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

Private business ownership is on the decline

Private business ownership is on the decline (with one possible exception – boomers and seniors)

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to many sources, private business ownership in the USA (and likely everywhere) is declining. Many reasons are cited, but our experience indicates increasing complexity and risk in two areas: technology and legal burden/liability. The former requires greatly increased up-front investment in people, education, equipment and software, all of which quickly depreciate; while the latter means more government and higher insurance premiums plus various other related costs. Both also require a greatly increased share of management time. Our favorite bastion of free enterprise is Texas, which has published this related article, Entrepreneurship on the Decline.

One possible exception to this trend is the number of boomers and seniors forming businesses, not only because they have the know-how and desire, but also because most feel they will need the extra income to “retire” and pay for medical expenses. One supporter of this trend is Wendy Mayhew who organizes the Wise 50 Over 50 Award and also provides other services for Canadian “Seniors in Business”.

One quibble we have in this context is with the deliberately confusing use of politically correct or misleading/misdirecting terms. “Entrepreneurs” don’t have legal liabilities; business owners do. And related, we would like to see more encouragement of “wealth creation” and less of “job creation”. We would also like to see the increasingly used term “Free Market” share the stage with (and not supplant) “Free Enterprise”. As President Reagan titled his famous 1977 speech at Hillsdale College, Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise. Let’s call it like it is!

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

 

Another reason to expand/relocate your business to the USA?

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to a recent article in Business in Vancouver, a minority government in BC could be the “Worst fear for BC Business”. Besides creating more uncertainty, they indicate that the “Future of some major resource and infrastructure projects would be in doubt under a government dependent on co-operation of opposition parties.”

If they hadn’t already made plans based on the continuing weak loonie and increasingly strong U.S. economy, savvy BC business entrepreneurs will view this additional news as a strong signal to seek business and marketing opportunities in the USA. And, for those worried that the new president will close the border, our advice is GET OVER IT! While some trading relationships will obviously be reviewed, U.S. businesses and consumers will continue to consume foreign goods and services in even greater volume. Start planning right now to earn your fair share of the predicted extra-heavy fall and holiday buying season.

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

 

Doing Business in the USA – Seminar

Canadian companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs who attend this ‘fast-paced’ seminar will learn from cross-border experts how to ‘determine an export strategy’ and ‘understand their responsibilities’ to U.S. government agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration.

Professional veteran cross-border immigration and business lawyers, accountants, customs brokers and logistics providers will guide attendees through the steps of exporting into the U.S.A., as well as be on hand to answer questions and offer consultation.

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time
Place: Hyatt Vancouver, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2R7
Fee: $75.00 CAD plus GST (per attendee)

Questions?  Contact us at (360) 380-6900 for more information or,

CLICK FOR EVENT INFO / TO REGISTER

The Doing Business in the USA seminar is presented by:

dbusa
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1983.

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

Order Returns – Cause and Effect

Attributed to the overwhelming increase in e-commerce holiday orders, UPS has hailed January 5th ‘National Returns Day’ because of the volume of product returns it manages during the first week of January – in particular on the 5th.

Ecommerce is on the rise and it’s not only putting increased pressure on shipping couriers like FedEx and UPS but the entire supply chain (Related Article: A Logistics Revolution). While business increases all parties struggle to adapt to the demand. In order to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ both shipping giants have partnered with specialized companies, like UCanTrade, Inc., to better control the costs and challenges presented by “reverse logistics”.

Further, their specialized third party logistics (3PL) partners work closely with retailers/e-tailers to establish (among other things) an effective return policy to best maximize their profits. “[An] easy-to-use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said UPS chief marketing officer Teresa Finley.

This is especially true for Canadian (e-commerce) companies exporting their goods to the U.S. and selling to American consumers; notorious for their high customer service expectations. An effective return policy can give exporters a competitive advantage not only with other Canadian businesses but also with US retailers as well. (Related Article: Return to Sender – What’s Your Policy?)

Consider your supply chain, the cause and effect of returns and then manage it in both directions – there AND back.

UCanTrade, Inc. is a boutique, third-party logistics and warehousing services provider situated 15 minutes south of the B.C. / Washington State, Blaine border crossings. Proudly providing business and logistics services to Canadian importers and exporters, since 1984.

