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Many people selling products or services online prefer to stay within the boundaries of their own country. Even if they have the ambition to sell internationally, they often feel it’s too complicated a process to do realistically. But only selling nationally closes off an entire global market of people who want your product—and are willing to pay you for it.
Amazon’s reach in the global market is expanding every day. At this rate, it won’t be long before approximately half of all global online retail sales will be done through Amazon. That’s a market you don’t want to miss out on.
Amazon Global Selling makes it easier than ever to sell your products in countries all over the world, without the headache of international tax laws and overseas shipping. Amazon has made it uncomplicated so you can reach your full potential as a seller. IO Scout's guide will help show you how.
Amazon’s Global Selling program is just what it sounds like: a way to list and sell your merchandise on Amazon sites around the globe. Each marketplace caters to the country it’s linked to, but you don’t have to be a resident of that country to sell in that marketplace.
Amazon currently has 13 websites that operate globally in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. With Amazon Global Selling, you have access to 12 countries outside of your own, as well as all the buyers that come with them.
To sell in a global marketplace, you’ll just need to make a seller account for each country you want to sell in, unless you are selling in Europe and North America. Amazon has an option to create a unified seller account that has access to the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom (European marketplaces), or to Canada, the United States, and Mexico (North American marketplaces).
Amazon Global Selling is here to help you reach markets you may have previously thought were closed off. Use this program to expand your business into countries worldwide, become an experienced international seller, and build profits and influence globally.
Amazon’s seller logistics network has the tools you need to make your dream of international selling a reality. Whether you need help with currency conversion, assistance with customs and duties, product listings, international fulfillment, or providing customer service in your buyers' local language, Amazon has you covered.
Amazon Global Selling makes it as easy as possible, so you hardly feel like it’s any work at all. It’s easy and fast to get yourself set up as a seller on an international marketplace, as long as you meet all the requirements for selling on that particular site. Amazon even has a process ready to go that will help you target advertising so you can start selling right away.
Amazon Global Selling is simple and straightforward. It works much like selling on Amazon nationally:
There are many benefits to selling your products internationally. Some of them may be intuitive, but others you may not have thought about before. If you are experiencing success as a seller nationally, you could find that expanding globally is an easy and logical next step that could help you in many ways.
This benefit is intuitive, but it still needs to be said. If your products are available in more countries, you will have more people viewing and buying your products. This leads to all the benefits of making lots of sales, like higher profits and influence in the market you operate in.
Not only that, but you’ll be operating on the largest online retailer in the world, meaning you can drive so many more customers to your products through Amazon than you would be able to on another platform. Dozens of countries, millions and millions of customers, all at your fingertips.
You also have the benefit of Amazon’s brand, which is trusted by consumers everywhere. There’s no need for you to work hard trying to convince people to buy internationally when they already know they can rely on Amazon to get their packages to them.
If you’re a small business owner, this gives you an opportunity to expand unlike any other. No matter which country you operate out of, your products can be in high demand anywhere you want to sell.
With unified accounts, you can gain access to more than a dozen Amazon marketplaces without the need to manage a dozen sets of login credentials. If you want to start selling in just one international country, you can start in the Netherlands, for instance, with a European Seller account.
Once you’ve established yourself there, you can use that same account to list products in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. No stress, no mess, just sales and an ever-expanding global brand.
Amazon also has a feature called Building International Listings, which allows you to manage all the listings you have in a region. So, if you need to update the price on an item you’re selling in Italy, France, and the UK, all you have to do it change the price once and the other listings are automatically updated for you.
International shipping can be extremely expensive and cumbersome. There’s paperwork to fill out and import taxes and fees to calculate and consider. Not to mention customs and duties laws in the country you’re trying to ship to. And what if an international buyer wants to return the product or needs customer support in a language you don’t speak? This complicated and exhausting process drives many people to avoid selling internationally altogether.
But Amazon Global Selling takes care of all that stress. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Export is the service to help you take care of everything, from shipments to customer service representatives who can help your buyers no matter what language they speak.
