and make changes if necessary. Um, but Canadians are used to it. So that is the good news. So whoever lives in Canada, we know that. The cost of shipping is what it is, and we’re used to it. And if I live in the middle of nowhere, in an island in the North Pole, and that has been very extreme, um, I know I will pay a lot for shipping.

So, and I’m used to it. So it is more of a learning curve. For, um, foreign, uh, companies doing business in Canada, then the consumer that you are trying to target, which is, you know, well aware of


Brandon Rollins: And I suppose if a lot of your markets and your Vancouver or Toronto areas or other larger cities, I think like Edmonton and Calgary, places like that, maybe Halifax, it’s probably less of an issue, but I have to imagine if you’re out and say, Yellowknife, or, um, I think you would say it Iqaluit or something like that.

Very different story than you’re talking about fuel surcharges and some of the stuff that people wouldn’t be thinking about all that often if they don’t ship to Canada very much.

Adayra Lopez: It is. And, um, it is very true that. You know, Canada Post is the only carrier that gets to every corner in Canada. Um, and so they do have, uh, airstage locations, uh, in which there is no more, uh, you know, they have, um, uh, a depot where in very small towns, remote, super remote locations where they drop off the packages by a small plane.

And people from that. Town will need to go there and pick up their packages. So it is as extreme as that, but you know, I don’t really want to scare anybody. Uh, uh, because of that, it’s really a very small percentage of orders that you will ever get to ship to those locations. Um, you know, the, the. Most of the orders in Canada are shipped to the East coast and the West coast and metropolitan areas.

So, um, you do have to pay attention to those remote areas, um, but you can still definitely, uh, run a business, uh, here and ship your products to many, many Canadians in, in metropolitan locations.

Brandon Rollins: Yeah, that makes sense. Um, so along those lines, what do you think are the biggest challenges of Canadian order fulfillment?

I feel like we’ve already touched on it a little bit anyway.

Adayra Lopez: Yes, you’re right about that. It is, um, the biggest challenge is learning, uh, the landscape in Canada and therefore be able to price your products uh, accordingly. Um, You know, the postal codes in Canada that have 2 zeros in them indicate they are remote areas.

So you can always have a way to, um, add more charges to those locations when customers get to your shopping cart. And, or you can also plan for targeted marketing so that you, um, start by just doing marketing in, um, populated cities. So that can be another option now successful online vendors. What they do is, uh, and that we’ve seen, uh, we’ve seen working is they incentivize customers by, um, you know, on the website.

Setting up offers such as buy a hundred dollar, uh, in, in, in products or 150 or depending on what it is and what the cost of it is in order to get free shipping, or they will put a flat fee for shipping across Canada and the rest will be. added to the price of the product. Um, so those are working well.

And, um, Canadians definitely, um, are able to, you know, also make the best out of their purchase. They can buy more products for almost the same amount of shipping. And, and that’s typically what happens for when you sell, you know, not, you Huge products, but more on the smaller size items that if it’s the same shipping costs, if you buy one, or if you buy two, it’s practically going to be very, very similar in cost, especially because carriers in Canada only charge, um, they don’t break, uh, the one pound, uh, weight, um, of parcels like it is in the U.

S., um, which is broken by, uh, One ounce, two ounces, three ounces and so on. And here is, if you ship a feather, still going to be a one pound price that you pay for.

Brandon Rollins: Yeah. And I suppose that’s something to definitely be aware of. If you’re shipping really lightweight items, there are only a couple of ounces or maybe like, uh, two ounces.

I think that would equate roughly to 60 grams or something like that, two ounces, literally. Um, because you are right. If you, if you are rounding up to the nearest pound, which is about 450 grams thereabouts, then yeah, that could be a very nasty surprise if you’re on the low end of that range.

Adayra Lopez: Yes, definitely. And also there’s the volumetric weight too, right? Um, carriers will take whatever is the, the, the biggest of the two, the actual, between the actual weight and the volumetric weight. So those factors are, uh, are something that can change the, the outcome of the cost for sure.

