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A Shopify Merchant’s Shipping Guide for Canada

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The Cheapest Way to Ship Shopify Orders

ShipStation saves merchants money in a lot of ways. By saving time on shipping, you don’t have to worry about overtime shipping or hiring more people. After all, time is money. However, as much as time is money, money is money. Finding the cheapest way to ship a package doesn’t have to mean using the slowest service. There are plenty of options available that fit the right package. As mentioned in previous sections, there are many factors that go into any shipping rate. Sometimes, rates increase based on the ship-to zone more than they do by weight. This can influence which service you decide to use for a given order. In this section, we’ll go over when some services are better than others. 

Which Shipping Services Are Most Affordable 

Here, we’ll go over when certain services can be more favorable than others. Based on factors like weight, distance, size, and speed, the cheapest shipping option can change. Knowing which service to use can save you a lot of money on shipping costs.

Cheapest Shipping Options By Weight

Best Option Under 1kg

Canada Post Small Packet Air is the most common and cost-effective shipping option to ship goods to the US from Canada under 1 kilogram in dimensional weight. Best of all, it can reach many American metro areas in 4 business days.

Best Options for Parcels under 2kg

Canada Post Tracked Packet is a slightly more expedited shipping service than Canada Post Small Packet Air. It generally reaches its final destination in 4-7 business days.

For a list of surcharges you can accrue when shipping with Canada Post to the US, read here.

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Best Option for Heavier Parcels (Over 2kg)

Other shipping carriers, particularly for heavier parcels or oversized packages, that merchants commonly use to ship freight to the United States are Canada Post Expedited Parcel, FedEx Ground, FedEx Express, UPS Standard/Ground, and Purolator Ground. These services offer roughly the same services with varying shipping rates and a delivery timeframe of around 3-7 business days—depending on the distance.

Allen Barker

We reduced shipping costs 36.78% by being able to add UPS from ShipStation this year.

What Gets There the Fastest? 

Best options for 2-day 

When using express delivery services, you want to use something with a delivery guarantee. So any parcels that require a hard 2-day delivery work best through something like FedEx 2 Day or UPS 2nd Day.

Best options for Next Day

FedEx tends to offer affordable express shipping options. That is true for next-day services too. FedEx Standard Overnight® is generally the preferred express shipping option for most parcels.  But UPS Next Day Air Saver® is another good option if you prefer UPS. 

Best options for Next day AM

Similar to Next Day Shipping options, FedEx and UPS offer guaranteed delivery by noon the following day. The best available services are:

  • FedEx Priority Overnight® (by noon)
  • FedEx First Overnight® (by 10:00 am)
  • UPS Next Day Air® (by noon)
  • UPS Next Day Air® Early (by 10:00 am)

How to Master Return Shipping

Return shipping is a necessary evil. No one—not the retailer nor customer—wants to deal with returns. Well, carriers may like them. But that’s about it! However, mastering returns allows you to increase your cart conversion. In fact, we found that 90% of customers expect merchants to offer “simple returns.” 

Pay-on-Use vs Prepaid Returns

Knowing which type of return labels different carriers offers is important to saving you money. If you use Canada Post, chances are that you pay for returns at the time of label creation. However, UPS and FedEx are pay-on-use returns. This means that you don’t have to pay for the label until you use it and the carrier scans the parcel into their system. 

Which Return Services Are Most Affordable? 

Generally speaking, return services cost the same as outbound shipping services. But, since there is less urgency to receive returned packages. So, return services tend to favor the slower options like First Class Mail or whichever service can deliver most affordably. To find out the most efficient ways to process and receive returns, jump ahead to this section. 

Best Options for Quicker International Delivery

If you need to use expedited international shipping options, FedEx International Priority® offers quick delivery timeframes. However, UPS Worldwide Express® also offers affordable express options. Additionally, DHL Express available through ShipStation One Balance gives you access to affordable, express delivery for international orders. 

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