I am having a bit of a break today, as I have a guest post from Jeremy Mclean from Shiptotheborder.com, a resource for Canadian cross border shoppers. They help answer questions about duty and taxes, what companies to order from in the States, and how to set up a U.S. shipping address at the border. In this post, Jeremy is going to talk about cross border shopping, as we’re getting closer to the holiday period. Many of my colleagues make the round trip from Winnipeg to Fargo (though I’ve never done it myself), to do just this.
One thing that is certain about us Canucks – we love to find a great deal and when we do, we tell friends and family. This past year Canadians have spent $15.1 billion worth of goods and services online, up from $12.8 billion in 2007 (StatsCan). I doubt many people are surprised by the growth, but the number of Canadians looking south of the border for deals is truly remarkable.
There are several sites that only ship within the U.S. such as PotteryBarn.com, FinishLine.com, Target.com, and Joann.com… the list goes on. There are even more that do ship to Canada but have very expensive international shipping and brokerage charges. These charges can be prohibitively expensive and deter most Canadians from ordering from those sites. It’s just not worth paying a 30% premium to have the item shipped to Canada.
Thousands of Canadians are finding a way around this by acquiring a US shipping address along the US/Canadian border. This gives Canadians the ability to order from US only companies, receive their order at a U.S. border location, and avoid international shipping and brokerage fees. They can then drive down and pick the item up when it is convenient for them.
A great example of this is with the largest online store on the planet, Amazon.com. They sell just about everything under the sun and because they have no physical retail locations to take care of, they can offer unbeatable prices. Unfortunately Amazon’s Canadian site has a limited product range compared to its American counterpart. Canadians are then forced to shop on Amazon.com if they want access to the full catalogue of products. Unfortunately, not all the items on Amazon.com are available with Canadian shipping, and if they are, the costs tend to be very expensive. This is why so many Canadians are taking advantage of shipping to the border.
With over 80% of the Canadian population living within 60 miles of the border all sorts of deals are available to Canadian shoppers. Whether you need to buy a set of winter tires, the trendiest styles from your favourite clothing chain, or the latest gadget that you probably don’t need, there are no shortage of deals in the U.S.
As the holiday season approaches thousands of Canadians will be descending on their nearest border town to pick up their orders from U.S. websites and catalogues. Even with potentially long waits and drives to the border and fluctuating currency, nothing seems to deter savvy Canadian shoppers from taking advantage of deals you can only find south of the border.
What about you? Cross-border shopping, yay or nay?