Thinking of doing some cross-border online shopping with the loonie at par? ecochick's done a bit of sample shopping on products from the US of A. Here's things to keep an eye out for.
- Shipping costs. Most US based companies will ship to a Canadian address from a US warehouse, and the shipping costs can be exorbitant. For example, ordering an omop starter kit from Method costs $10.60 US to ship UPS ground within the lower 48, but $17.65 to ship to Canada. It sometimes helps to order larger quantities to lower the overall ship cost per item, but not always (two omops will cost $33.50 to ship to Canada, but bizarrely will cost less - $5.70 - to ship to the lower 48.) Look for companies that have a Canadian warehouse if you can - or just shop Canadian.
- Shipping times. If I order from Chapters in Canada and choose their slowest method of shipping, I usually recieve packages within a few days. I've ordered from both Kiss My Face and Origins recently, and shipping took well over two weeks if not close to three. Factor this time in, especially if you're counting on your deliveries as Christmas gifts. I don't necessarily think this extended time is the companies' faults, though.. more likely it has to do with...
- Taxes, Customs and Duty. Depending on the kind of item you order, you will generally be responsible for paying some kind of fee upon arrival. On a $50 USD order from Kiss My Face, I had to pay $7.65 ($2.65 tax, $5 handling fee). On a $90 USD order from Origins, I have to pay $17. The determination of this charge is also likely why the shipping took so long to get to my doorstep. Factor this charge in (the rough estimate in my experience appears to be 15-20%) when you're ordering online and think you're getting a great deal on the exchange rate.
Any other tips on international purchasing? Let ecochick know!