Why Sell on Amazon Canada

and How To Do It

When U.S Amazon sellers want to expand internationally, the first expansion tends to be Canada. After all, Canada is right above us, but is this really a good idea? More importantly how?

If you’re currently selling on Amazon US, you must have noticed a little drop down in the top center-left where you can choose between Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.mx. It’s almost like you already have a store in these marketplaces even if you’ve never clicked on the option.

Selling To Canada Is Worth It!

Canada is the second biggest country in terms of surface area in the world (right after Russia) with a population that is a little over 10% of the USA. Don’t let this number scoff you off. Being able to access new customers with a culture that’s fairly similar to the US is sure to increase your overall number of sales.

According to digital marketing agency Rethink eCommerce surveyed earlier this year 42% of Canadian household has an Amazon Prime membership and 64% of people surveyed search Amazon to find a new product. Research has also shown that in 2018, over 30,000 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses collectively exceeded over $900 million in sales on Amazon Canada’s online stores. That number is only expected to grow as reporting for 2019 comes to a close. What do these statistics means to sellers? This proves that Canadians are accustomed to shopping on Amazon and as a result sellers in the market are doing well.

Lower Competition Advantage

Before making a decision to expand to Amazon.ca, you should take a look at the niches you would be selling in to see how fierce your competition is. You might be surprised and find that a lot of competitor on Amazon.com are not selling in Canada, which allow you to get a bigger share of the market. The lower competition also translates to your ability to garner reviews. Let’s look at an example:

Here, we see the identical products being sold on both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. There is quite a substantial difference in the number of reviews between the two listings. It boils down to the fact that it’s much easier to obtain the number of reviews that would be sufficient to rival a top product in Canada then it is in the US. 

Look at it this way: if you were doing product research and you stumbled upon a niche that has a top seller of over 3000 reviews you may immediately think it’s too competitive and there’s no way to get onto page one of listings for a certain keyword. Comparatively speaking, you would be less intimidated when the top seller only has 230 reviews, right? That goes to show how you can conceivably carve out a bigger piece of the pie in the Canadian market.

Another highly beneficial detail when it comes to reviews is that you can have reviews from Amazon.com displayed on your Amazon.ca listing. These reviews won’t count towards the Amazon.ca listing, but they will be visible for shoppers to further read in the product page.. Your potential customers will also have the option to see all the reviews from Amazon.com with just 1 click.

There is a requirement for this feature, and you can find the instructions here, The most important thing is that the items listed on both markets have the same external product ID like a UPC or an EAN code.

The Pricing Strategy

Another aspect of selling on Amazon.ca is dealing in Canadian dollars (CND). The exchange rate for CND to USD is about 0.75, as of today. It’s important to keep that in mind when you are formulating your price, but simply multiplying your Amazon.com price by 1.25 isn’t really the way to go. There are more costs associated with selling in Canada and it’s usually reflected in the price. Let’s take a look at an example.

Amazon Canada vs Amazon US

Here, we have a Joseph Joseph rolling pin, one of the many great private label success stories on Amazon. Both of these listings are owned by the account “Joseph Joseph”, so we know that the same people who priced the item on Amazon.com also priced it on Amazon.ca. As you can see, the price for Amazon.ca isn’t derived from a simple 1.25 multiplication. Rather, the price is over two times more in CND, compared to USD. Most importantly, it seems to also be doing quite well, regardless of the higher price tag. To be exact, if we use the current standard exchange rate, the price for the rolling pin on Amazon.ca would be equal to $24.18 USD. That’s quite a bit more than the $15.71 price listed on Amazon.com.

The reason is that there are additional expenses involved, such as duties and taxes, which results in Canadian Amazon shoppers often being accustomed to paying more. In short, you stand to get a decent, if not better, margin by selling in Canada. 

Here’s a tip: before setting your prices, calculate your fees for Amazon.ca using the fee calculator. You should also consider all the various psychological factors associated with pricing and certain digits. Read our blog post on the psychology of pricing strategies on Amazon right here.