FBA Export picks, packs, and ships your orders for you and filters through import and export restrictions to help you figure out where each of your products can be shipped. On top of that, it will also calculate payments for importation fees and duties on top of shipping costs so you don’t have to worry about it. These features come with FBA Export at no extra cost to you.
But if you’d rather fulfill your own international orders, you are more than welcome to. However, you will need to provide a local return address in the country you ship to or free international shipping for returns on your products.
When it comes to the hurdle of language barriers, FBA has that covered, too. They provide services in the language of every country they operate in, with the added bonus of a language switcher available to sellers. With this feature, you can select the language you prefer to use for your account as both a buyer and a seller, so you’re always able to read site information, product descriptions, and notifications. And if a customer needs help, they can find it in their local language.
If you choose to fulfill your own orders, these services will not be available to you, and you will be expected to provide your own customer service options for buyers who speak a different language from you.
If you’re already an established seller in the country you’re in (or the marketplace you sell in currently), then expanding worldwide with Amazon Global Selling is easy. This reduces hassle and complications related to selling internationally and allows you to build your brand in a new market for a lower cost than starting from scratch.
The most important time for sellers in the US is the end of the year holiday season, from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and on until Christmas. With a wider global market, you can expand into more customers needing to buy in this season around the world. But you also expand into more holidays that aren’t widely celebrated in the US, which lead to more gift and celebratory sales throughout the year.
There’s no need to be concerned about selling in pounds, rupees, dollars, and euros. Amazon will convert all currency rates into the currency you use for you, so when it hits your bank account, all you need to worry about is how to make that paycheck bigger.
This built-in currency converting tool is free to use for sellers with US bank accounts. If you live in a country that isn’t supported by the currency converter, you can open a bank account within one of those countries to take advantage of this tool.
To get started selling internationally with Amazon Global Selling, you’ll need to have the following on hand:
Once you have gathered your information and materials, follow these steps to get you started with Amazon Global Selling:
1. Choose the marketplace where you want to sell and register for a seller account on sellercentral.amazon.com. This can be an individual or unified account, depending on the country and region you want to sell in.
2. Set up your account with the information listed above. You will also have to complete a step-by-step interview online that will help you figure out which tax forms to fill out. If you are a taxpayer in the United States, you will fill out a W9 form. Taxpayers outside the US will need to fill out a W-8BEN form.
3. Wait for approval from Amazon. This can take up to 72 hours while the company reviews your account application. In some cases, Amazon requires sellers to provide more information. The faster you can provide what they need, the faster you’ll gain permission to start selling.
4. List your products. Whether you’re selling original products for your business or reselling from another supplier, you can list everything you have on Amazon. This is how consumers find your products when browsing. A great product listing has these elements:
5. Choose a fulfillment option: FBA or self-fulfillment. Consider the pros and cons of each, including the international shipping and customer service features that come with using FBA. If you decide to go with FBA, you can send your inventory to Amazon warehouses for storage
6. Find a customs broker who can help get your product into the country you’re shipping to, or ship via air with UPS, DHL, or FedEx. These shipping companies offer customs brokering as a service. Your customs broker, like Flexport, will help you navigate the process of importation, which includes documentation, taxes, and paperwork. Other services provided by your customs broker may include:
7. Start selling products through targeted marketing campaigns to give you a head start in your new market
No matter where you are, if you want to start selling internationally, it’s a good idea to consult someone who’s an expert in the international marketplace to help you determine where and what to sell when expanding globally. Not all products will sell equally in different marketplaces.
It’s important to conduct research on the product appropriate for the market you want to sell in, how much the item will sell for, and the best distribution channels for your inventory. You may also need to cater your product listings to the specific marketplace they’re listed on.
Some products are not suitable in every country. Voltage and size standards differ around the world, so if you’re selling electronics or products where size matters (such as clothing), it will help to be familiar with the specifics for each country you sell in. Consumer preferences also differ, with buyers in the United Kingdom liking different products than buyers in the United States, and so on.
