E-commerce giant eBay says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to take a stand on the ongoing labour dispute between Canada Post and its biggest unions.
Small and medium-sized online sellers have been scrambling to find alternative delivery arrangements ever since the union issued a 72-hour strike notice last week.
But what exactly does that mean?
What kinds of alternatives are there available for sellers to keep their products moving?
Online seller feels the pressure of impending strike
KeiiekPetTags small business owner, Paige Graham, sells durable personal pet identification tags in various designs through Etsy. She says her primary customers are in the U.S. and Canada, but she does often ship worldwide as well.
Graham says working through Etsy has been great up until now, but the threat of a Canada Post strike would cause some issues for her.
“I have the option to buy Canada Post labels straight from Etsy. This provides a slight discount from Canada Post and gives me the convenience of simply filling out package information and then printing the label from my label printer at home. Etsy does not have anything set up with other couriers to do this.
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However, if a strike happens, I won’t have the simplicity of printing Canada Post labels via Etsy available to me. Now, the solution would be to go to another courier but this is not so simple for those at least in Ottawa… In fact, the only other couriers in Ottawa will charge upwards of $25 minimum for me to send a small bubble mailer weighing less than 0.012kg, compared to Canada Post which would charge just under $6. “
She says she has a plan in place if Canada Post service is halted, but is hoping she won’t have to enforce it.
“I will be emailing buyers that have open orders with me and give them the option to either, wait out the strike, receive a refund, or ask that they pay the difference in shipping with another courier. As for who I’ve picked to ship my items, that is still completely up in the air. I’m hoping more than anything that service does not get disrupted.”
Seller solutions: what options do small businesses have?
Sellers are reaching out to one another for advice and suggestions of how to get around the Canada Post disruption, especially when shipping over the border.
- “You could offer alternatives such as FedEx, Purolator, UPS, etc. but they will run into having to pay duties and custom fees. Another option could be that you make sure customers are informed of the strike (potential) and ask if they want to wait until the strike is over.”
- “Being from Canada… I survived the last postal disruption by offering my customers a FREE bracelet. Each and every one loved the idea and didn’t mind leaving the order and wait for the bonus gift.”
- “Your alternative options for shipping during a possible strike are teaming up with other sellers who are crossing the border, sending things via courier to your closest Chit Chats or similar service, or charging people courier rates. That’s about it.”
Quick list: services available to ship without Canada Post
National alternatives shipping within Canada (with some shipping outside as well):
B.C. Specific alternatives:
Richmond: Chit Chats