Getting Your Inventory Across the Border

From your Amazon Seller Central account, listing an item on Amazon.ca is straightforward. You simply add a product, create your listing, and create a shipping plan as you normally would. However, in order for your inventory to get across the border to your Designated FBA warehouse, you will need to meet some requirements. The same goes if you wish to fulfill your own orders.

1.) Getting a business number (BN) – This is a relatively straightforward process that can be done online, and it doesn’t take longer than a few minutes.

2.) Identifying the goods you want to import – You will need all available information about your inventory so that it can be easily classified and identified for tariffs and duties once it crosses the border. You can either prepare your own documentation or find a licensed customs broker to do it for you. Here is a list of brokers approved by the Canada Border Services Agency.

3.) Proving the country of origin – This might not just be confirming the country where the items were manufactured. It can also apply to individual parts or where all of the parts were assembled. You can find a list of the requirements for the proof of origins documentation here.

4.) You need to make sure that the goods you are importing are permitted for import into Canada – This is one of the first things you should look into if you intend to sell your products on Amazon.ca or in Canada in general. If you are selling ordinary consumer items, you should not expect to run into any roadblocks. However, it’s still wise to be 100% sure before moving on. You can find all the necessary information about prohibited products here.

5.) Determine if your products are subject to any special permits, regulations, or restrictions -In some cases, this can get a bit tricky since you may need to deal with more than one government agency. You can take a look at this list which contains information on common types of items that require permits and/or are subject to regulation, along with the corresponding government agents for advice.

Canadian Tax
Paying Canadian Taxes

Canada has a very specific tax system when it comes to selling goods in the country. There are taxes that are paid on a national level and ones that are enforced by specific provinces. Taxes can be split into four main groups, and sellers may fall into three different categories. Learn how you can save money on GST payments here.

Create a Localized Strategy

You might be thinking that you can just copy and paste the listing you currently have on Amazon.com, and that would work on Amazon.ca just fine. That’s not necessarily the case. Copying the listings exactly might be easy, but you have to keep in mind that not all the keywords contained in your original listing are popular keywords among Canadians.

Go through your listing copy and do some additional keyword research to optimize your listing. The differences should be minimal—at least for English. According to the last census, 21.3% of Canadians consider French to be their mother tongue.

If you’ve been doing your job selling on Amazon.com well, then you’ve faced a similar situation. Just as a portion of the Canadian population speaks French as their first language, a portion of the American population speaks Spanish as their first language—41 million people to be precise.

Being on top of your keyword research in the US means you might have some Spanish keywords featured in your PPC campaigns and your backend. If you do your keyword research right on your Amazon.ca niche, you’re guaranteed to come across a decent number of keywords in French. It’s common to use the secondary language keywords in the portion of your listing that isn’t visible (the “backend”) and with PPC.

Communication and Customer Service

There are other aspects of your Amazon business where you can take advantage of language and score extra points with your consumer base. If you are using an email service to ask customers for a review, consider writing a single email with both English and French. Americans expect emails to solely feature their primary language, but the double feature is nothing new to Canadians. While an English-speaking Canadian will think nothing of it, a French-speaking Canadian might sincerely appreciate the effort and even become a  repeat customer in the future. This is a tactic to edge out a competitor that doesn’t have a substantial lead in the number of reviews.

This ability to go the extra mile (or rather the extra kilometer) can greatly impact your sales and growth in the Canadian market. It also wouldn’t hurt to just have someone who speaks French fluently on hand to occasionally respond to a customer e-mail or a review. You don’t necessarily need to hire someone full-time. You can always bother a friend who speaks French and have them type a message that you can copy and paste in response to customers.  Google Translate also seems to work well.

Summary

In conclusion, Canada is a big place with fewer people than you might expect. Don’t let the population deceive you, Canada is a great opportunity to grow your e-commerce business.  Of course, like any marketplaces you need to make sure that you have a product that stands a chance in Canada.

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business where that came from.