Brandon Rollins: Something to keep in mind if you’re shipping something lightweight that is huge, like, for example, a pillow might be a good example.

Adayra Lopez: Right. Yes, exactly. And then you can get hit by surcharges too. So, yeah, it is just important just to see all the costs that it involves to ship your products. And based on that, you can put a strategy, uh, um, and an offering on the website that will allow still to, for you to generate profits, but also for customers to be able to be, you know, happy going to purchase your items for sure.

Brandon Rollins: That makes sense. So what’s the best way to handle cross border shipping and customs?

Adayra Lopez: You, it is very straightforward, Brandon. If you’re a foreign company, you can always, um, get a status of a non resident importer, and that is, um, a process that you can get in place through a Canadian broker. Um, basically what they do is they.

Ask you to fill out a form. Um, and within three to four days, they get back to you with your importer number. And that allows you to be able to import the product in Canada and shipping, shipping that to your, uh, 3PL center. But the government also allows foreign companies to do business here. Um, Under that status.

So, so long as you don’t go by over the threshold that they set up for your revenue sales quarterly. And I always encourage customers to get familiar with their visit the Canadian government to see. What the threshold is, because regulation change from time to time, and you always want to be aware of it.

The idea from the government is that they find you, they invite you over to start doing business here. But once you get over that threshold, then you are supposed to create, uh, to register your, uh, company here in Canada and then be able to operate as a Canadian corporation. Um, the other, um, factor or important detail to to look at, look after is, um, make sure that your items are not regulated here.

You know, every country is different. Um, if you have products that are regulated, such as vitamins or supplements, um, those most likely are regulated in Canada by health Canada. And there is a certification that you have to have in place per SKU. So, um, Again, again, it’s nothing impossible, it’s just you just need to be aware of it to start the process.

Mm-Hmm. , get that in place and then be able to, uh, you know, legally sell products here so that you don’t encounter problems down the road. Mm-Hmm. Or get your inventory stocking customers because you don’t have a regulation that, uh, or a certification that is required. Um. But yeah, those are practically, um, the ways and how you can handle cross, uh, wording.

Brandon Rollins: And it sounds like working with a Canadian 3PL is probably a good way of going about, um, just making sure those things are taken care of as well.

Adayra Lopez: Yes. Yes, Canadian regulations and the government and everything is, it’s a strict, um, and it’s a structure, but they also, um, it’s just, at the end of the day, these are just processes that some take longer than others.

But once you have that, um, in place and approved, then. You know, everything else is just like in any other country where you operate. Um,

Brandon Rollins: that makes sense, which speaking of regulations, there’s also a lot of taxes as well, like GST and HST and PST, which are just some facts, some things I found when I was Googling this, um, how does that work when you are talking about e commerce order processing and fulfillment?

Adayra Lopez: So GST is the federal tax. PST is the provincial tax and the combination of both is the harmonized sales tax, GST. If you’re a Canadian corporation, you do have to file your income tax return, corporate business income tax return annually. Um, and when you operate as a Canadian corporation, then you definitely have to charge your customers with taxes.

Um, so I always encourage customers to be familiar with, um, with that by seeking the advice from a charter accountant. Um, that honestly is the best. Um, we pick, pack and ship, but we’re not necessarily extreme experts on, in that matter. So it is always good to, to consult with a charter accountant to be able to know at what point, uh, a registration is required and then what.

Uh, are your obligations as a Canadian corporation, uh, around taxes.

Brandon Rollins: Do you have a sense of when it might be a good idea to reach out to somebody to help with that?

Adayra Lopez: You know, it doesn’t hurt to do it right away just so that you know what to expect once you go over the threshold that we discussed before, in which you go from a non resident importer To a Canadian corporation.

Um, so it is good to do it as soon as you can. If you’re thinking to do business in Canada for the long term, um, that way you are able to have everything, uh, ready, uh, by the time that you actually have to register and be able to start, um, collecting taxes and


Adayra Lopez: with that.

