Marketplaces Alana Fennessy By Alana Fennessy

Selling Internationally With Amazon

Whether you’re an experienced international seller or just starting out, listing on Amazon marketplaces can provide you with instant access to millions of customers worldwide. Amazon has online marketplaces around the world and various services and tools to help you be successful on the Amazon global marketplace. If you’re planning on expanding to new regions, Amazon could be a useful channel for you to consider.

When expanding, the first step is to determine which geographies you would like to target on Amazon. For example, the US, the UK, Japan, Germany or all available?  

Here is a quick list of things to bare in mind when you are selling internationally:

  • Remember the different seasons. Consider how the weather and other seasonal factors such as events like the Olympics affect your sales.
  • Consider language challenges and whether you will need the resources to translate your content.
  • Research the tax implications of selling into a different country.
  • Meet with your fulfilment and logistics partner to discuss how you can fulfil these items internationally.  

The next step is to consider your fulfilment options. Retailers can sell on Amazon in two different ways. The first option is to use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) where Amazon deals with the logistics of delivery. The second is to cover the fulfilment yourself as the merchant. Depending on what you choose to do, there are differences in the way that you will appear on Amazon as a seller, as well as what your responsibilities are to the consumer.

If you’re getting started on Amazon, it’s worth exploring using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). The main reason is that Amazon will fulfil the order for you, which is often one of the most difficult hurdles when a retailer considers selling internationally.

How the sales process works for an FBA seller:

  1. You find a product to sell on Amazon
  2. You list the product on Amazon.com (does not go “live” at this point)
  3. You prepare the items to be sent to Amazon’s warehouses
  4. You ship the items to Amazon’s warehouses
  5. Amazon unpacks and stores your inventory for you
  6. Your product shows up live on Amazon.com (according to where you listed in step #2)
  7. Your product is featured as a Prime Eligible purchase
  8. An Amazon buyer places an order from you
  9. The Amazon warehouse workers find and ship your product to the customer
  10. Your customer receives the product in two days (if they are a Prime member)
  11. The customer is happy!

As a retailer, you pay Amazon a percentage of all sales and some handling/shipping fees. You do not need to list all your items using FBA. As a retailer, you could consider which SKUs move quickly and are in demand and list the majority using FBA to ensure customers are receiving the most highly demanded products quickly and conveniently.  

For those who would prefer to ship the items themselves, let’s take a look at how that process would work:

  1. You find a product to sell on Amazon
  2. You list the product on Amazon.com (product is live at this point)
  3. An Amazon buyer places an order from you
  4. After the payment clears Amazon notifies you to ship the item
  5. You package the product to arrive safely to the customer
  6. You purchase a shipping label through Amazon to send to the customer
  7. You schedule a pick up or drop off the package to a local post office / UPS drop off (depending on what is used)
  8. Your customer receives the product in 2-12 days depending on shipping selection
  9. The Customer is happy!

It is your responsibility as the retailer to ensure you fulfil the order.

Other than the convenience of having Amazon fulfil your orders, why else would a seller choose to fulfil via FBA? The biggest benefit by selling on Amazon via FBA is that it allows your products to become eligible for Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime is an annual or monthly subscription that benefits Amazon customers by ensuring a free two-day delivery for eligible purchases. So, if you spend $99 a year to join Amazon Prime to get free shipping, are you going to choose to buy from a seller who “gives you” free shipping, or from someone that you have to pay shipping to? Not to mention, the security of knowing your product will arrive in two days versus a few days.   

Additionally, Amazon does a lot of marketing to encourage their customers to join the Prime program. This year Amazon Prime Day was the greatest sales day ever on Amazon US. And if you are not fulfilling via FBA, you cannot participate in these promotions.

Whether you choose to fulfil your own orders, or use FBA, there’s no denying the popularity of Amazon across the globe, and the options it can open up to you as a retailer. Research the different Amazon locations to determine which regions work best for your business. Spend time optimising your listings and assessing how you will deal with the logistics of selling internationally – and then take the leap to international expansion!

If you want to talk to our team about the ways that ChannelAdvisor can help you scale internationally, email us on ausales@channeladvisor.com.