Follow Us

Why Sell on Amazon Canada

and How To Do It

When U.S Amazon sellers want to expand internationally, the first expansion tends to be Canada. After all, Canada is right above us, but is this really a good idea? More importantly how?

If you’re currently selling on Amazon US, you must have noticed a little drop down in the top center-left where you can choose between Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.mx. It’s almost like you already have a store in these marketplaces even if you’ve never clicked on the option.

Selling To Canada Is Worth It!

Canada is the second biggest country in terms of surface area in the world (right after Russia) with a population that is a little over 10% of the USA. Don’t let this number scoff you off. Being able to access new customers with a culture that’s fairly similar to the US is sure to increase your overall number of sales.

According to digital marketing agency Rethink eCommerce surveyed earlier this year 42% of Canadian household has an Amazon Prime membership and 64% of people surveyed search Amazon to find a new product. Research has also shown that in 2018, over 30,000 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses collectively exceeded over $900 million in sales on Amazon Canada’s online stores. That number is only expected to grow as reporting for 2019 comes to a close. What do these statistics means to sellers? This proves that Canadians are accustomed to shopping on Amazon and as a result sellers in the market are doing well.

Lower Competition Advantage

Before making a decision to expand to Amazon.ca, you should take a look at the niches you would be selling in to see how fierce your competition is. You might be surprised and find that a lot of competitor on Amazon.com are not selling in Canada, which allow you to get a bigger share of the market. The lower competition also translates to your ability to garner reviews. Let’s look at an example:

Here, we see the identical products being sold on both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. There is quite a substantial difference in the number of reviews between the two listings. It boils down to the fact that it’s much easier to obtain the number of reviews that would be sufficient to rival a top product in Canada then it is in the US. 

Look at it this way: if you were doing product research and you stumbled upon a niche that has a top seller of over 3000 reviews you may immediately think it’s too competitive and there’s no way to get onto page one of listings for a certain keyword. Comparatively speaking, you would be less intimidated when the top seller only has 230 reviews, right? That goes to show how you can conceivably carve out a bigger piece of the pie in the Canadian market.

Another highly beneficial detail when it comes to reviews is that you can have reviews from Amazon.com displayed on your Amazon.ca listing. These reviews won’t count towards the Amazon.ca listing, but they will be visible for shoppers to further read in the product page.. Your potential customers will also have the option to see all the reviews from Amazon.com with just 1 click.

There is a requirement for this feature, and you can find the instructions here, The most important thing is that the items listed on both markets have the same external product ID like a UPC or an EAN code.

The Pricing Strategy

Another aspect of selling on Amazon.ca is dealing in Canadian dollars (CND). The exchange rate for CND to USD is about 0.75, as of today. It’s important to keep that in mind when you are formulating your price, but simply multiplying your Amazon.com price by 1.25 isn’t really the way to go. There are more costs associated with selling in Canada and it’s usually reflected in the price. Let’s take a look at an example.

Amazon Canada vs Amazon US

Here, we have a Joseph Joseph rolling pin, one of the many great private label success stories on Amazon. Both of these listings are owned by the account “Joseph Joseph”, so we know that the same people who priced the item on Amazon.com also priced it on Amazon.ca. As you can see, the price for Amazon.ca isn’t derived from a simple 1.25 multiplication. Rather, the price is over two times more in CND, compared to USD. Most importantly, it seems to also be doing quite well, regardless of the higher price tag. To be exact, if we use the current standard exchange rate, the price for the rolling pin on Amazon.ca would be equal to $24.18 USD. That’s quite a bit more than the $15.71 price listed on Amazon.com.

The reason is that there are additional expenses involved, such as duties and taxes, which results in Canadian Amazon shoppers often being accustomed to paying more. In short, you stand to get a decent, if not better, margin by selling in Canada. 

Here’s a tip: before setting your prices, calculate your fees for Amazon.ca using the fee calculator. You should also consider all the various psychological factors associated with pricing and certain digits. Read our blog post on the psychology of pricing strategies on Amazon right here.

