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A Guide to Amazon Global Selling

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.

What is Amazon Global Selling?

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.

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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). 

How to Use Amazon Global Selling?

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.

How Does Amazon Global Selling Work?

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Amazon Global Selling is simple and straightforward. It works much like selling on Amazon nationally:

  • Once you pick the marketplace you want to sell in, you can register an individual (or unified if selling in Europe or North America) seller account on that site
  • You list the items you want to sell in this marketplace
  • Customers will buy your products (thanks to Amazon’s help with targeted marketing), and you’ll receive a notification telling you where your items will be shipped
  • If you fulfill your own orders, you’ll ship your products to the country where your buyer lives. If Amazon fulfills your orders with Easy Ship or FBA, they will take care of this part
  • You receive payment for your products after Amazon has deducted its service fees, as usual, and transfers the money to your account

Amazon Global Selling Benefits

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.

1. More Customers

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.

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2. Unified Accounts Make Everything Simpler

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.

3. Amazon Takes Care of Almost Everything

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.

4. It’s Easy to Transition from Local to Global

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.

5. More Holidays = More Holiday Seasons

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.

6. Amazon Converts Currency so You Don’t Have to

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.

How to Sell Internationally on Amazon?

To get started selling internationally with Amazon Global Selling, you’ll need to have the following on hand:

  • A valid credit card that can be used internationally
  • A bank account (either in the US or registered with Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers)
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your business address or residence
  • A phone number
  • Tax information

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.

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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:

  • Sharp images that draw the customer to your product. The pictures must be an accurate representation of the item you’re selling, or you will surely receive a lot of negative feedback from disappointed customers
  • Easy-to-read title with SEO keywords. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps buyers find products they need based on their search. If your product title includes words that are likely to be included in a search for that item, it will be easier to find using Amazon’s search engine. It’s important to make sure the product title still flows well, though, so customers know what they’re clicking on
  • A detailed description that acknowledges all specs and features. Those bullet points at the top of an Amazon product listing page help buyers decide whether your product is right for them. If your description is vague or missing important selling points, people won’t know if they want or need your product

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:

  • Storing inventory for you, if storing with Amazon is not a financially or logistically feasible option
  • Quality assurance for your products so you can address any issues before they reach the customer (and result in a bad review). This service can also be done by third-party quality assurance companies
  • Checking samples to confirm that the items that ship are the items you listed
  • Prepping inventory for shipments, such as assembling the product and proper labeling, with fulfillment prep centers. Amazon charges additional fees for this service, so if your customs broker offers it, you could save money

7. Start selling products through targeted marketing campaigns to give you a head start in your new market

What to Sell Internationally

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.

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Where to Sell Internationally

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:

Australia

  • Pro: Relatively new to the Amazon platform, meaning fewer product listings and fairly low competition
  • Con: FBA is new here, and a smaller operation can cause holdups or hiccups

Brazil

  • Pro: Relatively new to the Amazon platform, meaning fewer product listings and fairly low competition
  • Con: There are limited categories for products that can be sold here and FBA is not available

Canada

  • Pro: Easy to import products
  • Con: Selling with FBA can complicate taxes

China

  • Pro: The largest e-commerce market in the world and over 600 million internet shoppers in the most populous country in the world
  • Con: You’ll need a trademark or authorization to sell here

France

  • Pro: Easy to establish as a gateway to the other European marketplaces
  • Con: If you wish to sell with FBA here, your business will need a tax ID or business license

Germany

  • Pro: Easy to establish as a gateway to the other European marketplaces
  • Con: If you wish to sell with FBA here, your business will need a tax ID or business license

India

  • Pro: The second-most populous country in the world gives access to millions of buyers
  • Con: Sellers are only authorized to sell here by invitation

Italy

  • Pro: Easy to establish as a gateway to the other European marketplaces
  • Con: If you wish to sell with FBA here, your business will need a tax ID or business license

Japan

  • Pro: One of the largest economies in the world gives you access to millions of consumers, and Amazon is a highly used and trusted platform by over 30 million people
  • Con: You’ll need an importer of record to sell here

Mexico

  • Pro: Easy to get seller support in English
  • Con: Selling with FBA can complicate taxes

Spain

  • Pro: Easy to establish as a gateway to the other European marketplaces
  • Con: If you wish to sell with FBA here, your business will need a tax ID or business license

United Kingdom

  • Pro: Easy to establish as a gateway to the other European marketplaces
  • Con: If you wish to sell with FBA here, your business will need a tax ID or business license

Language Support Considerations

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. 

