Sellers who have had early success on Amazon can expand their customer base even further by selling globally. There are many benefits to selling internationally, such as increased profits and low-cost access to overseas suppliers.
Still, most vendors hesitate to try it because they feel intimidated by what they do not know. Selling within your own country is simple. Everyone speaks the same language, the laws and currency are familiar, and shipping is straightforward. On the other hand, when you sell to buyers in another country, you must study new laws, taxation policies, and product regulations. International shipping is more complicated, and you have to re-calculate profit margins by factoring in foreign currency conversions and fluctuations.
Knowing how to sell internationally on Amazon does take some learning and effort, but Amazon Global Selling provides all the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed. Read on to learn more about successfully expanding your business and selling worldwide!
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What is Amazon Global Selling?
AGS makes international selling less stressful by providing language support, maintaining distribution points within countries, and helping with currency conversion. It also provides sellers the information to understand and follow each market's laws and regulations. Sellers who use international FBA get complete inventory and customer service support.
More than 20 overseas global marketplaces exist, including nine European countries, four in Asia/Pacific, three in the Middle East, and four (including the U.S.) in the American region. This list will grow as Amazon continues to expand to new countries.
Benefits of joining AGS
Amazon Global Selling gives you access to Amazon's state-of-the-art international logistics to reach hundreds of millions of active worldwide customers who shop on the platform. Depending on your product and the region you target, your profit margins and monthly sale volumes could go up. You could also take advantage of the holiday season sales and market trends in other countries during off-peak periods in your home country.
Is selling globally on Amazon worth it?
Expanding into other North American markets or overseas adds huge buying bases and money-making potential. Of course, there are always costs and complications to consider when selling internationally, but using AGS research and services makes selling globally on Amazon possible. The sales volume on Amazon Global markets tells the success story. For example, Japan and Germany each accounted for over $500 million in Amazon Global Selling for 2020, and the United Kingdom accounted for over $400 million during that year.
How to get started selling internationally on Amazon
When selling globally on Amazon, sellers need to set up Seller Central accounts for each country. The only exception is for two unified country groups:
- Europe (UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy)
- North America (Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.)
Once you sign up with any one country in a group, you automatically access all other marketplaces within that group. So, for example, sellers from the United States can easily expand into Canada and Mexico from the same Seller Central account.
As for how to sell internationally on Amazon, here are the steps sellers take to start selling internationally:
- Choose the country group you want to target
- Register for that online marketplace. When you set up an account, you can choose between an Individual Selling account or a Professional Selling account.
- Find the Products you want to sell and figure out a price considering all expenses involved. Make sure the products are legal to sell in the country you choose.
- List The Items you want to sell in the language spoken in that country.
- Plan order fulfillment either by shipping your products to the Amazon warehouse in your target country or using another international logistics partner.
That's it. When customers make a purchase, you are notified and given the order details, shipping instructions, and address. If you ship orders yourself, you are responsible for all the international documentation, taxes, and fees. Or you can let Amazon handle everything for a fee. Then, after all fee deductions, they will credit the final amount into your account in a currency of your choice.
How to price products when selling internationally
The answer to how to sell internationally on Amazon starts with finding the right products and setting a competitive but profitable price. Before setting a price, you have to account for all costs such as:
- Amazon fees
- International shipping and storage charges
- Translation services to write good product descriptions
- Customer support across timezones.
Some more financial considerations when selling globally on Amazon are given below.
Taxes and Regulations
Taxes and import or customs duties work differently overseas. Amazon provides the information you need for each market. Consider the following examples:
When selling in Europe, a seller must register for Value Added Tax(VAT). VAT is similar to the U.S. sales tax system. It is an incremental tax levied on products at each stage of production and distribution. The taxes are collected to compensate for the various governmental infrastructures involved in commerce.
Japan requires sellers must maintain a Japanese business address for returns from Japanese citizens. You must also list the local address on your Japanese Amazon page.
Sellers who choose FBA pay an import tax on any shipment going into Australia (10% on the value of shipment) but do not need to register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) until sales reach AUD 75000. Once registered, they collect and remit GST quarterly.
Is it legal to sell my products internationally?
Can you ship Amazon internationally? Yes, you can! However, you may have to adapt your product's design to meet international marketplace standards. For example, some products require special legal approval while others require updated designs like displaying the "crossed-out wheeled bin" symbol. Check the restricted product page for the country to confirm you are compliant with quality benchmarks.
How do I receive payment?
When you set up your Amazon seller account for a marketplace, you can choose between several payment options.
Foreign bank account
You can choose to open a bank account in the country of choice. You maintain more control over your money, but the process can be time-consuming and complicated. For example, you would need to first set up a legal business entity (like a company or trust) in the country.
Amazon Seller's Currency Converter feature directly deposits your earnings into your local bank account. Using this option, you don't need to have a bank account in the target country. However, you have to accept Amazon's terms and conditions, such as:
- The market country must be one supported by Amazon Currency Converter.
- You get paid only once every two weeks,
- Daily changes to exchange rates can impact your income.
Third-party currency conversion service
You can choose your own currency conversion service and pay them their fees. In many countries, third-party services can also offer you a foreign bank account. The fees can be affordable if you choose the right plan.
If you sell in a country not supported by the Amazon Currency Converter and you can't or don't want to establish a bank account in that country, Hyperwallet, a third-party payment service, is an option. Money is converted and deposited into your Hyperwallet account, and then you can transfer the funds to your own bank.
How do I ship products internationally?
