Are You Ready for the 2018 Peak Holiday Selling Season?

Are you ready for the 2018 peak holiday selling season?

Many companies will be receiving their fall stock during the next two summer months in preparation of their peak holiday selling season. Whether you are selling direct to consumers, or supplying retailers or wholesalers, you should be getting your plans in place.

E-Commerce

The U.S. economy is booming and consumer confidence is high. The “Loonie” is still relatively weak against the U.S. dollar, so the USA should probably be a primary target. However, it’s not all gravy – competition will be more fierce than ever, and shipping costs may be higher, especially since UPS announced “surge pricing”, or what it calls a “peak shipping charge”. This will affect package shipping charges for the peak periods November 19th to December 2nd and December 17th to December 23rd.

There has never been a better or more exciting time to broaden your market to take advantage of the newest trends in marketing and logistics.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Who Are Specialized 3PL Providers?

Who Are Specialized 3PL (Third Party Logistics) Partners?

First, what does 3PL mean? 3PL stands for third party logistics and is a company that provides B2C (business to consumer) and/or B2B (business to business) inbound/outbound product handling, storage and freight forwarding services. For example a 3PL partner can receive overseas bulk orders, empty the shipping containers and ‘cross-dock’ the products for either storage or forwarding. On their clients’ behalf, 3PLs will hold product in their warehouse (storage), or pick-and-pack orders (fulfillment), arrange delivery (freight management) and then inevitably also accept returns/repairs (order returns). Outsourcing logistics services with a reliable 3PL partner can significantly reduce overhead costs particularly in areas of inventory, freight and human resource management.

How does a ‘specialized 3PL’ differ from the Amazon’s of the world?

Quite simply they know their niche. A ‘niche 3PL provider’ can be determined by a company’s ‘geographical market’, their limited ‘service offerings’ and/or that they serve a ‘specific industry’.  A company the size of Amazon by comparison is filling orders in bulk with little to no special shipping/handling options and they’re doing it as fast as possible. Where large scale order fulfillment companies are focused on volume, specialty 3PLs are focused on high performance, quality customer service and client success. Further, 3PL specialists often offer critical marketing, pricing or business consulting which is critical to breaking into new markets and staying competitive.

At UCanTrade, Inc. we consider ourselves a specialized 3PL (Third Party Logistics) provider. Our niche is Canada/USA cross-border business. We exist to serve Canadian importers/exporters and proudly provide them with an array of ‘hands-on’ business and logistics services.

Our clients – most of whom are situated within a 100 mile radius of the Blaine, WA – Surrey, BC Peace Arch Border crossing, leverage our 30 plus years of cross-border experience and professional relationships to facilitate their business expansion into a lucrative, yet massive U.S. market. (Related article: Five Strategies for Expanding Your Business to the USA). From our 60,000 sq. ft. facilities, located off Interstate 5 between Blaine and Bellingham, WA, our clients are encouraged to think ‘domestically’ and consider our facilities merely as an extension of their own head-office ‘stretched’ across the border.

As logistics specialists, our team of professionals operate at a high level, navigating our long standing ‘systems and processes’ with expertise and accuracy. Our size and experience allow us to be responsive and flexible to satisfy our clients’ needs quickly and efficiently.

Even within the current Canada/USA political climate and amidst NAFTA uncertainty (Related article: Status of NAFTA Negotiations) the historically favorable exchange rate between the US dollar and the Canadian ‘Loonie’ translates to most Canadian companies earning up to 23% more on their U.S. sales. (Related article: The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?)

UCanTrade B.C. New Exporters Tour

Surrey Board of Trade’s ‘New Exporters Tour’ at UCanTrade, Inc. – Spring 2018

We are cross-border specialists. Whether you’re selling high-tech medical devices, delicate works of art, trade show booth materials in ‘clam-shells’ or heavy parking meters, we can help. Learn more about UCanTrade, Inc. at our website www.UCanTrade.com  and/ or to stay current on upcoming BC/WA trade news and cross-border events, subscribe to our monthly TradeTips newsletter.

