Last week on the blog, we shared how Canadian consumers are an untapped market for U.S.-based retailers, brands and e-tail merchants. Canadians are shopping online in ever increasing numbers, but they face frustrating limitations when shipping restrictions prevent them from ordering from U.S.-based e-commerce sites. While shipping internationally is more complicated than shipping domestically, primarily due to the customs process and differences in taxes, Newgistics believes it is a challenge more than worth tackling—not only will market expansion drive sales growth, but a thorough review of the entire supply chain during the implementation process can identify inefficiencies, which can be corrected to improve the bottom line. In the second part of our two-part series on shipping to Canada, we’ll share three more tips for how retailers and e-tailers can successfully begin shipping to Canadian shoppers. #4: Don’t leave money on the table When an international customer returns a purchase, duty and taxes paid in compliance with customs tariffs at the time of importation are refundable; however, the process of collecting a refund is a manual process that is often abandoned by consumers and e-retailers. If the merchant or customer does not proactively reclaim these duties and taxes – usually 10 percent or more of the sales – they will not be refunded. Know the refund process and rules, or work with shipping partner that offers an automatic refund process, and don’t leave this money on the table. #5: Use transit time to build customer loyalty One of the best times to contact a customer is just after a purchase is made—marketing messages made during this window of opportunity have a very successful open rate. Look for opportunities to build loyalty and drive repeat purchases with branded marketing messages and customer websites that help merchants reach customers in new ways. A shipper’s tracking visibility system offers merchants the insight to know where a customer’s order stands and to send personalized messages to consumers based on specific actions. For example, if a consumer made a return, the merchant could send her a coupon for a future purchase to try to recapture the sale when the tracking system receives notice the package has been sent for return. #6: Choose your shipping partner carefully Once the decision has been made to expand into Canada, the single most important relationship to build is that with the shipper. Choose carefully, as a shipper can and should do more than move boxes. A shipper has the power to influence customer satisfaction and drive sales, and can uncover inefficiencies in the supply chain that hurt the bottom line. Don’t let your competitors beat you to Canada. The time is now to establish your reputation among Canadians and build customer loyalty with consumers ready to shop. If you’d like to discuss the opportunities for opening up your shipping options to Canada, we’d love to hear from you.