Selling Internationally on… Amazon

The international selling program on Amazon is known as Amazon Global Selling. Essentially it’s a collection of services and tools that help Amazon’s marketplaces sellers to expand to their 16 marketplaces. The available locations on Amazon are as follows:

Europe:

Asia-Pacific

Middle East:

Americas:

These marketplaces serve many customers in both the country and the regions. Those 6 European marketplaces currently serve 28 countries. With Amazon being the number one ecommerce site in many of these countries it makes sense for retailers to test selling via Amazon.

Accounts

In order to sell on an Amazon marketplace you need an account that is specific to that location. Fortunately, selling into Europe means you only need one European account. The same is true for the US, Canada and Mexico, but for all of Amazon’s other marketplace you’ll need to set up an account on that marketplace, even if you area already an Amazon seller.
The process can be time consuming as you need to comply with Amazon’s regulations and identification requirements. If you’ve already registered as an Amazon seller you likely have all the information you need but it can still be a pain getting these set up. That said, it’s well worth the time investment.

One thing to note, if you are planning on selling into the America’s or Europe and only speak English, you should register on the UK & US marketplaces and manage the regional accounts from there so that you can use English across the region. Other countries like Japan offer native or English seller management experiences.

Finally, Amazon India is only open to sellers with a registered business in India.

Build International Listings (BIL)

Once you have accounts in the countries you want to operate the easiest way to manage your listings internationally on Amazon is through their Build International Listings (BIL) tool. This works where you have regional accounts in Europe and the Americas or when you have linked your accounts.

BIL basically lets you manage your international listings from one Amazon account. It creates offers on marketplaces where the same Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) exists, allows you to set pricing rules and synchronises your prices after converting to local currency, updates prices on currency changes, synchronises inventory within Europe where you have a pan Europe FBA offer and translates the product detail in the local language.

It’s far from perfect and there’s still work to do such as updating stock outside of regions and if you fulfil yourself an not through Amazon you are left with more work, but if you follow all of Amazon’s requirements it can lead to a good start to get your products in front of Amazon’s international buyers.

Payments

You can choose to either open a local bank account to get paid into from that marketplace or let Amazon convert back to your currency and pay you locally. Amazon’s conversion rates can be expensive so it’s a good idea to use a global bank provider, like Payoneer or TransferWise, to open local accounts then use their improved conversion rates to get your money back into your currency.

Shipping

When shipping internationally to buyers who’ve brought from your Amazon marketplace store you have two options; Fulfilment by Seller or Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). If you choose to fulfil yourself, Fulfilment by Seller, you simply ship your products direct to customers on purchase. As always when sending internationally yourself you need to be aware of the taxes and duties required and fulfill the legal requirements.

Alternately you can use Amazon’s FBA. This requires sending your products to Amazon’s fulfilment centres and if you are not based in the country, with the exception of if you’re in Europe selling in Europe, you will need to export to that country. This will likely mean you are subject to the usual import taxes, custom duties and any fees related to importing into the country, as you remain the exporter of record.

As always when using FBA it means you store products in Amazon’s warehouses destined for Amazon customers. This means you’ll likely only ship a portion of your products through FBA and will also need to export directly to customers. This is a good balance if you use FBA for your fast selling items in that country.

With FBA Amazon will manage international returns on your behalf, if you ship yourself you’ll need to manage that also.

Customer Support

Amazon insists you offer local customer support via email on your international listings. Though Amazon will tell you machine translation is not good enough to give sellers a decent experience this is in fact the way the vast majority of international retailers work and buyers are used to it. It’s Amazon’s preference that you ship everything via FBA where they provide customer support in local language but this is likely not suitable for your business unless you are only selling on Amazon and sell into limited regions.

Usual Rules!

Of course, all the usual rules of selling internationally apply whether this is via Amazon or anywhere else! Check out our guide to getting started internationally in the resource section.

About Mark Ellis

Mark is the VP for Growth and Partnerships at Webinterpret, a leading Cross Border Technology company. Before that Mark was leading the operations for eBay's European cross border program. He has over 20 years of eCommerce industry experience, guiding and delivering strategic change in retailers, working with companies such as Dyson, Regatta, Boots and Arcadia Group, leading multi-million dollar programs for industry giants like Dunnhumby and working with small businesses delivering innovative retail solutions.

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