Getting Your Inventory Across the Border

From your Amazon Seller Central account, listing an item on Amazon.ca is straightforward. You simply add a product, create your listing, and create a shipping plan as you normally would. However, in order for your inventory to get across the border to your Designated FBA warehouse, you will need to meet some requirements. The same goes if you wish to fulfill your own orders.

1.) Getting a business number (BN) – This is a relatively straightforward process that can be done online, and it doesn’t take longer than a few minutes.

2.) Identifying the goods you want to import – You will need all available information about your inventory so that it can be easily classified and identified for tariffs and duties once it crosses the border. You can either prepare your own documentation or find a licensed customs broker to do it for you. Here is a list of brokers approved by the Canada Border Services Agency.

3.) Proving the country of origin – This might not just be confirming the country where the items were manufactured. It can also apply to individual parts or where all of the parts were assembled. You can find a list of the requirements for the proof of origins documentation here.

4.) You need to make sure that the goods you are importing are permitted for import into Canada – This is one of the first things you should look into if you intend to sell your products on Amazon.ca or in Canada in general. If you are selling ordinary consumer items, you should not expect to run into any roadblocks. However, it’s still wise to be 100% sure before moving on. You can find all the necessary information about prohibited products here.

5.) Determine if your products are subject to any special permits, regulations, or restrictions -In some cases, this can get a bit tricky since you may need to deal with more than one government agency. You can take a look at this list which contains information on common types of items that require permits and/or are subject to regulation, along with the corresponding government agents for advice.

Canadian Tax
Paying Canadian Taxes

Canada has a very specific tax system when it comes to selling goods in the country. There are taxes that are paid on a national level and ones that are enforced by specific provinces. Taxes can be split into four main groups, and sellers may fall into three different categories. Learn how you can save money on GST payments here.

Create a Localized Strategy

You might be thinking that you can just copy and paste the listing you currently have on Amazon.com, and that would work on Amazon.ca just fine. That’s not necessarily the case. Copying the listings exactly might be easy, but you have to keep in mind that not all the keywords contained in your original listing are popular keywords among Canadians.

Go through your listing copy and do some additional keyword research to optimize your listing. The differences should be minimal—at least for English. According to the last census, 21.3% of Canadians consider French to be their mother tongue.

If you’ve been doing your job selling on Amazon.com well, then you’ve faced a similar situation. Just as a portion of the Canadian population speaks French as their first language, a portion of the American population speaks Spanish as their first language—41 million people to be precise.

Being on top of your keyword research in the US means you might have some Spanish keywords featured in your PPC campaigns and your backend. If you do your keyword research right on your Amazon.ca niche, you’re guaranteed to come across a decent number of keywords in French. It’s common to use the secondary language keywords in the portion of your listing that isn’t visible (the “backend”) and with PPC.

Communication and Customer Service

There are other aspects of your Amazon business where you can take advantage of language and score extra points with your consumer base. If you are using an email service to ask customers for a review, consider writing a single email with both English and French. Americans expect emails to solely feature their primary language, but the double feature is nothing new to Canadians. While an English-speaking Canadian will think nothing of it, a French-speaking Canadian might sincerely appreciate the effort and even become a  repeat customer in the future. This is a tactic to edge out a competitor that doesn’t have a substantial lead in the number of reviews.

This ability to go the extra mile (or rather the extra kilometer) can greatly impact your sales and growth in the Canadian market. It also wouldn’t hurt to just have someone who speaks French fluently on hand to occasionally respond to a customer e-mail or a review. You don’t necessarily need to hire someone full-time. You can always bother a friend who speaks French and have them type a message that you can copy and paste in response to customers.  Google Translate also seems to work well.

Summary

In conclusion, Canada is a big place with fewer people than you might expect. Don’t let the population deceive you, Canada is a great opportunity to grow your e-commerce business.  Of course, like any marketplaces you need to make sure that you have a product that stands a chance in Canada.

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business where that came from