We love visitors at UCanTrade. Please be our guest and drop in for a tour! We are located at: 1465 Slater Rd, Ferndale, WA (driving directions). Open Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

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Ready, Fire, Aim

By: Jim Pettinger

Many Canadian entrepreneurs (including your writer) have used this strategy to enter the U.S. market from Canada. While this formula can work, pre-planning always makes sense. That’s why this newsletter attempts to provide information about resources and upcoming events to provide help before preventable, time-delaying and costly issues can occur. In particular, we are proud to once again present our “Doing Business in the USA” seminar in Surrey on Tuesday, May 18th. Please see the listing below for details. 

dbusa logoWhen:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018 – 8:00 am to noon
Where: Surrey, BC – Civic Hotel
Cost:  $75.00
Info:  Doing Business in the USA

Join us on May 15th for a fast-paced guide to expanding your sales into the United States. Whether opening a virtual store front with a U.S. address or partnering with a distribution center for your eCommerce activity, our seasoned cross-border lawyers, accountants, customs brokers and logistics professionals will present options that will help you determine your export strategy and understand your responsibilities with government agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Surrey Board of Trade – International Trade Awards and Business Expo

Please visit our exhibit booth at the following event:

Surrey International Trade Awards

When: Thursday, September 13, 2018 – 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: Surrey, BC – Civic Hotel
Cost: FREE
Info: Surrey Board of Trade

SBOT_Inter_TradeAward_LogoJoin us in recognizing and celebrating recipients of the 10th Surrey International Trade Awards. Winners will be presented at a celebratory networking reception. Awards will be presented in “Small Business” and “Large Business” categories. Enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, make new business contacts, mingle with government representatives and consuls general, and celebrate the achievements of Surrey’s finest importers and exporters. The event will feature speaker presentations and an International Trade Show.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

3PL Third Party Logistics – A Strategic Expansion Partner

Doing Business in the U.S.A.

Successful international business expansion to the United States hinges on thoughtful, well informed pre-planning and reliable cross-border partnerships. Domestic and foreign accountants, immigration and business lawyers, customs brokers and logistics (marketing, warehousing, order fulfillment and distribution) specialists all play key roles in a Canadian company’s export success into the U.S.A. (Cross-border Resources).

Trade laws, regulations and policies dictate financial, business, immigration and import/export options and – under expert council, allow companies a certain level of decisiveness.  Logistics however, due to the nature of supply chain management, makes the deduction of risks and cost variables much more difficult to identify, particularly in a foreign market as large and diverse as the U.S.

Are U.S. Sales Worth the Risk?

The short answer is yes. Americans are back to work and they’re buying. Not only are they buying domestically but they’re buying foreign goods and services in greater quantities as well. In addition to the strong economy, exchange rates always make selling into the states beneficial (Exchange Rate). When the Loonie is low, you can invest Canadian capital more economically, and when it’s high, you can earn a premium on your USA sales. In addition to Americans shopping and favorable exchange rates, foreign manufactures are very anxious to sell into the booming USA economy too. Importing quality goods from Europe and Asia into the USA is another terrific business opportunity to consider. (Read more: “Eight reasons to expand to the USA – today!”)

How Do You Choose the Right Logistics Partner?

With so many 3PLs (Third Party Logistics) to choose from it’s important to match the logistics company’s expertise with your specific requirements. Like UCanTrade, Inc. many companies for example have multiple locations ‘dedicated to certain types of fulfillment’. In addition to expertise and warehousing capabilities the following questions will help determine how a 3PL ‘measures up’:

  • What are their order fulfillment strengths? B2B, B2C or both.
  • Which categories of goods do they specialize in handling? I.e. hard goods, pharma, food etc.
  • What types of shipping/handling methods do they use? I.e. ‘kit assembly, continuation plans’ etc.
  • Does their technology and systems support your fulfillment needs?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What size companies do they typically serve and how does that compare with your business?
  • Can they manage scalability and growth?

It’s very important that once you’ve shortlisted your 3PL candidates take a team and tour their facilities.

3PL As A Strategic Expansion Partner

An experienced business and logistics service provider (especially one based in the United States) becomes a strategic partner in your international business expansion enterprise weighing in on marketing, packaging, and pricing strategies, as well as planning for order returns/repairs. Their experience will help to mitigate the risks and distribution costs associated with selling and shipping goods and services in the states. The right 3PL will provide your business the ‘platform for growth and efficiency’ necessary in achieving sustainability selling to your US market and beyond.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

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Surrey Board of Trade International Trade Awards and Reception

It’s a privilege both to attend and to be an exhibitor at Surrey Board of Trade’s 10th International Trade Awards being held on Thursday, May 10th from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. This event not only recognizes and celebrates Surrey, B.C.’s best small and large importers and exporters but shines a spotlight on the economic benefits international trade offers Canadian companies.

