Cross Border Shopping Blog
Online cross border shopping from U.S. retailers offers Canadians a great opportunity to save money and purchase items that are not available in Canada. Many U.S. retailers offer items identical to those available in Canada at a fraction of the price and have far greater selections than their Canadian counterparts.
However, Canadians commonly encounter three potential roadblocks that prevent them from ordering online or by phone from U.S. retailers:
- Many U.S. companies do not offer shipping to Canada.
- U.S. companies that offer shipping to Canada often have prohibitively expensive shipping fees, and
- Items that are shipped to Canada from the U.S. can be held up at customs for days or weeks.
Fortunately, getting your goods to Canada from the U.S. is getting easier and less expensive all the time. Below is an overview of two shipping options to consider when purchasing goods from U.S. retailers.
Option 1 – Ship your goods to the Canadian border
A number of U.S. companies have established pick-up offices conveniently located near border crossings all along the Canada – U.S. border.
For a small fee (usually between $10 and $50, depending on the size of the package), these pick-up offices allow you to have items you order from U.S. retailers shipped directly to them. When you place an order with a U.S. retailer, simply provide the retailer with the delivery address of the U.S. pick-up office closest to you. When your item arrives, the pick-up office will notify you, and you can drive across the border to collect your items.
Some companies even allow you to manage and track the whole process online.
For more information on costs and pick-up procedures, you should contact companies that offer these services directly prior to placing your order with a U.S. retailer.
There are three main advantages to using cross border pick-up services such as these. First, it allows you to order items from U.S. retailers who do not ship to Canada. Second, you will save on shipping costs, as most U.S. retailers offer low cost or free shipping within the United States, and third, you will avoid customs delays by driving across the border to pick up your items.
Keep in mind that you may still have to pay tax and duty on these items when you drive back across the border, so do your homework on the items you are buying before ordering.
Option 2 – Shipping Directly to Canada
Until recently, most U.S. companies did not ship to Canada, and those who did charged prohibitively expensive shipping and handling fees that made the cost of buying goods in the U.S. equal to or higher than the cost of buying the same goods in Canada.
Fortunately, an increasing number of U.S. retailers have started shipping goods purchased online to Canada. In addition, many of these companies now have shipping options specifically for Canadians that provide reasonable shipping and handling fees.
The main advantage of having your order shipped directly to Canada is that you avoid having to drive across the border to pick up your goods.
Although a number of U.S. retailers have streamlined their Canadian shipping procedures, it’s important to keep in mind that your goods may still be held up at customs, and you may still have to pay Canadian taxes and duties when these goods arrive, just as you would on any other item you bring into Canada.
If you plan on going this route, it’s a good idea make sure the U.S. retailer you are ordering from ships to Canada before placing your order. You should also look at the specific costs and policies the retailer has in place for shipping to Canada.
To celebrate the holiday shopping season, we are happy to announce the launch of the new and improved CrossBorderShopping.ca!
Our new site features an updated look and a variety of new features, including the latest local and national deals and coupons for cross border shoppers.
We’ve also created the Cross Border Club, providing members with the latest local deals, coupons and exclusive offers from retailers, hotels, restaurants and auto dealers just across the border.
You will also find maps and local listings for malls, retailers, and duty free shops in U.S. cities, as well as a regularly updated Blog, Facebook page, RSS feed and Twitter account with the latest cross border shopping news.
In the coming weeks and months we’ll continue to improve the site and add more features.
In the mean time we’d love to hear from you to get feedback on our new site.