Every few months, my sister and I would hop in my Mazda, coffee and Nexus cards in hand to go cross-border shopping in Buffalo. But since the border has been closed for over a year to non-essential travel, I knew I had to find a workaround to order from Target’s website. If you’re curious on how to order online from Target to Canada, I’m sharing my experience using two ship forward companies, CrossBorder Pickups and Shippsy, as well as some tips on how to save on duties and taxes!
Shippsy Review: How to order online from Target to Canada
My new go-to service for ordering from Target is Shippsy. How does Shippsy work? You sign up for a free address, and will be assigned an account number. You can use this address to shop online at Target, and when the package comes in to the Shippsy centre in Niagara Falls, NY, you will be notified. Following that, they will require the package information, and you will need to provide a copy of your invoice and itemize all of the items in your package, including the amounts. Your invoice can be found in the orders section on the Target website, and I usually print it to PDF. Remember to not include local NY state sales tax!
Shippsy used to take pictures of the contents of each package, but due to volumes they are now foregoing that step. Once you submit your invoice and details, any duties and taxes will be shown and you must pay those fees along with Shippsy’s fees to have the items sent over to Canada. My only gripe so far with the service is that you have to buy credits to pre-pay for these fees, but you can enter any amount – so my last order I loaded enough credits to completely cover my packages.
I’ve attached some screenshots below from my latest order to give an idea of how the invoice itemization works, and my total fee (in Canadian currency) at the end on a $118 USD order, consisting of 3 packages which I consolidated.
In the example above, I was charged VAT of $7.19 because I couldn’t classify my Minnidip inflatable pool! However, I did the math on my own (more on that below) and it checked out!
Once the items arrive in Canada, you can either have the package mailed to you, or you can pick up from their Mississauga or Markham locations for free. Shippsy has an overview of their pricing on their website, but if I’m shipping 2 or more packages from Target, it is $4.99 per package when consolidating orders. Keep in mind, Target will often send your order in multiple (sometimes 3-5 packages), so this fee can add up and it’s a bit or a surprise in how Target ships your items! I try to mitigate this by choosing items with the same estimated delivery day, and sometimes have the option to consolidate my shipments and save $1.
If you’re interested in trying out Shippsy – you can sign up using my personal referral link here.
CrossBorder Pickups Review
CrossBorder Pickups is another service that will forward your items from the USA to the GTA. You get a free address to ship your items to, and when they arrive, you need to itemize your package and provide an invoice, where you will be assessed duty fees. CrossBorder Pick Ups charges you depending on the size of your package, and I have found that Target is all over the map in terms of putting small items in large boxes! There is a little element of risk here, and it’s sadly impossible to control how Target ships your items.
Shippsy vs CrossBorder Pickups
I have used CrossBorder Pickups 3 times and Shippsy once. Overall, I would continue to use Shippsy because their rates are lower per package, cost only $4.99 per package when you consolidate 2+ packages, they have a flat rate for any size box, and there is no cost to consolidate either. I found their service to also be a little bit faster and cheaper, however the “credits” system of payment can be improved. Both services have great websites, and I appreciate that you can indicate whether an item was made in a USMCA country, as well as the category of product.
Ordering from Target’s Website to Canada: Tips to avoid Duty Fees
Ever since the USMCA or “new NAFTA” came into force, shipments are now duty free up to $150.00 Canadian. My #1 tip on how to avoid duty fees ordering from Target online to Canada is to only spend about $115-120 USD per order, or split up your orders. This way, you fall under the personal exemption, and are only subject to local HST!
Of course, sometimes items like furniture, rugs and clothing can be higher, but I like to use this as a benchmark and have not had to deal with high duty fees. Another great tip is when you itemize your invoice/customs info on the CrossBorder Pickups or Shippsy websites, take the time to be incredibly detailed as some items like childrens’ clothing, baby gear, shoes and medical items have very low duty rates or none. I have personally found that both CrossBorder Pickups and Shippsy are very good at applying the proper duty rates.
Indicating the item’s origin is also important, and if the item is made in the United States, Canada or Mexico, it will also be exempt from duty fees per the USCMA. I have reached out to Shippsy to consider also exempting items made in EU countries that would be covered under the CETA agreement, but so far they only apply the USMCA exemptions.
If you want to save on HST, you can even spend under $40 Canadian and it will be completely tax-free (you would only pay for the shipping forwarding service), however I find I usually do orders of $150 Canadian at Target every couple months and prefer to consolidate everything. None of the above is meant to be legal or brokerage advice, and is based on my personal experiences. Please make sure to consult the CBSA website for more.
What I ordered from Target’s website to Toronto
Over the past few orders from Target online to Toronto, I have ordered a true medley of items! For clothing, I adore the cozy Universal Thread sweaters I bought near Christmastime, as well as the Universal Thread blouse (wearing in the picture above, now on clearance) and Universal Thread floral dress I bought this summer. I take the time to read reviews and make sure they will fit, as I have not attempted a return yet! Target has a great return policy though, and I would personally elect to keep the tags on and return for store credit once it’s safe to travel to my Niagara Falls target in the future!
For home items, I have picked up decor pieces from Opalhouse, and some picnic gear including an adorable metal condiment caddy from their Sun Squad line. I also recently purchased an adult-sized Minnidip inflatable pool, that I plan on using on hot days at the cottage. I also picked up Differin Gel which is only available by Rx in Canada! The Minnidip pool was only $40 USD and to buy it online on Amazon Canada would have been $100+, so ordering with CrossBorder Pickups or Shippsy is definitely the way to go!
If you have any questions about how to order online from Target to Canada, please leave a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram. Happy shopping!