Hi - Our clothing brand is looking to expand shipping to Canada. I know we can use canada post to do so, however, looking to this community if it is best to set standard rates or have shopify calculate it each time depending on where the person lives in Canada? Worried about the customer experience there.
Also, what is a decent standard rate to apply for returns? Dont want it to be so high that is bars customers from buying in the first place.
Any feedback from people who have done this before and haven't lost customers due to the charges, please share. Thank you!
Julie here from Shopify Support.
It’s great to hear that you’re planning on expanding your business to Canada. This is a great way to grow your brand presence and boost your sales.
How are your shipping rates currently handled? Are you using Shopify Shipping to purchase and print shipping labels? If so, you will need to stick with either USPS, UPS or DHL; if your business isn’t located in Canada, I’m afraid you will be unable to offer Canada Post rates through Shopify Shipping. However, if you have USPS rates enabled, the package will then be transferred to Canada Post once it crosses the border, at which point they will be responsible for the final delivery. This would likely be the most cost-efficient way to handle Canadian shipments.
If you’d like to get a general idea of how much shipping to Canada will cost, I recommend checking out our Shopify Shipping Calculator. This tool will allow you to calculate shipping rates based on the weight and dimensions of the package, as well as where it’s being shipped from and to. It’s a useful tool that should give you a rough estimate of what the average cost of shipping a Canadian order will be.
Whether or not you want your Canadian customers to pay a calculated shipping rate or a flat rate is entirely up to you. This will just involve some research into how much it will cost you to ship the order, and determining whether or not the shipping cost (or even a portion of it) can be factored into the price of your product.
As for your questions regarding a standard rate to apply for returns, are you referring to a shipping rate customers will pay to return the item to you? If that’s the case, this would really depend on the size of the package and where the customer is located. The Shopify Shipping Calculator will give you a general idea of what it could cost. We also have a great blog post called, “Return Shipping: How Do I Price and Implement a Strategy to Handle Returns?” I recommend checking out. This is definitely a common question and this blog post offers a few suggestions on how you can handle this.
As a side note, did you know that you can generate a return label for domestic orders in the US? Doing so, you'll be able to then email the label directly to the customer, who can use it to return the product to you. If you haven't already taken advantage of this feature, I definitely recommend checking it out!
I hope this helps answer your questions. Please don't hesitate to reply directly if you need anything else.
No problem! Thanks for following up.
When it comes to taxes, I would suggest getting in touch with a tax expert to find out whether you are required to charge Canadian customers taxes. As every country has different tax laws, seeking professional advice would be a good idea.
That said, I do know a bit from my Canadian perspective here. Usually, you would only charge tax in the countries you are doing business in. For example, if I have a location in Canada and a Canadian shopper makes a purchase, they will be subject to Canadian taxes. If I have that same Canadian location but a customer orders from the United States, there will be no taxes charged on the purchase. It will instead be up to the country of destination to charge import taxes and duties. We actually have a help doc on duties I suggest checking out. It goes over how duties are typically charged and how they are typically calculated; I think you'll find it pretty useful.
I should also mention that when shipping from the United States to Canada, you may need to complete a customs declaration form. If you purchase international shipping labels through Shopify (either USPS, UPS, or DHL), a customs declaration form will be automatically generated for you and can be printed on any standard printer. Some mail types require that you print a separate customs form for your shipment, and others include the form on the standard shipping label. However, this is determined by the shipping carrier themselves and will be taken into account when the customs declaration form is generated.
We also have a great blog post called International Shipping: Everything You Need to Know to Deliver Beyond Your Borders. It sounds like this would be a useful resource for you and may help clear things up. Of course, it may also be a good idea to seek a tax expert's advice on this if you require any further clarity.
As suggested by Julie, the best option would be to use USPS shipping with Shopify. This way you will get very cheap rates with delivery guarantee from USPS. Now as for the rates, i did a quick test by going to the Shopify price calculator and found the rates for a 2 lbs shipment from Atlanta to Ottawa to be very cheap $15.20 with first class as shown from the screenshot :
However, if you are not using Shopify Shipping, rather using your own account, you can check out the rates from USPS price calculator. They would differ than the ones obtained from the Shopify calculator. If you are satisfied with it, you can go ahead and use your account with the Multi Carrier Shipping label app. With the app you will also get customs document that is essential for shipments to Canada.
I am a U.S. seller setting up shipping to Canada. My question is, if I use USPS and purchase Shopify Shipping labels, will there be an option to select DDU/DAP vs DDP during the label purchase process so I can just pay the duty at that time?
