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March 16, 20170LogisticsSupply Chain



March 16, 2017 0LogisticsSupply Chain


Every level of success you achieve is confirmation to strive for even greater things. Your hard work and high-quality products have carved out a place in your local market, so it’s time to think about expanding your venture.

It may sound like a good idea to simply rinse and repeat in a new state or county, but we believe you can reach even higher. Going global is much easier than you may think! Exporting consumer goods to Canada can be a cost-effective and streamlined leap into international trade. TQS has the process down to an art.

If your international retail expansion requires you to duplicate your business identity in Canada, we’ll cover that process in a future blog post. This guide is for businesses which can sell their products through an intermediary retail store.

Let’s get started!


By now, you are well acquainted with your target demographic. You know their shopping habits, age, average household income, and a panoply of other details. Your target demographic in Canada will be much the same, but don’t check this box quite yet. Before you start shipping your goods to Canada, you need to make sure that A) the subtle differences in consumer interests won’t hurt your product viability, B) the market for similar products isn’t overly saturated, and C) your marketing strategy is localized.

Like most new endeavors these days, your alpha test of international trade in Canada should begin with a Google search. Here are a few of the things you should look for:

  • Competition
    • Products, prices, distinguishing factors, consumer reviews. The easiest way to ensure that your product niche exists on Canada is to see how well it’s already covered, and how you might differentiate your product from the rest.
      • Remember- even if there’s healthy competition, you aren’t out of luck. Refine your product, or simply out-advertise the competition.
  • Specific regions in Canada to target
    • Start in (and around) the most populous areas in Canada. The more foot traffic, the better.
    • Expand your search for regions in Canada under the most economic development- look for new residential areas, and nearby areas zoned for new retail centers. These will be the easiest areas to start out in.
    • Proximity to your U.S. distribution center.
  • Potential resellers to receive your goods
    • Storefronts, and personal contacts there; names, emails, addresses, websites.

You’re probably aware that search engines like Google strive to return the results most relevant to you, which are usually local results. This presents a problem when you specifically want search results from another country. The solution is to perform an Advanced Search on Google (or your search engine of choice). But don’t worry, it’s just as easy as a regular search- it only requires a few extra clicks:

First, do a normal search for your type of product:


Next, refine your search to show you retail stores in Canada:


Continuing your research in international trade, find out what States-side paperwork you need, such as a U.S. Export License. Missing or incomplete paperwork is the #1 reason for delays when clearing international borders.

To find out the exact documentation you’ll need, you should start at Export.gov. This website will give you information that is hard to find any other way, and may even answer questions you didn’t even know to ask. For example, they have an excellent resource for finding foreign markets and sales channels.

Also, get in touch with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the port where your shipments will cross the border into Canada.


Next, you’ll want to speak directly with the U.S. embassies and consulates in Canada. They are there mainly to help Americans who are traveling, studying, or doing business in Canada. They know local laws, local markets, and are chock full of resources (most of which are free), so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you get there.

Bring all of the data you’ve collected so far to your initial phone call/in-person consultation. Don’t worry if your preliminary research is incomplete; your game plan will be a work in progress, even after you’re making sales.

To that end, the U.S. Embassies in Canada will also have free research material, such as a Country Commercial Guide. This material will likely be more thorough than your own web search, and should also be dated, so you can see how current the research is.

Next, get in touch with a logistics expert…


You might be thinking that your venture, though successful locally, doesn’t have the volume necessary to make cost-effective international shipments.

Your competitors may be thinking the same thing. Which presents an opportunity.

This is where TQS becomes your secret weapon. Our goal is to enable you to reach your new market at a cost that makes you competitive with even local suppliers. You can focus on your eCommerce marketing, not on shipping logistics or customs compliance. One way we do this is to take orders – of any size – from several U.S. suppliers, and consolidate them onto one truck. You get the benefit of direct shipping lines, without the cost of reserving more volume than you need. Did I mention that we’re experts in customs compliance too? TQS will ensure that your shipments are fast-tracked through the clearance process, with all the documentation complete, so that your product reaches the end retailer in Canada as quickly as possible.

Now that you know the start and end points for your products, we’ll connect the dots. Though the embassies are invaluable resources, they don’t replace the need for a local logistics expert. You know your product thoroughly, and by now you should have a solid grasp on your target Canadian market. With this in hand, sign up for a free consultation with TQS. Our Non-Resident Importer program will ensure that you can distribute your goods at the absolute lowest cost possible, while streamlining all of your documentation and procedures.

From raw materials to end retailing, it’s easy to view the distribution segment as an afterthought. But a lot of time and money can either be lost or saved here. It’s a make-or-break step, particularly in international trade. And it’s our speciality.


In short, you’ll be doing research, connecting with the right experts and authorities, and forging new international trade opportunities. This process is an ongoing journey, but the first step can be the hardest. Let TQS pave the way. Get a free consultation to see what doors the Non-Resident Importer program can open for you!

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