We proudly join Canadian government representatives, consuls general and fellow trade exhibitors, who like UCanTrade, Inc., will be available to answer questions about doing business internationally and/or, in our case, address concerns specifically related to doing business with the U.S.A. We look forward to talking trade with you!

SBOT_Inter_TradeAward_Logo

Click here to register or for event details.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

How to Set Your U.S. Prices

By: Jim Pettinger, President UCanTrade, Inc.

For a foreign company entering the U.S. market, setting prices can be a challenge, especially when trying to factor in fluctuating exchange rates. There’s no simple answer, but most companies would do themselves a favor by setting aggressive prices, and then doing the marketing and sales work necessary to make profitable sales. A greet source of ideas can be found through the website of Holden Advisors. In a recent blog, contributor Richard Harrington advises: “Think What Price Can Do, Not What Price Should Be”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Logistics and Marketing To U.S.A.

Logistics and Marketing

More and more a company’s bottom line is impacted by its logistics; all those crucial steps between the inception of a great product/service and actually delivering it to the customer. Close consideration to process will optimize supply chain management and subsequently lower a business’ overall costs. “A well-researched and thoughtful logistics and distribution plan will save you lots of time,” advises SCORE VP and SBA blog contributor Bridget Pollack, and everyone in business knows time means money!

This is especially true if you plan on selling to an international market like the United States of America. “Logistics, or supply chain management, is becoming ever more crucial to business profit,” says Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc. Pettinger has been involved in cross-border enterprise between Canada and the U.S.A. since 1984, before NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and knows first-hand what it takes for startups, entrepreneurs and small to midsize companies alike to be sustainable in the American market. The United States – where arguably each state is like its own diverse little country, can be very lucrative with a thoughtful marketing and distribution strategy. Pollack advises, “[if your] business expands overseas (internationally) … getting your logistics in place as early as possible will certainly pay off in the long run in quicker order fulfillments, less wasted employee time and happier customers.” E-CommerceWhere hidden costs abound (almost as much as the opportunities), experience prevails. Partnering with trustworthy cross-border businesses such as customs brokers, immigration attorneys, accountants and logistics companies who can help inform your decisions, will set you on the right course toward cost effective and successful business expansion into the states and abroad.

Why UCanTrade?

UCanTrade Inc.’s primary objective is to facilitate Canadian companies, particularly those in British Columbia, to overcome the ‘border barrier’ and stretch their home offices into Washington State. We are a boutique U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services provider, in close proximity to Vancouver and B.C.’s lower-mainland. Our facilities are situated just off Interstate-5, and are close to all Blaine, WA border crossings, in Ferndale, WA.

Our array of services includes (but is not limited to): 60,000 square feet of Warehouse Space, Order Fulfillment/Pick-and-Pack, Freight Forwarding, Cross-Docking, Trade-Show Materials Storage, Shipping and Handling, Cross-Border Marketing Consulting and Product Returns/Repairs (Reverse Logistics).

We handle all sizes of freight from large overseas containers to small packages and regular business mail. Smaller than most fulfillment companies, we are nimble, capable and collaborate with our clients. Exporting is complicated. Tap into our network to find reliable cross-border resources and allow us to contribute our voice of experience to your logistics and distribution plan.

At UCanTrade, we love visitors! Please be our guest and allow us to take you on a tour of our three Whatcom County warehouse facilities. If you’re interested in more information or would like to visit, call us at (360) 380-6900, visit our website at www.UCanTrade.com or just drop in, we’ll be happy to see you.  UCanTrade’s main office is located at: 1465 Slater Rd, Ferndale, WA. Get Directions

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Source

Selling Into the USA: Easier Than You Think

By: Jim Pettinger

Have you considered the potential benefits of exporting your company’s products into the United States? If not, you may be neglecting the largest, richest and most responsive market in the world – a market that lies right at British Columbia’s doorstep.

Export from CanadaUnfortunately, many Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs are either confused or intimidated when they hear the words “export” or “international trade.” But with the right planning, small business owners in Canada can and should approach the U.S. like an extension of the Canadian market. Once you’ve developed some basic procedures for dealing with the international boundary, exporting to the U.S. can be both easy and lucrative.