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 Article)

New Research Provides Dramatic Views of the US Market

Many Canadian and other foreign companies are intimidated by the sheer size and scope of the U.S. market. In most cases, companies simply cannot afford to target the entire market. Often, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” when planning the worth of either traveling or shipping to different areas of the country.

A recent article by National Geographic describes brilliant new research published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The authors present data on U.S. “megaregions” based on their analysis of census data on over 4 million commutes of American workers. One amazing graphic is presented below; several others can be found on the two websites linked earlier in this paragraph.

U.S. Megaregions
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 Beat Goes On’

By: Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

sonnyandcherRecent reports about the continuing slow Canadian economy and increased consumer optimism in the United States lead to one simple conclusion – the beat still goes on for Canadian exporters and traders wishing to earn extra valuable greenbacks. With the U.S. Christmas selling season now starting on Labor Day, there is no time to waste. According to www.xmasclock.com you have roughly 100 days to still cash in. (Sonny and Cher – The Beat Goes On – circa 1967)

Link: Canada Economic Forecast
Link: US consumer confidence in August highest in 11 months
Link: U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Jumps To Post-Recession High

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

U.S. Online Sales Offer Canadians Big Profit Opportunities

Exporting to the United States presents a tremendous growth opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs and e-tailers, but selling across the border has to be done carefully to avoid excess costs. For over 32 years, UCanTrade, Inc. has been the regional leader in providing support services for Canadian businesses exporting to the U.S. in Western North America. We have the experience and the infrastructure to help your company profitably sell your product to the American market, and avoid the expensive pitfalls that can come with doing business across the border.

Why sell your products to customers in the United States? The simple answer is market potential. The United States is a huge market for e-commerce. The US Census Bureau estimates that in the second quarter of 2016 alone, US e-commerce sales will amount to $97 Billion, USD.

UCanTrade.com

UCanTrade.com

To compare the US and Canadian markets, Statistics Canada predicts that by year-end 2016 Canadian retail e-commerce orders will be $34.4 Billion (CAD). Adjusted with August 2016 Bank of Canada’s average exchange rate of 1.29943636 CAD per USD, $34.4 Billion (CAD) equals approximately $47 Billion USD.  Not only are non-export Canadian e-tailers missing out on sales opportunities by volume but they’re also missing out on higher revenue by not earning sales in U.S. dollars.

Canadian e-tailers can realize considerable profits if the costs of international shipping and customs compliance are controlled, and buyer confidence is assured with the backing of an established stateside, U.S. business presence. For almost three decades, UCanTrade, Inc. has been the leader in helping Canadian exporters overcome these kinds of border barriers.  Attend our upcoming seminar or call us to learn more about how we can help you do business in the U.S.A.

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

Optimize For Customers. Optimize Your Business.

So much more than business analysis or software upgrades, optimizing your business means taking a global approach to reviewing the processes required to satisfy your customers’ needs.

By definition, to optimize, is to make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).  “It is not something only for the big companies,” says Casian Glavce, General Manager at Hewitt Material Handling, “if you do not optimize, you’re not going to be in business.”  This is particularly true for small and medium exporters where the supply chain process is very involved and oversights can cripple a business.

Packaging optimization for example, which is often overlooked, can significantly impact a company’s transportation costs which ultimately impacts pricing, one of the most important decisions a business owner has to make.  Inefficient order fulfillment can also be costly.

UCT Ops Mgr, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

UCanTrade’s Operations Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

JR White, director, solutions engineering at KNAPP explains, “With the ecommerce orders … items can’t just be dumped into a shipping carton willy-nilly. There is a logical order to the packing that prevents damage and ensures the order arrives neatly presented to the customer. In other words, the shoes are not on top of the shirts.  That’s the first thing the customer sees and if you screw that up they’re not going to like it. They’re going to complain about it online and then ten other people aren’t going to shop here—all because of one missed order.” Accurate, considerate order fulfillment dramatically impact a company’s sales and market sustainability.

Through an ‘export lens’, trade experts and government organizations can provide invaluable assistance to help you outline your ‘best, most effective’ plan, to both optimize for your customer’s needs while simultaneously optimizing your business goals and returns on investments.

Interested in doing business in the United States?  Learn more at our upcoming seminar, October 19, 2016 in Richmond, B.C. Canada.  (Click HERE for more information.)

(Related: Six Eyes On Every BoxHow Much Should I Charge My U.S. Customers? )

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 article)