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Expanding to International Amazon Marketplaces

As of the time of this writing, there are 11 international Amazon marketplaces, and Amazon sellers can access them provided they meet the requirement. For the US, Canada, and European marketplaces, this means a credit card, a phone number, and tax information–the European market requires a VAT number as well. Amazon requires sellers to register for an account for each marketplace, with certain restrictions on marketplaces like India. Whatever marketplace you use, you must be able to use the local language.

Businesses with a Pro seller account in the US, Canada, or Mexico have a North America Unified Account that can sell across all three marketplaces. Sellers can also sign up for a European Unified Account that gives access to the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Amazon Japan requires a separate seller account, while China and India have specific restrictions. Each country also has its laws and regulations, so you’ll have to know those before you begin.

The Unified Accounts allow you to access all marketplaces through a single seller account. You can switch markets through Seller Central.

Each marketplace is separate when you create listings. If you are selling on the North American Unified Account, then you’ll have to list your product three times. For instance, a product listed on the US marketplace will not automatically transfer to the Amazon Canada. Luckily, tools will automate the process for you with the Professional seller account.

Once you’ve registered to sell on an international marketplace, you can ship the order yourself or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Export. If you are Merchant Fulfilled, then you’ll have to handle customer service in the local language. Some services exist to help you with international sales, service, and translation, like InterCultural Elements. But using FBA will make the process much smoother for you.

You should not be using digital translation services to provide customer support. While Google Translate or translation apps may be helpful, they are no substitute for native customer support. Awkward phrasing, a lack of cultural knowledge, and poor grammar will reflect negatively on your ratings, and your reputation will undoubtedly suffer as a result. Instead, use a translation service with native speakers. You can find one on our list of Amazon tools and services under “Other.”

Using FBA Export for international shipping gives you several advantages. First, your items will ship to customers faster than fulfilling orders yourself since items are at fulfillment centers closer to the customer. Secondly, FBA Export will handle international shipping. Finally, Amazon provides customer service in the native language of the marketplace. Ultimately, you’ll be more competitive with local businesses.

For sellers in the European marketplace, Amazon offers 3 FBA programs. One is Pan-European FBA, which allows sellers to fulfill all European orders from a single inventory pool. Other European FBA programs are European Fulfillment Network (EFN) and Multi-Country Inventory (MCI). EFN allows you to store and ship your products across all five of the European marketplaces. With MCI, you send your most popular products closer to where your customers are, allowing them to receive those items faster.

The final decision you’ll have to make is whether or not to open a bank account locally for deposits. You can also choose to receive Amazon payments in your local currency. This service is known as Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS). Of course, you’ll be subject to the exchange rate and fees associated with using ACCS, but for small businesses, this option may be more appealing.

With the suite of tools Amazon provides and Amazon’s brand recognition, businesses have no reason to limit their sales domestically. Registering and selling on multiple marketplaces will only serve to increase brand awareness and sales. By expanding your products internationally through Amazon, you could reach an audience of billions.

You can reach the Amazon Global Selling website here.