Canada Post might not have a reputation as the most tech-savvy company around, but it knows a good opportunity when it sees one.
The venerable 150-old mail carrier – which, strike threats and all, still delivers nearly two-thirds of Canadian parcels ordered online – announced a strategic partnership with Ottawa-based Shopify Inc. this week, in which Shopify customers will be able to purchase shipping labels through the cloud-based commerce platform provider at 40 per cent off the usual Canada Post rates.
“Canada Post and Shopify share a common goal of making shipping easy and inexpensive for Canadian entrepreneurs,” the crown corporation said in a Sept. 21 statement. “Being able to buy discounted postage in the same place merchants manage their shipping and fulfillment is an important step toward simplifying and improving the e-commerce experience for business owners.”
For Canada Post, the partnership represents another opportunity to innovate the way it conducts business, with the organization’s director of parcels and e-commerce solutions integration Valérie Normand comparing its current business model to that of a startup.
“Paying attention to what other innovators are doing – companies like Shopify – is critical to our future,” she said in the Sept. 21 release.
Shopify, meanwhile, views the partnership as an opportunity to streamline shipping and product delivery for its 21,000-plus customers across the country, who can now buy and print discounted Canada Post shipping labels without leaving the platform, developer lead Matthew King told ITBusiness.ca in an email.
He noted that while the company has provided customers with a Canada Post app for years, the app still required business owners to install it, configure packages, and fulfill orders outside Shopify.
“Supporting Canada Post directly within Shopify allows us to streamline the on-boarding process, provide a simplified fulfillment flow, and provide a single invoice to the merchant,” King wrote. “It’s all about making shipping easier so that Shopify merchants can focus on other aspects of growing their business.”
And if Canada Post’s mail carriers ever follow through on their occasional threats to strike, he said, Shopify customers will still be able to accept orders – though naturally, the company would then recommend alternate methods of delivery.