Before considering selling on Europe, make sure you read our 3 part series blog post on ‘Is Amazon Europe worth the investment?’:
- Part 1: Identifying demand in Europe
- Part 2: Managing operations in Europe
- Part 3: Generating sales in Europe
Whilst Amazon Europe may seem like an attractive option when it comes to increasing revenue, it is important sellers, vendors and brand owners assess the viability of this level of expansion first. When we talk about Amazon Europe, we are talking about 8 different countries, this includes the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. Managing 8 different countries is complex, and each country must be treated separately, a blanket European strategy will not drive the desired results. A Pan-European strategy sounds great but in reality it doesn’t exist. Every marketplace is different with its own nuances.
To help you on your Amazon Europe journey, we have put together a checklist of all the areas you must consider and manage if you do decide to expand in Europe.
Note: that when we talk about Europe it includes the UK, however if we talk about the EU (European Union) it excludes the UK. It can get confusing even for us Brits!
Section 1: Opportunity
This section focuses on identifying if there is demand for your product and whether or not there is opportunity for your brand to compete in that marketplace.
- Select the marketplace or marketplaces you wish to start with.
- Check there is demand for your products in that marketplace.
- Check that your product category is not prohibited for sale in that marketplace.
- Check that your product category is not restricted in that marketplace.
- If the category is restricted, check you have the required documentation to gain approval.
- Review the competition for your product and assess how saturated the market is.
- Identify your USP to compete in your product category.
- Check the translation of your brand and that it translates well in that marketplace.
- Check your brand has not been registered as a trademark in the EU or UK with another company.
Section 2: Operations
This section focuses on the requirements your business must adhere to when selling on Amazon in Europe to ensure you are compliant and aware of the costs involved.
- Understand the legal requirements for your product category and ensure they are compliant both country specific and EU:
- Product compliance e.g. CE marking.
- Labelling requirements e.g. include each language on the label.
- Package requirements e.g. instructions in each language.
- Understand what EU directives apply to your product category e.g. WEEE.
- Familiarise yourself with UK and EU consumer rights.
- Consult a tax advisor to understand your tax obligation.
- Identify which country or countries you need to be VAT (sales tax) registered.
- Register for VAT in the required marketplaces.
- Apply for an EORI number to be able to import goods to that marketplace.
- Appoint a VAT specialist to manage ongoing VAT returns (recommended).
- Register your trademark in the EU and UK or a specific marketplace.
- Identify and appoint a shipping company to manage your international shipments.
- Check the shipping company will manage customs on your behalf.
- Understand import costs including cost of freight, insurance, customs duties, VAT and any other costs they charge for.
- Factor in the different currencies and identify an online payment provider to manage international transfers and currency exchange (not compulsory but has cost savings).
- Decide how you are going to manage customer service for each marketplace.
- Decide how you are going to manage returns for each marketplace.
- Identify and appoint a 3P logistics provider in Europe to hold your inventory and manage returns (Amazon’s FBA stock limits make direct shipments difficult).
- Decide on the Amazon Seller Program you wish to use (applicable only to sellers).
- Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA): European Fulfilment Network (EFN), Multi-Country (MCI) or Pan European (Pan EU)
- Merchant Fulfilled (MFN)
- Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
- Open an Amazon seller or vendor account:
- For seller, open a European seller account, this can be done via your current seller account under Sell Globally.
- For vendor, accept the vendor invite emailed to you and complete setup.
Section 3: Selling
This section focuses on the exciting part, where the hard work and investment pays off, marketing the product to drive sales.
- Forecast demand and send inventory through shipping company to European warehouse.
- For FBA, raise a shipment and arrange for stock to be sent to Amazon.
- Set up products in Seller Central or Vendor Central.
- Decide on how to translate and localise product content: titles, bullet points, product descriptions and A+ Content (including the UK).
- Work with a proficient or native translator (recommended - will help maximise sales).
- Use machine based translation tool (not recommended - will impact sales negatively).
- Update copy on images and graphics for each language (where the localised image feature is available).
- Update copy and audio on all videos.
- Manage keyword research for each marketplace and embed in content and search terms.
- Decide how you are going to manage Amazon sponsored ads:
- Work with a native or proficient speaker for that marketplace to manage Amazon ads (recommended).
- Run automatic ads.
- Use a native or proficient speaker for that marketplace to help with the keyword research for manual ads and run automatic ads alongside.
- Review categorisation for each marketplace, not all countries have the same category structure.
- If using a different barcode to your home marketplace (e.g. for electronics with a different voltage), a new ASIN will be created and the customer reviews will not carry over. In this situation, use Amazon Vine to generate customer reviews.
For a downloadable version of this checklist, please click here. If you need any support getting set up on Amazon in Europe or need ongoing support with managing your Amazon business in the UK and EU marketplaces, please contact eCommerce Nurse for a free 15 minute consultation.
Disclaimer: This is only a guide and we are not specialists in VAT, product compliance and any other country specific requirements. Please ensure you consult the required specialists and work with Amazon approved providers where needed.