If you’ve already conquered your home Amazon marketplace, setting your sights on an international Amazon marketplace is a smart decision, but not without its challenges.
In broad terms, if you decide to sell on Amazon internationally, you’ll usually face a few obstacles: marketplace and compliance red tape, shipping and logistical knots to untangle, and the most apparent barriers, language and cultural differences. That’s not to say selling internationally on Amazon is impossible, far from it; it just requires patience to navigate the various administrative hurdles, a realistic timeframe, and a little guidance.
For the purposes of this article (and to avoid competing with War and Peace in length), we’re not going to cover a step-by-step of how you should go about selling to the entire world; instead, we’re going to focus on a series of digestible snippets designed to help sellers get started on the road to semi-global Amazon domination.
Which countries should I sell to on Amazon?
Before we dive into the top three contenders for the title ‘best country to sell to’, I’d like to preface this with a little tip.
Before you start forecasting in dollars, euros or rupees, it’s imperative to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Do your market research on your prospective marketplace, scope out the competition, consider shipping logistics, and, most importantly, determine whether your product will fit in culturally. In short, look before you leap.
Back to the best country contest, in third place we have Germany! Boasting Europe's largest economy and a highly competitive e-commerce market, Amazon Germany has an impressive customer base with persuasive purchasing power. Amazon.de is an obvious and appealing marketplace for sellers to target who are looking for a secure foothold in the EU.
In second place is the UK; if you’re a UK-based seller, you’re probably already aware of just how well-developed and lucrative the e-commerce market is here, heavily bolstered by Amazon.co.uk. Of course, Brexit has had an impact, but it remains popular and reassuringly profitable.
In the first place (drum roll please), you guessed it, the good old U. S. of A. Amazon.com is the largest and most mature e-commerce market in the world, with a staggering customer base of over 300 million users, as of 2022. The competition for sellers is intense, and certain categories could be over-saturated, so it’s worth checking out the competition before you jump into those congested waters.
Other contenders include Japan, with its tech-savvy, quality-focused consumers, and Canada, another fast-growing e-commerce market.
Can I sell on Amazon from my location?
*Grabs binoculars*, where exactly are you? Well, Amazon currently operates across five continents, with online shopping available in around 20 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK, and the US. You can sell from any of these countries to any other country in which Amazon already operates. If you’re not based in any of the countries listed above, Amazon will likely continue to expand to additional locations in the future.
What is FBA/FBM?
FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) and FBM (Fulfilment by Merchant) are two different fulfilment methods available to brands that want to sell internationally via Amazon Seller Central.
FBA allows brands to store their products in Amazon fulfilment centres; when a product is ordered, Amazon does the hard work for you. The warehouse will select the product, package it and ship it on behalf of the brand. As well as offering some very useful benefits like Prime, reliable shipping and easy returns, it also allows brands to utilise Amazon’s extensive logistics prowess, reaching customers globally.
With FBM, the onus is on the seller. The entire fulfilment process, from storing inventory, packing, arranging shipping and delivery and handling returns, is on you. It does offer the seller more control over the entire process, but it also necessitates that you have access to sufficient storage facilities and a workforce equipped to handle logistics and customer service.
If you’re looking to sell internationally, FBA is often preferred for convenience, especially if you want to make an impression in a new marketplace, as fast shipping and Prime eligibility are two major influencing factors in purchasing.
Can I send an Amazon product to another country?
Absolutely. Several avenues are open to you.
- Amazon Global Selling: This feature lets sellers list and sell their products in multiple countries. You can use the Amazon Seller Central platform to manage your international inventory, pricing and orders.
- Amazon FBA: If you are enrolled in Amazon's FBA program, you can enable the "FBA Export" feature – this allows your products to be eligible for international shipping. Amazon will handle the logistics and shipping processes when an international customer places an order.
- Cross-Border Fulfillment: Amazon offers the Cross-Border Fulfillment (CBF) program, which allows you to store your inventory in one country and fulfil orders from customers in another country (but only in the countries where Amazon currently operates). It significantly simplifies selling internationally and helps reduce associated costs and potential shipping hiccups.
- Amazon Global Store: This option allows you to list your products on international Amazon marketplaces without needing separate seller accounts. Everything is handled for you by Amazon.
Tell me more about Amazon Global Selling.
Through Amazon Global Selling, sellers can create listings on multiple Amazon marketplaces; it also offers various benefits designed to facilitate international selling, including reaching a vast audience of potential buyers. By using a Unified Seller Account, sellers can manage all of their international listings through a single account. It simplifies account management, allowing sellers to track inventory and pricing across their various marketplaces easily. Currency conversion and localisation can be handled by Amazon, allowing customers to view prices in their local currency, and sellers can provide localised product information in a variety of languages or use the ‘Build International Listings’ tool. Amazon Global Selling also allows sellers to run advertising campaigns in international markets to increase product and brand visibility through Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands.
Fun fact: with just one account in Amazon Global Selling, sellers can reach around 300 million customers in around 20 marketplaces.
Do I need a trade license to sell on Amazon?
Amazon requires sellers to provide certain documentation to verify their authenticity and ensure compliance with local rules and regulations. A trade license is often a part of that verification process, although the specific requirements can differ from country to country.
Amazon has created a thorough breakdown of what you’ll need and how to get started – including links to creating a seller account and the required documentation.
How do I start selling internationally?
Once you’ve done your market research, considering factors such as demand, competition and cultural differences, and you’ve determined the potential customer base, rules and regulations in that marketplace, you should implement the following:
- Set up an Amazon seller account if you don’t already have one. Visit Amazon Seller Central and follow the registration process, where you can input all the critical information about your business and find a range of tools designed to help you manage your business.
- Check your items are eligible for international shipping on Amazon. Certain products are prohibited or have additional restrictions in certain countries; check the Amazon guidelines for further information.
- Decide on your selling strategy. Choose from the fulfilment options listed above depending on your business goals and resources.
- Optimise your listings (title, bullets, product description, images and A+ Content) for an international audience; if you’re selling in another language, invest in a good translator familiar with SEO and localisation.
- Establish your pricing strategy for the international marketplace – consider exchange rates and local competitor prices. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping, customs and taxes.
- If you’re going to fly solo and do everything yourself, establish a reliable supply chain network. Ensure you can ship efficiently and quickly without breaking the bank and have the infrastructure to handle returns.
It’s no small endeavour selling internationally; Amazon has a lot of great resources available to sellers to simplify the process, but as usual, doing your homework beforehand is critical.
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Is the prospect of global e-commerce domination still an intimidating unknown? Fear not; our team of Amazon experts are on hand to help interpret the jargon and smooth the rough seas on your journey to becoming a successful and truly international seller. Get in touch today.