e-Commerce Guide for Business – Winning Strategies-Capable Partners
Our previous Blog covered e-commerce approaches for the consumer, in the second part of this series; we examine management of this area for e-commerce businesses.
E-commerce is radically transforming the retail environment while opening the value proposition and variety of goods more than ever before; the location one sells from has become irrelevant.
In addition, internet sales allow consumers to instantly compare goods; price and transit time, allowing a purchase decision that weighs all of these factors.
To compete; the US E-tailer must execute a solid approach to cover off all of these variables; you may have success domestically, but do you have a strategy to expand your reach to other countries?
First and foremost, the primary country ripe for expansion is typically Canada for reasons including:
- A fresh market of 35 million people with one of the highest internet adoption rates in the world.
- Geography; close proximity, population primarily clustered within 100KM of the border.
- Least cost country to serve than offshore.
- Similar culture, disposable income potential and comparable business climate.
In spite of this northern potential; do you know how to reach Canadians in the most cost effective manner?
Have you done your due diligence on the business climate and requirements?
Can you manage cross border trade in addition to your daily domestic responsibilities?
That’s where a strong ally such as a Customs Broker/3PL (Third-Party Logistics) firm can help.
An experienced partner in Canada can support your leap of faith, helping you navigate and manage requirements, leaving you free to focus on your core abilities – selling and marketing.
The tactics a broker can employ to maximize your sales & profitability in Canada include:
- Finding the right fit for you – drop ship, NRI (Non-resident Importer) or an agent importing arrangement.
- Sourcing superior freight rates, last mile delivery, packaging advice and warehousing (if needed).
- Cutting your cost – Consolidating clearances, finding appropriate HS codes for your goods, minimizing duties and helping you take advantage of preferential tariff treatments or free trade agreements.
How can a Broker assist with my e-commerce Execution?
A trusted/reliable customs broker/3PL saves time and decreases your stress by managing shipping details & customs requirements while handling trade regulations daily. A capable, experienced partner is a major asset and extension of your business; offering crucial advice, supportive leading edge technology and flexible resources when needed. Through experience we know the approaches that work and what to avoid; as below:
Canadian Customer interface – Be clear & transparent
Selling to a Canadian customer should mean transparency to ensure a satisfied (repeat) shopper up front.
What does transparency mean?
Canadian sales will trigger added costs due to the international border; it’s best to be transparent and indicate these fees to your customer (at check out); after all, Canadians already know importing means increased costs.
- Shipping – freight charges/perhaps fuel surcharges apply – it pays to know the cost and options.
- Exchange rate – border fees are assessed on the goods equivalent value in $Canadian dollars.
- Clearance/Extra handling fees – goods require customs clearance and depending on the product may require additional data reporting to an OGA (Other Government Agency).
- Government fees – Certain products attract duties, some not; tax applies to almost all, which are calculated according to where your customer resides. These fees are paid up front by the broker handling your transaction.
The Take Away
Solving this puzzle for US e-tailers is simple; it’s selecting the right broker/partner who has the technology, capability and experience to assist with these trade matters. We can optimize your freight/customs spend, help with intelligent choices/importing options that fit your business and assist with expert guidance, technology, cash flow and flexible resources. These methods when executed skillfully; support e-commerce models for US based business without a costly investment in infrastructure while providing a rapid implementation roll-out.
Contact BILSI today;