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.

Amazon Marketplaces by Region

There are three global regions catered to by 17 Amazon marketplaces: Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas, and Europe. 

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Asia-Pacific:

Amazon.com.au  – Australia

Amazon.cn  – China 

Amazon.in  – India

Amazon.co.jp  – Japan

Amazon.sg – Singapore 

Middle East:

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

Europe:

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.

Start Using Amazon Global Selling

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:

  • Wholesale: this model emphasizes buying items in bulk to be resold on Amazon. With this model, you don’t have to worry about making the products yourself, because you’ll just be buying your inventory from another company
  • Dropshipping: is the practice or promoting and selling products that are provided by a different supplier or manufacturer. In this business model, you (the dropshipper) pay the manufacturer or supplier to ship the products on your behalf. This may an attractive option if you’d rather not use FBA to ship your products, but you also don’t want to fulfill international orders all on your own
  • Private Label: this model is based on the sales of a brand or label of your own creation. With a private label, you will be responsible for manufacturing your products and overseeing them from start to finish. This is the most popular sales model on Amazon

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.

Global Selling Checklist

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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:

  • Know the basics of how to use Amazon Global Seller, including basic language requirements and fees
  • Understand how selling on Amazon works with both individual and professional seller accounts
  • Familiarize yourself with the Amazon website’s tools and features so your account is easy to navigate and manage
  • Confirm that your business has the resources and staff to make international selling a reality
  • Do your research on which marketplaces are the best fit for your products, paying close attention to differences in standards, preferences, and opportunities
  • Learn the tax laws and regulations in the countries you wish to sell in, including import and export regulations
  • Select the marketplace you want to start in. You may want to choose a North American or European marketplace, so you can use a unified seller account to easily expand into other regional marketplaces in the future
  • Understand the registration requirements for the marketplace you have chosen
  • Apply for an account with your desired marketplace, providing all information required for Amazon’s approval
  • Choose the fulfillment option that works best for you: FBA or Self-Fulfillment. Keep in mind all the pros and cons that come with each option, as well as the responsibility of being a self-fulfilling seller
  • Select and establish a payment method, considering payment cycles 
  • Pick an IO Scout tool for your product listing , which will list your products as well as localizing and translating the listings

Now, depending on the fulfillment option you chose, here are the checklists for managing your business once it’s up and running:

Managing and Filling Orders with FBA
  • Activate FBA Export services to make your products available for your international buyers
  • Send your inventory to the fulfillment center with proper packaging and customs duties requirements
  • Monitor customer support managed by FBA
Managing and Filling Orders Yourself
  • Hire a customs broker to help you manage international law, regulations, and paperwork
  • Properly fulfill customer orders and ship them to the country you’re selling in
  • Be sure to comply with all relevant laws and regulations related to importation and taxation
  • Provide customer support to your buyers in the language local to the marketplace you sell in
  • Manage returns by either providing free international shipping or using a local return address in the country the item was shipped to

Amazon Global Selling Fees

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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:

  • Australia: 49.95 AUS (34.94 USD)
  • Brazil: 19 Real (3.53 USD)
  • Canada: 29.99 CAD (22.08 USD)
  • Japan: 4,900 JPY (45.78 USD)
  • Members of the European Union: 39 EUR (44.57 USD)
  • Mexico: 600 MXN (26.61 USD)
  • United Kingdom: 25 GPB (31.42 USD)
  • United States: 39.99 USD

Amazon Global Selling Customer Care

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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.

Amazon FBA International Shipping Rates

Shipping rates vary around the world. Here are the shipping rates for various items in the Americas.

