Amazon Global Selling is a program that enables brands to list and sell their products on Amazon marketplaces across the globe in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North America.
With more than 200 million paid Prime members globally and hundreds of millions of worldwide active customer accounts, you can take advantage of Amazon’s global scale to make your products reach worldwide.
With Amazon Global Selling Program, you can currently take your business from India to the global markets in 200+ countries and territories.
Each marketplace has its pros and cons, therefore before launching into a new marketplace, sellers should look at any geographical, tax and product restrictions relating to that marketplace.
While the sellers need to open separate seller accounts in each marketplace, Amazon still has “unified accounts” for North American (US, Canada, and Mexico) and European (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands and Spain) marketplace. You can use the same listing to sell in the countries in that region, i.e., if you already sell in one country in a unified region, you can sell to other countries in that region without opening a separate account.
For example , if a US-based seller wants to expand the business to Canada, they do not need to create a separate seller account. In the same way, if a UK-based seller intends to expand the business to Germany, they do not need to create a separate seller account.
If you don’t already have an account in a unified region you will need to create one to sell to any of the countries within that area. For countries not in a unified region, such as Australia and Brazil, you will need to register for a new selling account in that country.
The procedure and regulations for registration on Amazon differ in each country (or unified region).
Here are the high-level requirements for some of the most popular areas:
North America (US, Canada & Mexico)
To be eligible to sell in the Amazon North America marketplace you need
1) To be a resident in an accepted country, including India (there are over a hundred).
2) A valid bank account (it doesn’t have to be a North American bank account).
3) A valid phone number.
4) An internationally chargeable credit card.
Europe (UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands & France)
To be eligible to sell in the Amazon Europe marketplace you need
1) A bank account in an accepted country (which includes India)
2) A valid phone number.
3) An internationally chargeable credit card.
To be eligible to sell on the Amazon Japan marketplace you need
1) A bank account in Japan or the US.
2) A valid phone number.
3) An internationally chargeable credit card.
Every Amazon marketplace has its nuances for international sellers
1) Product and category restrictions- Not every product is allowed in every marketplace. You can sell products on one Amazon marketplace but the same product on another marketplace can face certain restrictions. Amazon may also require special documentation (e.g. government approvals for grocery items) before you’re approved to sell within certain categories.
2) Taxes and import duties- Each country has different taxation policies concerning Amazon revenue, such as VAT in Europe and GST in Australia. Tax obligations also vary with fulfilment centres.
3) Local language translation- In certain countries, product information on your listing and ongoing customer support are only available in the regional language. Although Amazon Global Selling program has been designed to help with product listing translations, it doesn’t always work perfectly.
4) Maintain performance levels- Failure to comply with Amazon standards in different marketplaces may result in account suspension. Sellers need to set their policy concerning shipping speed and returns, to ensure meeting of the set Amazon standards.
An international expansion strategy is not a linear path as each brand and each country is unique.
However, some points should be prioritised based on the potential of the new Amazon marketplaces-
1. Existing Brand Presence- Launching products into markets where the brand is already well-known is the most efficient and profitable strategy.
2. GDP- Thorough research on the disposable income currently floating in the target marketplace and the future predictions for the growth in the country helps in eliminating certain regions. There is not much benefit in selling in a country where the disposable income is less.
3. Language- Marketplaces that share the same language with the seller’s home country would not require translation costs, therefore a more viable option.
4. Start-up Costs - Each country has its own set of rules and compliances. Certain markets may require more approvals and documentation, thereby costing more manpower and cost, hurting the profitability of the launch program.
In terms of marketplace size, Amazon.com is by far the biggest and the most preferable marketplace in the terms of total traffic and revenue generated.
In comparison to Amazon.com, the other marketplaces rank as-
a) Canada is around 5-10% of Amazon.com sales volume.
b) The UK is approximately 10% of Amazon.com sales volume.
c) The EU (France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Spain combined) is also around 10% of Amazon.com sales volume.
d) Australia is approximately 1% of Amazon.com's sales volume.
The sellers need to do a comprehensive competitive analysis for every market to understand the potential and opportunities of selling in each country.
Another point to be noted is that the established markets such as Amazon.com are incredibly saturated and have higher Cost per Click (CPCs), but promising brands can generate enormous amounts of revenue.
On the other hand, newer marketplaces such as Amazon Australia and Brazil have way less competition and have far more affordable CPCs, but brands can’t expect revenue at the level of Amazon.com.
Amazon PPC advertising and standard product listing optimization and promotional tools, such as A+ content and videos are available across all major marketplaces.
Each region or marketplace has its benefits. Being the biggest Amazon marketplace, new promotional and advertising tools are made available on Amazon.com first, before rolling out the features to other markets. An example would be the Amazon Vine Program which enables Amazon selling partners to get reviews on their products by Amazon reviewers that Amazon invited to participate in Vine.
Amazon also purposefully restricts new marketplaces for utilizing certain tools. With the recent Amazon Australia launch, for example, there was no Prime or PPC advertising on the marketplace for the first six months.
The Build International Listings (BIL) tool helps sellers create offers in a source marketplace and expand these offers out to target marketplaces. Using the BIL tool helps sellers save time and effort by managing offers in just one marketplace by extending the offers to other marketplaces as well. Changes made in one product listing in the source account update the target marketplace.
It is important to note that BIL only works within a region where there are multiple marketplaces, such as Europe or North America, and across regions when you have connected them by linking accounts.
There are two ways to sell internationally- Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) and Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
- With MFN, List and Sell your products on the Amazon global marketplace Ship using your own Logistics service directly to the Buyer.
- With FBA, Amazon stores your products in Amazon fulfilment centres. Amazon packs, ships and provides customer service.
However, the preferred mode is FBA as-
It saves time by reducing the time taken for products to reach the customers.
Makes products affordable by reducing the selling cost. Shipping costs and customs duties are also reduced at the product level.
Increases product visibility by Amazon algorithm due to Prime badge and FBA tag.
Each country has its own Brand Registry with its own rules, regulations and compliances. The sellers need to apply to each one separately.
It is important to note that trademarks registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) are accepted for Brand Registry applications in European countries, as well as those registered with each country’s own trademark office.