Brandon Rollins: That’s understandable. Um, So going back to just shipping for a minute, what’s the best way you can go about, um, getting fast and reliable delivery within both the major Canadian cities and also some of the remote areas as well?

Adayra Lopez: Because Canada is very different in terms of how big we are and, and, and,

you know,

Adayra Lopez: You know, all the carriers in Canada that the major carriers in Canada have a state of the art technology in their facilities that allow already for them to, uh, support, uh, when it comes to shipping, uh, parcels fast and, uh, reliable.

So that is there already in place. You assuming that you already work also with a 3PL, uh, partner that helps. With, uh, meeting the call of times, shipping daily, um, that is also important that you look after, um, so that everything moves, um, and nothing gets delayed and, and then it ends up being in an, uh, you know, having an angry customer on, uh, at the other end.

Now, the services in Canada are available through carriers that are, um, because it’s such a. Huge territory, um, you can offer customers on your website, different options and not just stick to standard services, standard services. Let’s say, Brandon, if you ship from Toronto to Toronto is one day. Toronto to Vancouver across the entire nation, it can be five to six days.

So having said that, um, you can offer customers with standard Extra options when it comes to shipping, and that will be one standard. Uh, the second one can be express and the third one can be overnight. Obviously express and overnight will be more costly, but it allows your customer to have that, uh, service available and you know, why not make them, Um, Accountable for the decision as to how fast they want their package, right?

Um, and the carriers offered. All those services, um, and, and they’re reliable when it comes to guaranteeing it. So, um, it’s important to take advantage of that. The other option is to consider shipping from Toronto. And from Vancouver, because that will definitely reduce the delivery times for your customers that are on each side of the country.

Um, you know, keep in mind if you do fulfill from Vancouver, um, now your customer will have also the same delivery time than a Toronto, Toronto one day, um, rather than five to six days. And you hope that there is not a snowstorm or flooding that he can. affect that even more. So, you know, it depends on the situation for every online vendor.

Um, many of them start fulfilling from Toronto and they continue for years. Uh, and maybe they never really have that other step on location more precisely because of their items may be very small, but any other customers that do want, uh, to have that faster delivery, the solution is having, uh, orders fulfilled from both sides.

And be able to reduce costs as well, because that will bring the cost down on the shipping. Um, for you and your customers, you know, what it, what it used to be across nation. Now it’s going to be a local price.

Brandon Rollins: And which carriers tend to be the most reliable when it comes to speedy and, um, cost efficient shipping?

Adayra Lopez: All the major carriers here are. Reliable and they all have different footprints in the market for what they’re best for. So Canada Post, uh, gets to every single corner of Canada, P. O. boxes, uh, condominiums, uh, and they are great for very small parcels. Then you have UPS. UPS is a carrier that can handle heavier parcels and bigger in dimension.

Um, and. So, and they also do express services in a really remarkable way. They are incredible for that type of service, as well as a standard. And then you have the overnight, which I think the king of overnight, um, parcels is always, uh, It’s going to be FedEx, at least up until today. And so if you want to offer customers an overnight shipment, then FedEx will be the option to go to.

There are other carriers like Pirolator and Kampart and, um, and, and the key is also If you offer a standard service in which they’re all equally reliable, and try and use, uh, features such as Ray Shop, um, if your three PL has that feature, um, into fulfillment, offers, ratio feature, so that you can, um, shop amongst them all and pick the lowest, uh, to ship to that particular destination.

And, and this service will be equally good at the end of the day.

Brandon Rollins: That’s good. Now, of course, Canada is also bilingual as well. So does that create any issues with packaging and communication orders? And if it does, how do you, how do you handle that?

Adayra Lopez: It, you know, some people may call it a challenge and, uh, others will just say it’s just a requirement.

Uh, and that’s the way we see it. It is really just a requirement. Uh, from the government to have, uh, labels in French and English, and there are companies, um, that specialize in providing you advice about, uh, labeling your products and depending what they are, uh, is how you are supposed to have the format of the label.