Fulfillment within the United States is pretty simple, but there are more elements to consider internationally. You must have goods available for shipment close to your potential buyers. Some shipping options include:
Amazon's own logistic network is the most efficient and fastest way to fulfill international orders. You have to send your product to Amazon's fulfillment centers in the country you wish to target. Some things to watch out for:
Importer of Record
Importer of Record (IOR) is the entity responsible for understanding and handling regulations and legal requirements when importing internationally. You have to declare yourself, or your company, as the IOR in all your product packaging and shipping paperwork. Most countries require that IORs have a registered local physical address. You can hire a third-party service to manage IOR requirements.
Non-resident Importers (NRI) are entities that reside outside the target country. For example, Canada has an NRI Program that allows the United States and other international exporters to sell to Canadian customers directly on a delivered-price basis. By registering as an NRI, you can compete more effectively in the Canadian marketplace and control your supply chain.
Provide international shipping yourself
It is perfectly legal to ship items directly from your U.S. warehouse to your international customer. You just have to organize the appropriate paperwork for all international shipping documents and regulations. However, the cost could become prohibitive, and customers won't get their shipments quickly
How to choose products and locations?
Just because a product sells well in the United States doesn't necessarily mean it will do well in France or Japan. So how do you know what products to choose for international markets? It's important to research what sells well and what products are legal to sell in the target market. Products must comply with the country's laws and work with their electric systems. For example, you can't sell 110-220 volts devices with two-pronged plugs in European countries, but you could probably sell them in Japan.
Some products might be popular in one culture but not in another. Consider what the climate is like in the country. For example, bulkier items might not be desirable where apartments are small, and miniature personal fans might not sell well in cooler climates. Sellers often test multiple products to see what sells before investing in large inventories. They also study and observe the marketplace itself. Look at Amazon Best Sellers, New Arrivals, Featured Brands, and customer reviews. You can use tools like Product Research for Amazon to uncover low–competition, high–demand products in your target country.
How to provide customer support for international sales?
There are several potential markets for English speakers. Besides the United States and Canada, English is the official business language for the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
But what if you don't speak the country's language you want to add to your marketplace list? Without knowing the language, providing customer service can be difficult. In addition, knowing how to list and describe your product can be challenging. Even if you speak Spanish, for example, you still might not describe a complex product clearly enough. You also should have the capacity to answer customer questions in the foreign language they prefer.
There are several ways to solve the language barriers, from using Google Translate or other free services to hiring translation companies. These companies usually charge per word, and some are more responsible and accurate than others. Amazon also provides some excellent tools and services to help sellers overcome the difficulties that language barriers present:
Seller Central Language Switcher
You don't have to learn a new language to expand into international business. With the Seller Central Language Switcher program, you write everything you need to express in your native language. Then, the system automatically translates what you need to say into Japanese, French, Spanish, German, etc. Everything written to you is translated back into English, so you have no barriers to selling worldwide. The language switcher option is located in the bottom left-hand corner of your Seller Central account home page. It is currently available for selected countries only.
Build International Listings
Using Amazon's Build International Listings tool is a great way to list and manage your products across multiple marketplaces and sell worldwide. The tool helps you take your existing product listings and auto-list them for five European marketplaces. Although this system doesn't translate your product detail pages for the target marketplace, it does help you see which, if any, of your listings may have already been translated by others. By using what translations already exist, you can save on translation fees.
The Build International Listings feature offered by Amazon helps you:
- Create listings in your target marketplace and link them to international places. You only need to make one listing in your home market.
- Automatically change international prices when you modify prices in your own country. For example, you change your price from $5 to $6 due to an increase in cost, and prices are changed in all currencies for your markets.
- Stay on top of fluctuations in the exchange rate to make necessary adjustments to prices. Missing a big change to an exchange rate can mean losing rather than making money.
Amazon Global Selling customer care
You must provide customer service in the language used by the buyer. Sellers who use the International Fulfillment By Amazon program benefit from its 24-hour customer support in the language of the relevant marketplace. This FBA feature can be critical to a worldwide seller's success. They can concentrate on managing their business and increasing sales rather than worrying about translating customer service messages.
How much does it cost to sell internationally on Amazon?
When you start selling globally on Amazon sites, you still pay Amazon all of the usual fees in your home country. You can read a detailed breakdown of Amazon fees here. In addition, you also pay some additional Amazon Global Selling fees given below.
Your Selling Plan
You pay separately for every new Seller Central account that you create. For example, if you target Japan and France, you will have to pay for two more Seller Central Account plans and your home country account. Rates for the Professional plan vary as below:
- United States: 39.99 USD
- Canada: 29.99 CAD
- Australia: 49.95 AUS
- United Kingdom: 25 GBP
- Mexico: 600 MXN
- Brazil: 19 R$
- Europe: 39 EUR
- Japan: 4,900 JPY
International shipping rates
Shipping rates vary for different product categories in different countries. Amazon international shipping rates fall into three categories—non-apparel items, apparel, and small and light items. Each category has rates for various package sizes and weights. Therefore, you have to do your research and calculate your profit margins accordingly.
Can you ship Amazon internationally? If you are doing well selling on Amazon in the U.S., consider adding an additional market or two. Since you are already in the United States market, adding Canada or Mexico is relatively easy. In addition, many countries use English as their business language, and those would eliminate the need for translations.
Start selling worldwide by choosing a possible country and learning about their local e-commerce laws and product regulations. Then, do your research and make the required decisions about your seller account, products, financial arrangements, and fulfillment options.
To make sure your products sell, don't forget to look at market trends in that country. Add all the expenses involved and keep possible exchange rate changes in mind. You are good to go if you can still make a decent profit, but it's best to do some trials before investing in too much inventory. We wish you all the best in your global expansion!
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