Global Shipping Rates for Canada

Standard Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $1.99 per pound/item, $4.99/shipment
  • Books, Software, VHS videotapes, and Video Games: $2.49/item, $4.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $1.99/item, $4.99/shipment
  • Jewelry, Clothing Items, and Watches: $3.99/item, $4.99/shipment
  • Luggage: $1.99 per pound/item, $4.99/shipment
  • Shoes: $1.99 per pound/item, $4.99/shipment
  • Video game consoles: $2.90 per pound/item, $4.99/shipment

Expedited Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $2.99 per pound/item, $9.99/shipment
  • Books, Software, VHS videotapes, and Video Games: $3.49/item, $6.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $4.49/item, $6.99/shipment
  • Jewelry, Clothing Items, and Watches: $3.99/item, $6.99/shipment
  • Luggage: $1.99 per pound/item, $5.99/shipment
  • Shoes: $1.99 per pound/item, $5.99/shipment
  • Video game consoles: $1.99 per pound/item, $6.99/shipment
  • A combination of any of the above products: cost per item as listed above, highest applicable shipment cost

Priority Courier Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $3.99 per pound/item, $19.99/shipment
  • Books, Software, VHS videotapes, and Video Games: $4.49/item, $19.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $3.49/item, $19.99/shipment
  • Jewelry, Clothing Items, and Watches: $3.99/item, $19.99/shipment
  • Shoes: $1.99 per pound/item, $19.99/shipment
  • Video game consoles: $2.90 per pound/item, $19.99/shipment
Global Shipping Rates for Latin America

Standard Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $1.99 per pound/item, $2.99/shipment
  • Books and VHS videotapes: $2.99/item, $2.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $1.99/item, $2.99/shipment
  • Jewelry, Clothing Items, and Watches: $1.99 per pound/item, $2.99/shipment

Expedited Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $2.99 per pound/item, $7.99/shipment
  • Books and VHS videotapes: $4.99/item, $7.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $3.99/item, $7.99/shipment
  • Jewelry, Clothing Items, and Watches: $2.99 per pound/item, $7.99/shipment
  • Kindle & Kindle Accessories: $2.99/item, $8.99/shipment
  • Luggage: $2.99 per pound/item, $7.99 per shipment
  • A combination of any of the above products: cost per item as listed above, $7.99/shipment

Priority Courier Shipping

  • Baby, electronics, automotive, home, computers, personal care, outdoor living, kitchen, toys, tools, and sports: $3.99 per pound/item, $29.99/shipment
  • Books and VHS videotapes: $6.99/item, $29.99/shipment
  • CDs, Blu-ray, DVDs, Vinyl, Music Cassettes: $2.99/item, $29.99/shipment
  • Clothing Items and Watches: $2.99 per pound/item, $29.99/shipment
  • Kindle & Kindle Accessories: $6.99/item, $14.99/shipment
  • A combination of any of the above products: cost per item as listed above, highest applicable shipment cost

Taxes and Regulations

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:

  • Seller ID Verification and Know Your Customer (Europe Only)
  • You can’t start selling in Europe until Amazon has completed a Seller Identity Verification to confirm you are who you say you are
  • After selling €15,000 worth of products (about 17,140 USD), Amazon will initiate another verification process, Know Your Customer. This process is a regulatory requirement in the European Union
  • Product Eligibility and Compliance in Europe 
  • There are certain product restrictions when selling on Amazon's European marketplaces, so it's important to make sure you don't sell a prohibited item. This could lead to legal issues and your Amazon account could be suspended or even banned
  • Some products may be legal to sell in the EU, but only with special approval. Check the list of restricted Amazon products in Europe to avoid violating any policies or laws
  • Product Eligibility and Compliance in Other Nations
  • Just as in the EU and the US, there are restricted items that cannot be sold on Amazon in every marketplace
  • Check the list of restricted items to avoid any violations that could create legal and account problems for you down the road
  • Local Laws
  • Certain regulations apply to Amazon listings in each marketplace you sell in, and it’s your responsibility as a seller to comply with the laws and customs of the country you operate in
  • You are also obligated to pay all taxes imposed by the receiving country on your shipments. These taxes and fees include customs, duties, and consumption taxes
  • Local Business Address for Returns
  • Some marketplaces may require you to provide a local business address in the country you’re shipping to where returned orders can be sent
  • In Japan, this law is called the Act on Specified Commercial Transaction and also requires sellers on the Japanese marketplace to list their business information on their Amazon profile page

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

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. 

Final Thoughts

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.

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