So again, it is really just a process that, um, you just need to Have in place and once it’s done, it really is good for, for, for the, for, for any other, uh, plans you have to, to work here for any other products in Canada. So, um, stick for, um, help when it comes to, um, labeling, if you’re not sure of it, there are companies that I specialize in, in that service and that can help with that.

And the process then becomes very smoothly.

Brandon Rollins: Yeah, it seems like one of those things that once you get it right for the first time, every other time after that is not going to be an issue.

Adayra Lopez: Right. Once it’s done, it’s done. For sure. Absolutely.

Brandon Rollins: So, um, what advice would you give to companies who are looking to improve their order fulfillment processes overall in Canada?

Adayra Lopez: Uh, there are several things that I can think of. Um, one that is very, uh, straightforward, but not everybody perhaps has it at the beginning is, uh, obviously, obviously established companies, they, they do, or anybody that is already dealing with retailers that they do, but, uh, any online businesses that are just launching, uh, the business barcoding is key.

Barcoding your units. It’s an important because the 3PO, um, partner that, uh, works with you will receive big pack, um, with using barcode scanners. It’s just a quality, um, measure that, um, It is important to have in order to avoid misspeaks. It’s just the domino effect. You have a misspeak, then you have an end consumer that will not be too happy to get the incorrect product.

So always make sure that you have barcodes for your products in order to have that quality control when it comes to your fulfillment. Um, Another one is do plan for a marketing, um, campaign or campaigns to have a marketing plan throughout the year. Um, many times what we see is Canada is, um, it’s a, it’s a country that has, Enough, um, drive, I guess, on, on for e commerce, uh, orders.

And so customers that expand outside their own country, they usually have Canada in their, um, in their top three list of countries to expand to, but once they come and launch, uh, uh, the, the, the account, uh, sometimes what happens is they just forget about it because. It may not be a priority such as their biggest market that they can have.

So let’s say if you have a US and Canada, the US market will have a lot more volume than Canada. And once they launch here, they tend to forget a little bit that. Unless you do marketing here, you will then accelerate those sales, boost your sales in order to gain a more volume of orders. Um, so I always remind customers to have that marketing plan in place and not let it just grow organically because oftentimes that will be a very slow, uh, growth.

Right. And long

Brandon Rollins: term storage and a fulfillment center gets expensive pretty quickly.


Adayra Lopez: It can be and so that takes me to the next point, which is inventory. So it is important that you. When you start, if you don’t know how good or bad, even though you have an established company in another country, you still don’t know maybe how good or bad is going to, uh, go in Canada in terms of maybe having right away the order volume that you plan for, or maybe that’s not going to happen.

So I always suggest customers to start with the most minimum amount of inventory. Um, that way. They don’t find themselves in a situation where they overstock and now they have a lot of, uh, inventory that does not sell, but it does carry cost of storage. Um, so trying to have management around inventory is key, not just to start, but ongoing, um, because you also don’t want to be on the other side of the spectrum, which will be.

Now you have no inventory. You don’t have enough to be able to fulfill you, get your orders fulfilled. And then now you have customers waiting for the product to arrive. So you want to, um, you know, start with, uh, an amount that is. It’s good to cope with the demand of your orders, um, but then you can adjust to what it is, uh, that you’re, um, scaling it to, right?

So that is, that is good. Um, another suggestion is because fuel surcharge can be something that will change your shipping cost, uh, practically ongoing on an ongoing basis and more so in the last quarter, um, Always have someone paying attention to that fuel surcharge today. For example, from Canada post, I think this week is at 25.

5%. Um, but it can really go in November, black Friday, you now have a 40 percent fuel surcharge, so, uh, it can drastically change the price again, we’re used to it, we know that, but you do have to be aware of it because if you have a price that is now no longer. Um, you know, being able to get you to remain profitable because you didn’t adjust it.

Now you’re going to encounter problems and all those beautiful orders you got during Black Friday or holidays. Now it’s just not going to be, uh, you know, uh, good news once you reconciliate everything. So, um, Have someone looking after, uh, those, um, those trends on, on fuel surcharge, um, and then try to incentivize customers to, um, you know, buy more products for, uh, a good deal on shipping.