In your help document, you mention that these are the two options for paying duties. Either the customer pays (DDU/DAP) or I do as the seller, DDP. I just want to know if I will pay for the DDP when I purchase the label (since I haven't done it yet) or at what point I would do so?
I see that it's <sort of> possible to calculate what all of the duties will be ahead of time, but let's be real, I'm not gonna do this for every single vintage item I sell. And I'm still confused as to WHEN I would pay it if I use USPS labels printed through Shopify.
Secondly, I did try to buy a USPS label to Canada for my first international order, but I ended up switching to UPS at the last minute because the calculated weight of the items my customer bought was more than the actual weight. I kept getting an error message stating that my package could not weigh less than what was declared on the customs form, but I couldn't change the customs form because it was auto generated!
(I have to estimate all of my products' individual weights because they are OOAK vintage items and I never know exactly what the weight will be until I know what else is ordered with it and how much padding & what size box I'll need).
Is there a way around this?
Turns out, UPS charged me an additional $30 for import & duty fees that I was completely unaware of because it was not stated anywhere when I purchased the label and no one at the UPS store told me this when I dropped it off. I didn't want my customer to be surprised and upset so I paid it online but now I'm upset because the extra fees just totally negated the sale. So, I'd prefer to USPS but now I'm super confused about what I am supposed to pay and when (and I know everyone says for sales tax consult a tax person blah blah because they don't want to be liable, but so far as I understand that is totally separate from duties & customs/ import fees?).
I know that's a lot, thank you in advance for your help!
Thanks so much for joining in on the conversation. These are great questions and I'm sure that other merchants in the Shopify Community will find these helpful!
I'm also glad to hear that you've reviewed our help doc on duties. At this time, it's not possible to prepay duty fees while purchasing shipping labels through Shopify Shipping. Instead, customers will be responsible for paying duties (if applicable) when the delivery is received.
In many eCommerce cases, the seller includes these duties at checkout and directly collects payment from the customer for DDP shipping. To better handle this process, there are some third-party apps that can handle DDP. I've checked in with our Shopify Shipping team to see if they had any specific recommendations and it looks like Zonos Duty and Taxes is a popular option. I also see that this app has some excellent reviews, so it would definitely be worth looking into if you'd like to ship orders with DDP.
Now, let's hop on over to your second question! When purchasing a shipping label for an international order that requires customs declaration, the weight of the items in the customs declaration need to be equal to the Total Weight (with package) of the order. To make things a bit more clear, I'll break down what's likely happening with an example.
Here, the merchant is trying to ship two products and is receiving the same error that you're seeing:
The reason for this error is that the merchant is declaring their items as 6.5oz each for a total of 13oz:
Yet, they are trying to tell Shopify the Total Weight (with package) of the order is less than 13oz:
Adjusting these numbers will result in the ability to purchase a label. For future reference, it's best to wait until you have weighed the entire package as it's ready to be shipped prior to purchasing a shipping label and generating a customs declaration form.
As for import fees and duties, I think that using an app will be the best way to handle these and avoid any unexpected charges. It's also a good idea for customers to handle this at the checkout, as it not only increases transparency between you and your international customers, but it also helps offload the cost so you can maintain solid profit margins.
I hope this clears things up, but let me know if I can be of any further assistance!
Thank you, that helped a good bit! I looked into the Zonos app and it does require that your shop have the Advanced plan, which my business sales can't afford just yet.
So, it looks like instead I will have to ship DDU until then, and the buyers will have to be responsible for the shipping. Can I still purchase USPS labels in Shopify this way?
No problem, Sarah!
Yes, it does look like Zonos requires you to have a feature called Carrier Calculated Shipping enabled. While this feature is typically available on Shopify's Advanced plan, you can also add it to any plan for an additional $20 per month. You can also get Carrier Calculated Shipping for free if you switch to annual billing, which saves you 10% off your total subscription costs for the year; if you plan on sticking with Shopify for the next year, then switching to annual billing is definitely something worth considering.
Aside from allowing you to use a variety of shipping apps, Carrier Calculated Shipping also gives you the ability to connect your own carrier accounts with FedEx, USPS, UPS, and Canada Post to Shopify and offer customers your own negotiated rates at checkout. If you want to add this feature, let me know which method works best for you and we can go through next steps together!
Otherwise, you can continue shipping DDU while printing USPS labels through Shopify Shipping as per usual. Just make sure to be transparent with the buyer about additional fees to manage their expectations and avoid returns and chargebacks. For this reason, it's a good idea to make sure that you have a clear return policy on your website.
If you'd like to move forward with Carrier Calculated Shipping, feel free to let me know!