So the latest trend for U.S. online retailers is to offer shopping in Canadian Dollars and Flat-Fee Shipping. Macy’s, Sears and Lowe’s have jumped on this bandwagon. Following J-Crews lead – and we know how they work
Don’t be fooled by the ads and do your research! Here are a couple of tips – to make it harder to do cross-border comparative shopping many of the on-line retailers either recognize your IP Address as being Canada based or place a “cookie” in your browser after you log in so you will only see the prices offered to Canadian cross-border shoppers and not those offered to American on-line shoppers. You have a couple of options here. If the retailer places a “cookie” in your browsing history you can delete the “cookie” or your browser history before trying to log into the U.S. site. You can also use two different browsers, say Firefox for Canadian and Chrome for U.S. browsing. If they are reading your IP Address I suggest you download an application like Hotspot Shield (free) or HideMyAss that spoofs your IP Address and makes the sites see you as being in the U.S.
So lets look at a couple of items to see what they are doing… Here are the same sandals as viewed through a U.S. based buyer and then a Canadian buyer using the Canadian Dollar and Shipping Options…
$39.98 is the price advertised on Macy’s U.S. site buying in U.S. Dollars and shipping to a “spoofed” Chicago Address.
When selecting the “Now Shipping to Canada” option with “shop in Canadian Dollars” the price of the item jumps to $47.58 – using today’s exchange rate the item should be $40.85 (this means that they are converting the Canadian dollar at 1.70) good deal for them already.
Now I do a fair bit of shipping in the U.S. – at a one-time USPS Postal Priority Mail rate for this item would be $32.95 so they are giving you a bit of a break but I would assume their cost, based on volume would be more like $15.00. HST on $47.58 is $6.18 and Duty on shoes is 0% so another $6.53 here. Best Deal of course is to buy more than $99.00 Dollars worth of goods and take advantage of the $9.95 Shipping Special.
So you are looking at a total of $38.76 difference or nearly twice the “base” price. Compare this with sending your items to CanAm and picking them up in Buffalo and savings are significant.