Unique Shipping Challenges in Canada
We’ve been in business for over 7 years here in Canada, shipping large and heavy items all over the country. There are some truly unique challenges we face here in Canada, and especially with how harsh the winter has been in 2019, shipping products on time has been a challenge. Here in Southern Ontario, we’ve been hit with a winter storm almost weekly at this point and it’s been a headache logistically.
Here’s what we’ve learned to mitigate some of these challenges of shipping in Canada:
- Sufficient Packaging
Canada is a really big country, and your products are going to have to travel quite some distance to reach your customers. Our products are pretty durable and come in a padded bag, but they still can’t stand up to rough handling by themselves. After getting some emails from customers about products delivered damaged, we decided to take action because the costs of producing replacements was starting to pile up. After completing a couple of drop tests, we determined our packaging wasn’t holding up, particularly when dropped on their corners.
Enter, our saviour, bubble wrap and Styrofoam. We solved our issue by adding Styrofoam as well as wrapping products in a layer of bubble wrap prior to shipping. While this adds a bit of extra expense on each product, we’ve actually been saving by not having to send out as many replacement products.
- Time buffers
We need to acknowledge that here in Canada, the expected delivery date is basically a myth. Anyone that’s done any online shopping here can tell you that. But we’re a B2B business and it’s important to our clients that they get their banners on time because they’re normally for events or tradeshows. Giving people a date range with a buffer of about 2 days for large items sets up more realistic expectations.
- Look at the weather
It’s nice being able to rush jobs for clients but being aware of the weather is also important. Knowing that there may be a large storm coming means that you might need to anticipate slightly longer delivery dates.
- Package tracking
Our favourite package tracking app has been Parcel. The small fee we pay for the premium subscription is worth it for the functionality. Being able to let customers know that there may be a delay with this package before they even know about it is part of great customer service and lets us anticipate any questions clients may have before they even email us.
Shipping in a country this big and so prone to extreme weather is tough. But hopefully, these tips will be able to help inform your shipping strategy and navigate running an online business here in the Great North.