BorderBuddy – Questions for Monty McCallum – Innovation Lead
Have you ever used the BorderBuddy app? Even if you haven’t, anyone who appreciates innovation, especially when it comes to cutting down or eliminating costs and frustration, will appreciate this interview. Monty McCallum is the Innovation Lead at BorderBuddy and chief architect of the BorderBuddy app.
Monty walks us through the genesis of the app, and why it was designed to delight cross-border consumers, importers, and exporters.
Q: Without giving away trade secrets, what does the BorderBuddy app do?
A: Monty McCallum: Our Shipping to Canada app, provides instant shipping rates at the time of checkout for Canadian customers wishing to buy from a Shopify powered webstore, that ship from the USA. The shipping rates include all customs charges so customers don’t have any surprise fees at the time of delivery.
Q: What can you tell me about the technology and how it works for users on the front end?
A: Monty McCallum:
- For merchants,
- Go to the Shopify app store and download our app
- Follow a few onboarding steps to sign up with BorderBuddy
- For customers,
- Go to the merchants website, place an item in your cart and go to checkout
- The customer then adds an address with Canada as the country for the ‘ship to’ address
- Choose from three shipping choices, see example here.
- Pay for the order
After this is complete, BorderBuddy’s app charges the shipping amount to the merchant and sends them a shipping label and a commercial invoice to attach to the package. The merchant ships the package and the carrier scans the shipment when it takes possession. Our app then updates the order as fulfilled. Our app then sends the customs documents into our Customs business systems where our certified customs brokers will submit the declaration on behalf of the importer to CBSA. Shipment gets delivered and you have a happy customer.
Q: What did you want to achieve/what are/were the goals of the BorderBuddy app?
A: Monty McCallum:
We have many goals. We aim to stop carrier ransom where carriers will hold a package until they get paid for exorbitant customs brokerage fees and eliminate surprise charges for all Canadian ecommerce shoppers.
Q: How many iterations has it had? When was it created?
A: Monty McCallum: Hundreds with iterations deploying daily / It took 18 months to engineer and get registered on the Shopify network, and was deployed to production with our first merchant onboarded in August 2021.
Q: Why did you create new technology rather than relying on existing technologies?
A: Monty McCallum – Out of necessity! There is and was no existing technology to be able to do what we are doing, so we had to create it.
Many thanks to Monty for taking the time to explore and explain BorderBuddy’s powerful app technology. Of particular interest, he created it to “stop carrier ransom”! No one likes that, and similar benefits with the BorderBuddy customer in mind are part of why thousands of people are turning to BorderBuddy to make their cross-border importing seamless, painless, and free of unpleasant surprises.