There are pros and cons to selling internationally, and these can change based on the country you want to sell in. Here is a brief overview of the pros and cons across some of Amazon’s more established global marketplaces:
One of the biggest drawbacks when expanding into international selling can be the language barriers that make it harder for buyers and sellers to communicate effectively. If your customers can't read your product description, or if you can't provide customer support in a language they speak, you will not be able to make effective sales and build your brand.
If you want to sell products in a country where you’re not proficient in the local language, you will likely need to rely on FBA to provide the services that will make buying and selling easier for everyone involved.
Using FBA to fulfill your international orders will also give you access to language support, such as the Seller Central Language Switcher and customer service in local languages wherever Amazon operates.
However, if you rely solely on FBA, you may miss important details for consideration, such as when conducting country-specific product research. If you don’t have a grasp of the local language, you could make a mistake that will cost you sales. This is something to consider when choosing the marketplace you want to sell in. To get you covered, there's software available on the market such as Weglot that will help you with the localization.
This isn’t to say you can’t be a successful seller without proficiency in the language of the market you sell in, but it could help give you an edge by properly targeting your advertising and product description.
There are three global regions catered to by 17 Amazon marketplaces: Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas, and Europe.
Amazon.com.au – Australia
Amazon.cn – China
Amazon.in – India
Amazon.co.jp – Japan
Amazon.sg – Singapore
Amazon.ae – Arab Nations
Amazon.com.tr – Turkey
North and South America:
Amazon.com.br – Brazil
Amazon.ca – Canada
Amazon.com.mx – Mexico
Amazon.com – United States
Amazon.fr – France
Amazon.de – Germany
Amazon.it – Italy
Amazon.nl – Netherlands
Amazon.es – Spain
Amazon.co.uk – United Kingdom
Some of these marketplaces are relatively new, like the emerging marketplaces in the Middle East, and new ones are being developed all the time as Amazon works to expand farther across the globe.
If you live outside the US, using this program to break into the American market can open up a whole new world of business for you. Amazon dominates the online retail field in the US with very little competition, so selling in the US is almost guaranteed to boost your profits and build your brand.
Regardless of the country you operate out of, it's important to decide on a business model when you start selling internationally. If you're not sure how or where you want to get your products, it's time to start thinking about it. Three sales models are very popular with global sellers:
You can also source the items you sell in person and send them to Amazon for storage and fulfillment. This is called retail arbitrage, and it can be more time-consuming and expensive than the business models listed above.
It may feel like there’s a lot to know and keep track of as you expand as an international seller. Use this checklist as you start selling internationally with Amazon Global Selling to be sure nothing falls through the cracks:
Now, depending on the fulfillment option you chose, here are the checklists for managing your business once it’s up and running:
For every active seller account you own with Amazon, there is a fee charged monthly. These fees vary from marketplace to marketplace. Some of the fees are as follows:
When using the Global Selling program, you may run into a roadblock or two that require additional help. If you need to contact Amazon customer service with questions about your seller account, you can find specific support for the country you sell in on the Seller Central site for your marketplace.
Shipping rates vary around the world. Here are the shipping rates for various items in the Americas.
Priority Courier Shipping
Priority Courier Shipping
Before selling in an international marketplace, it’s important to understand the tax laws and regulations in the country you wish you sell in. These vary by region, but here is an overview of some of the things you’ll need to know:
This tax, also known as the consumer spending tax, is generally required for sellers in the European marketplace. If you need help managing VAT requirements for your account, you can use the Amazon Service Provider Network to connect with resources for just that purpose.
Expanding your business to accommodate international sales is not as hard as you might have thought. With the Amazon Global Selling program, the most complicated aspects of international selling and shipping can be taken care of for you. The benefits of selling to a global market are incredible, and if you’re already an established Amazon seller, it’s even easier to start selling worldwide today.