How to Sell Products Online in Canada

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Task time:
1 hour
Difficulty:
Easy

If you run an ecommerce store, you’re probably spending your days thinking up ways to increase your profits, and expand your customer base.

One popular way to achieve these common ecommerce goals is by branching out into new markets, and selling your products internationally.

For US-based businesses, Canada is one of the most popular locations for international ecommerce. This is thanks, in part, to the country’s close proximity to the US – as well as Canada’s collective penchant for buying US-made products.

But before you take steps to move into any new market, it’s important that you understand the desires, tastes, and shopping habits of your potential customers – as well as the logistics and legal requirements for your chosen region.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to selling products online in Canada to help you out.

What You Need to Know About the Canadian Market

If you decide to sell your products online in Canada, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve educated yourself on the Canadian market.

But what do you need to know? We’ve listed some of the most important and helpful facts below to get you up to speed…

  • Canada has an average annual per capita ecommerce spend of approximately 2703 Canadian dollars.
  • Canadians love to use their mobile phones for everything – including shopping – so making sure your mobile website is functional is essential if you want to attract Canadian customers.
  • Like many online shoppers, Canadians want convenience – so make sure you offer easy returns with a popular courier, such as Canada Post. 34% of Canadians’ abandoned shopping carts are due to a lack of a returns policy.
  • Some of the most popular ecommerce products in Canada include electronics, clothing, sports equipment, baby items, pet care, and snack subscriptions.
  • Canadian’s tend to prefer debit and credit card purchases over other payment methods.

Ways to Sell Products Online in Canada

When it comes to selling your products online in Canada there are various ways for you to do so such as:

International Marketplaces

Amazon
Popular international marketplaces such as Amazon can be used to sell products online in Canada.

International marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay are incredibly popular in Canada. Selling your products on an established platform such as these helps give your brand added credibility and reliability. After all, if a customer trusts the platform you’re operating on, they’re more likely to make a purchase!

Canadian Marketplaces

BestBuy.ca
BestBuy.ca is one of the most trusted online marketplaces in Canada.

There are also various Canadian marketplaces that you can utilize to sell your products online. BestBuy.ca is one of the most trusted marketplaces in Canada, and also provides guidance from experts to help get you started.

Online Store

Shopify
Setting up your own ecommerce website on a platform such as Shopify is also a great way to sell products online in Canada.

Of course, you can also sell your products online in Canada directly from your own ecommerce store.

Ecommerce website builders such as Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce all allow US-based businesses to sell their products to a Canadian audience.

Make sure you check out our guide to the best ecommerce website builders to find the one that’s right for you.

Shipping to Canada

There are various couriers that will ship your products from the US to Canada including the US Postal Service (USPS).

If you choose to use the USPS as your provider of choice, your shipping costs will be determined by the US origin zip code of your item, as well as the Canadian destination postcode.

Ecommerce website builders such as Shopify and BigCommerce will often partner with major shipping providers – such as USPS, Canada Post, and DHL Express – which all offer international shipping to Canada.

Some of the key costs you’ll need to factor into your ecommerce business when selling products in Canada are customs charges.

In order to offer the best service to your customers, we recommend calculating – and clearly displaying – any customs or tax charged upfront on your website, preventing customers from receiving a surprise customs bill later on.

There are various tools available – such as Glopal – which will calculate the customs fees for each individual product you sell on your ecommerce site.

Setting up an Online Store in Canada

When you sell products to consumers in Canada, you’ll need to make sure that you’re complying with various rules and regulations.

You’ll need a business license in order to sell products in Canada, and will also have to make sure that you’ve registered your business and gained a seller’s permit from the authorities.

You’ll also need to register for GST (Goods and Service Tax). The registration process can differ depending on your business type but you’ll usually need to provide details such as your business’s name, owner’s name(s), mailing address, and business activities.

Registering for GST is easy, and business owners can do so online or via telephone or mail.

Another thing to remember when selling products in Canada is that you’ll need to abide by provincial internal sales laws. This basically means that you’ll need to provide customers with certain information before they make a purchase, as well as allowing them access to your terms of sale.

In some provinces, these terms can’t include certain clauses – such as class action waivers and mandatory arbitration requirements. If you don’t comply with these laws, your customers have the right to cancel their purchase contract with you, and you may even face regulatory penalties.

Selling certain products – such as water heaters and gym memberships – can also come with additional restrictions, and you’ll need to ensure that your website design complies with accessibility requirements, too.

Quebec’s language laws also state that a French version of your website – as well as any associated marketing and advertising materials – must be available for users.

How to Sell Products Online in Canada: A Summary

Selling products in Canada can be a great option for US-based businesses that are looking to attract new customers to their online stores.

With a large population of internet users to target, selling products in Canada could be the best business decision you make. But before you do, there are several key things to remember. These include:

  • Canadians want convenience and the ability to shop on the go.
  • Shipping to Canada is easy with couriers such as USPS, but don’t forget about customs charges!
  • In order to sell products in Canada, you’ll need to first set up various permits, and ensure your business meets Canadian internet sales laws.
  • Quebec has specific language laws that mean your website and marketing must be available in French.

This article will set you on the right path to selling success in Canada. So good luck, bonne chance, and be sure to let us know in the comments of this article how you get on!

Frequently Asked Questions

Like many places, popular products in Canada include tech items and clothing. But in recent years, there’s also been a surge in online sales for items such as gym equipment, beauty brands, and subscription boxes, too.
There are various ways you can ship your products to Canada. The US Postal Service has multiple shipping options and rates that depend on your location, whilst couriers such as DHL Express also offer international shipping services.
Yes, there are various rules and regulations you’ll need to follow when selling products in Canada. These include provincial internet sales laws, as well as Quebec’s language law, which requires your website to be available in French.

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