Canadians Finding Deals South of the Border

26 October 2010

ShipToTheBorder

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.

- Anna

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?

- Anna

10 comments

  • Tracy
    My husband ordered parts for his truck from Florida and had them sent to the border at Pembina, ND. Including the gas to drive there, the duty and taxes he still saved $1200 on them!! We do cross border shopping all the time and my teenagers count the days until we go back to the states - much better deals!
  • Gail
    I'm wondering how do we find the town nearest the border we use to have items shipped to..i have heard of this before, but have never been able to get an answer. I had heard that there were peeps that would di this near te border (town) store for a very small fee and you pick up when you can. Is there anyone who can help? My border crossing is the emerson border..thanks ahead for any help..loves ya Gail
  • tanyaewa
    LOVE crossborder shopping. Lots of friends have used shiphappens dot com which is local to the Vancouver area. You ahve to drive over to Wash to pick up the stuff - but it's extremely reasonably priced - like $3. I have personally tried Borderlinx dot com which sets up a US address to ship US retailers to and then forwards to you in Canada. Bogus - imo. SO expensive it was ridiculous. Plus you have no way to send it back easily. A $15 PB Kis lunchbox cost me $50 in the end!!! I have even done Black Friday - last year - shopping then outlets at 3am is QUITE an experience!! but it made for a very fun girls weekend.
  • Gail
    nevermind..i got my answer..lol..thanks anyhoo..loves ya Gail
  • Craig
    For anyone in the Ottawa, Outaouais, Kingston, Brockville or Cornwall areas then http://myusaddress.ca/ is a great resource. I live in Prescott and have been really happy with their flat-rates of $5.00 for standard parcels and $15 for packages between 10-100 lbs. The only downside I see with this company is that they service only the Port of Ogdensburg, NY. Great for anyone in the area, but not much use for folks closer to other ports. Hope this is helpful to some of your subscribers in the area. An especially timely post as Black Friday approaches.
    • mrsben
      @ Craig: THANKS SO MUCH! It is exactly what I've been looking for as they have two options. Either you can p/u in Prescott or at their wharehouse in Odgensburg. Compared to other companies, their rates appear to be very reasonable.
  • Mark
    I've actually used these guys before! I live in Ottawa and have used their Kinekpoint in Ogdensburg and once in Buffalo as well. I have all my car parts sent there and my wife has now started shipping orders from target and pottery barn as well. What's great is Kinek has these border locations all across the country so it's super easy to find one.
  • paula
    @tanyaewa ... the correct URL is myshiphappens dot com. I looked at the site - it's not super professional, but would love to hear from some people who have used the service. What timeline do they give you to pick up your items (1 day, 1 week, etc)?
  • Dana
    kinekpoint also has a place on Wellesly Island right at Kingston but, they do not forward like "myusaaddress" does at Ogdensburg. Pottery Barn here I come! PB is sometimes DOUBLE the cost here and we cannot use the online site to order and ship here but, now I can, AND take advantage of the sales we don't get. Perfect for house staging!
  • Judith
    anyone know of a "pickup" location close to the Manitoba/North Dakota border near to Bottineau, Rugby or Minot? Thanks

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