Um, so. Those things can help for sure. And have always a direct channel of communication with whoever you work with in Canada for your fulfillment solution. So it is important to have a point of contact for day to day. Um, inquiries, concerns, anything that, uh, is related to your operation so that it can run smoothly.

Um, and you can quickly get to, um, overcome challenges that happen on a daily basis, rather than not having that communication in place. And then you get to find out. In months from now, when you really need a smooth logistic solution, now you also have to cope with other challenges that you could have just addressed right away if you have that communication in place.

So, all those is what I would suggest to to pay attention to.

Brandon Rollins: Yeah, that’s all good advice. Now, how can InterFulfillment help?

Adayra Lopez: InterFulfillment has been in this industry for over 10 years. Um, we have the experience, the knowledge, um, to be able to help. Even if you’re unsure if this is the right time, do not hesitate.

You know, we welcome anybody and everybody to contact us and provide advice in what we do best. We pick, pack, and ship on behalf of our customers. And it’s whether that is direct to consumers or to businesses, we do it, we try to stay true to your brand. So we follow specifications to the T of how you want us to handle your orders, your packages, and so on.

We’re also very flexible around your business. So if during the year you have any sort of changes on the way you want us to package your orders, uh, we can follow that, uh, in order to help you get in that, um, you know, differentiate from others in this competitive market, because that is what ultimately we want.

We want to help you grow and we want to, uh, you know, be able to, um, you know, provide you a service that is fast, reliable, accurate, um, and scalable. Um, we have an HR department in place that can quickly scale, um, when needed. Um, also, uh, you know, we have facilities in both, uh, the East coast and the West coast.

Uh, in Toronto and in Vancouver, so if both are required, definitely we’re happy to help, uh, of fulfilling from both locations. And yeah, so definitely if anybody’s interested in our services, uh, we can, we can help send us an email, um, look, uh, visit our website, interfulfillment. com. And the email is sales at interfulfillment.

com. We’re interested in, in, in, in, you know, Discussing further in order to see how, uh, we can help, uh, contributing to your growth, uh, in market, in market, like, especially when you don’t know anything about Canada, you can rely on us to, to be able to serve you, uh, with extra information and advice

Brandon Rollins: and all the links are down there for anybody who wants to click on those.

Um, We, we can vouch for interfulfillment as you’re well aware, we send you leads quite a bit whenever we have somebody who needs to ship in Canada and it’s just not something we do. Um, and we, we, we always, we want to pass people along to partners that we trust for that sort of thing.

Adayra Lopez: Yeah, we’re extremely appreciative of it.

Um, we definitely, I know what you mean. We have referred at least to fulfill right, uh, seeking for a reputable company in the U. S. that they can not only start with, but start with. Scale with and grow. Um, so the common, uh, around that is, is incredible. Um, and, and we continue to, um, you know, seek opportunities in which we can help each other.

I, I am always a true believer that, uh, not because we’re in the same uh, industry, uh, we cannot, uh, you know. Also, uh, help each other.

Brandon Rollins: Absolutely. So on that note, thank you for your time on this. Lots of good information here about Canadian order fulfillment. Again, links are all down there below for anybody who wants to check out InterFulfillment and learn more.

Um, and thank you for watching.

Adayra Lopez: Thank you, Brandon.

Brandon Rollins: Thanks for watching this interview. I appreciate it. I know that Adaira does too. Details on both of our companies are down there in the description. And just in case you missed the name earlier, My name is Brandon, and I’m here on behalf of FulfillRite. If you need help shipping your orders, go to FulfillRite.

com and request a quote. We’ve shipped for thousands of crowdfunding campaigns before, and we’re happy to help you ship too. The quote doesn’t cost a thing, so if nothing else, you get some good information about pricing. Link in the description. Now, if you enjoyed this video, please take a moment to like and scribe and subscribe.

Don’t forget to slap some postage on the bell so we can express ship new videos to you as soon as they drop. And last but not least, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. I will personally answer as many as I can. Thanks for watching.

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