A Huge and Receptive Market

The United States is a huge market of more than 300 million consumers who welcome foreign products. What’s more, the U.S. government is very cooperative when it comes to helping Canadian businesses get a foothold in U.S. markets.

As a Canadian business owner, you can readily obtain a B-1 visa that will enable you to travel within the U.S. for marketing and other business purposes for up to six months. And once you’ve gone through the appropriate security procedures (like basic fingerprinting and photographing), you can have access to fast-track border crossings unavailable to most other visitors.

The Canadian government has also instituted programs to help facilitate business across our southern border. In addition, Canadian businesses are generally well-respected in the U.S. and considered to be trustworthy. Canadian goods and services are often perceived to be of high quality and a “cut above” by U.S. customers.

Secret to Success: Think Domestic

The secret to successfully exporting your products or services to the U.S. is to “think domestic” by establishing a presence for your business in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical presence-you just need for your U.S. customers to perceive that your business has a presence south of the border.

In other words, you should organize all the logistics of your business so that American customers do not believe they will have any additional concerns in dealing with a Canadian firm. For example, they need to know that they can deal in U.S. dollars and have their products shipped from or returned to a U.S. address. All of your communications, logistics and other activities should be handled from a real or virtual U.S. branch office or warehouse.

Regardless of whether your U.S. branch or warehouse is real or virtual, having a U.S. presence will pay big dividends in cost savings, response time and control. You can plan ahead to anticipate storage of trade show booths and the purchase of collateral materials in the U.S., as well as for returns and repairs. And you can avoid headaches by shipping your products, literature and other material directly through your nearest U.S. port of entry.

It’s also crucial that you get to know the U.S. marketplace first-hand. Many Canadians think they know everything about the U.S. through what they see and hear in the media, but you can’t just start advertising to Americans from your Canadian base and expect immediate success. You need to spend some time with your “boots on the ground” conducting first-person research in potential new market areas in the U.S.

Also, remember that the United States is a huge market, so you must focus your limited resources. (Related article: Focus, focus, focus). Most Canadian success stories in the U.S. result from niche, rather than broad, marketing efforts. Your company’s specific niche market in the U.S. consists only of those prospects you can reasonably afford to reach.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?

Whether it was to catch a cheaper flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas or to shop at an I-5 outlet mall, since 2013 many British Columbians were flocking to the nearest lower-mainland border crossing and travelling to the states in search of a good deal.

Canadian dollar the loonieHowever, a weakened Loonie curbed many Canadian shoppers who’d been making the trip south of the border to stay home. Indeed throughout Washington State’s Whatcom County, retailers in border towns like Sumas, Blaine, Lynden and further south to Ferndale and Bellingham have seen dramatic drops in Canadian shoppers since 2013 (BPRI Winter 2017 Brief: Changes in Canadian Shopping Visits in Northwest Washington, 2013 to 2016).

Interestingly though the loonie has rallied in value to a little over 80 cents to the American dollar. Will we see a surge in cross-border activity again here in Whatcom County? We hope so! However, even in light of recent news, there’s more to the ‘cross-border currency’ story than shopping. Like SELLING! CADUSD20yrs

Historically the USD has dominated over the Loonie as reflected in this 20 year chart. (Source)

A paradigm shift. Can Canadians consider the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar (CAD) – USA Dollar (USD) not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity? They should! Here’s why.

Assuming all the proverbial ducks are in a row, ‘I’s dotted and ‘T’s crossed, the savvy B.C. business owner and entrepreneur stands to earn at least 20% more on their U.S. sales in part due to the favorable exchange rate.

“Here are the simple facts” says UCanTrade, Inc. president and dual citizen, Jim Pettinger: “(1) most U.S. land border crossings have been upgraded and are fully open for Canadian goods and people, (2) each sale you make for US$100 nets you C$120 or more, (3) your business presence in the U.S. can lead to a green card and dual-citizen status if you wish , and (4) American buyers (a) love Canadian goods, (b) have double the available money of their Canadian counterparts and (c) make their buying decisions at least  three times as fast.”

If history is an indicator then a long-term outlook is for a weak Loonie. Canadian companies need to immediately seize the opportunity to stake a position in the lucrative U.S. market. With careful planning, the initial cost can be minimal, but the payoff could be enormous.

Interested in learning more about doing business in the USA? Attend our next DBUSA Seminar &/or download this whitepaper “Ten Tips for Better Border Business”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade