When running a small business, it is the goal to reach as many customers as possible. However, this reach can cause more problems for your company if not approached correctly. The most common challenge for U.S. businesses is shipping outside the country, particularly into Canada. Canadians understand that some products are simply done better in the U.S. and more affordable. Here are some tips to make shipping to Canada go as smooth as possible.

Shipping Time

One of the most obvious challenges when it comes to shipping to Canada is that, unlike the U.S., much of Canada is rural. Easyship shares that getting your product to your Canadian customers can take longer than expected. In addition customs officers from both nations will inspect much of your product before it’s allowed to keep moving. One of the best ways to avoid frustrated customers is to explain on each product description that Canadian shipping could take longer due to certain factors, such as distance, customs, and post-office service reach.

Delivery Costs

An estimated 75% of Canadians live within 161 kilometers (100 miles) of the U.S. border, but those 100 miles can cost Canadian customers hundreds of dollars. These costs also cause headaches for U.S. businesses, according to Need a U.S. Address. Depending on the shipping service chosen either by yourself or your customers, shipping prices will tend to be on the expensive side. The best way to deal with this is to absorb the cost if you are still maintaining a healthy profit margin. If that isn’t possible, provide your customers with a variety of shipping and cost options. 


Domestic returns are hard enough for companies to deal with, and international returns are even more complicated. Most business owners will tell you that international shipping is often more expensive than the item itself, so it can be best to provide refunds with no return required. Although this is an option, it will not make your Canadian customers happy. It is always better to place as much emphasis as possible on your return policies as well as posting clear photos of your product. Shipping to Canada can be one of the best ways to create a larger customer base because, according to financial tech company Medici, Canada is the biggest country in cross-border commerce. However, business owners must understand how to overcome the resulting difficulties of shipping.

As you balance your E-Commerce business to promote growth and minimize costs, you’ll face significant challenges. Check out our other posts about using technology for your e-commerce business,  as well as the tools you need to make your dream a reality no matter where your customers may be.