If retailers are looking to expand their business internationally, Amazon Global Selling is a great pick. With operations in ten international marketplaces — the United States, Canada, the U.K. Germany, France, Italy, Spain China, Japan, and India — and customers in nearly 180 countries, the e-commerce giant connects retailers to millions of customers worldwide. Numbers also point to its strong performance as an international marketplace. In 2014, international net sales totaled $33.5 billion, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total sales last year.
The tools within Amazon’s Global Selling program make it an attractive international marketplace for sellers. From product listing, to communicating with customers in local languages, converting currency, fulfilling international shipments, navigating customs and duties, this international marketplace is a one-stop shop for global retail.
Amazon’s Global Selling program offers key features and tools that retailers can benefit from as they enter and expand business internationally.
Amazon Global Selling Feature #1: Access to the top international retail markets
Amazon’s Global Selling program provides access to the top international retail markets in North America, Europe, and Asia. These markets are:
North America – Canada & U.S
Europe – U.K., Germany, France, Italy, & Spain
Asia – Japan, China, & India
Market reach is not limited to these ten countries — Amazon customers come from 178 countries around the world. By expanding globally with Amazon’s international marketplace, the number of potential customers increases from 100 million in the U.S. to 250 million worldwide. In addition, businesses also benefit from customers’ immediate trust and value in the Amazon brand.
Amazon Global Selling Feature #2: Amazon European Marketplaces Account
If retailers are already selling in one European marketplace, such as Amazon.co.uk, and are looking to expand to other European international marketplaces in Germany, Italy, Spain, and/or France, Amazon European Marketplaces allows businesses to expand without having to set up individual accounts in each new country. This account option allows retailers to handle operations in all European markets from one central account.
Building International Listings: The Building International Listings feature allows retailers to manage product listings in all European accounts through one primary European marketplace account. When product listings and prices in primary European account are updated, listings for the same product(s) in all European accounts are automatically updated.
Amazon Global Selling Feature #3: Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS)
To simplify the payment process, the Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS) tool allows global retail businesses to receive payments in their local bank and local currency. Using exchange rates, Amazon converts payments in currencies supported by ACCS, and directly deposits payments into their local bank. This option is available only for banks located within Amazon’s 10 international marketplace countries, and currency conversion is available only for currencies supported by ACCS. For U.S. banks, there is no additional charge to use this feature.
If a retailer’s bank is not based in the countries supported by ACCS, to use this service, they can open a bank account in one of the countries it supports.
To learn more about how ACCS can facilitate receiving payments click here.
Amazon Global Selling Feature #4: Fulfillment by Amazon
When retailers sell with Amazon, they have the option of either fulfilling orders on their own or using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If retailers fulfill on their own, they should be aware that they are responsible for handling buyer order details, customs, duties, import taxes, all other fees, shipments, and returns on their own.
The FBA program eliminates many of the challenges and complexities with fulfilling in global retail. With FBA, when an order is placed, Amazon will pick the item(s) from a retailer’s inventory, pack the order, and ship it. It also handles the returns process for global retail business. Fulfilling with Amazon requires that retailers store their inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. The FBA program also offers local language support. Through the entire fulfillment process, Amazon communicates with customers in their local language.
FBA Export: The FBA Export option, available with no additional cost with the FBA program, identifies what items can be exported to different countries. It filters through export/import restrictions in each country, eliminating one of the most daunting challenges of global retail. Through this option, it also handles payments at checkout, accounting for the cost of the product(s), international shipping costs, and import fees/duties.
Fulfillment Options for Amazon European Marketplaces Accounts
If retailers have an Amazon European Marketplace Account, there are two fulfillment options available:
- European Fulfillment Network (EFN): EFN is an option that allows retailers to send their entire inventory to a fulfillment center in a primary source country, such as the U.K. When orders are placed from customers in Europe, Amazon fulfills orders from one source location. This option simplifies the process; therefore, is recommended for businesses just beginning operations in Europe.
- Multi-country inventory (MFN): MFN is an option that allows businesses to store inventory in different fulfillment centers in Europe. Retailers can select specific inventory to be placed in different European fulfillment centers. This allows their business to strategically store inventory based on consumer demand. If certain products, for example, are in high demand in Spain, having fulfillment centers directly in Spain would help fulfill orders for those items faster, thus maximizing customer satisfaction.
To learn more about international fulfillment options with Amazon click here.
Amazon Global Selling Feature #5: Language and Customer Support
Local Languages in Customer Support and Returns Process: When selling on Amazon, customer support in local languages is required. If retailers choose to fulfill on their own, they will have to provide customer support in the local language(s) or hire a third party service that can assist with this. Amazon can provide support in local languages 24/7 which is included in the Fulfillment by Amazon program.
Also through the FBA program, Amazon handles returns for global retail business. It communicates with customers in their local languages and takes care of the returns process from A-Z. In contrast, if retailers choose to fulfill on their own, they are responsible for overseeing the entire returns process. Amazon policy requires that retailers provide customers a local return address or offer free international shipment returns.
Seller Central Language Switcher: This function in Amazon allows operations to be managed in a business’ preferred language, such as English. This simplifies website interface, allowing retailers to focus on managing and reaching their global retail goals. For instance, if a retailer’s preferred language is English and they have accounts in Spain, Japan, and the U.K, they are able to manage listings, logistics, and other functions for all accounts in English.
Additional Resources on Amazon Global Selling
The traditional barriers of global retail are plenty: market uncertainties, complex consumer preferences, language barriers, international shipping costs, taxes, customs & duties, and more. The Amazon Global Selling program is an international marketplace that mitigates these barriers, allowing businesses to focus on global expansion and operations.
Amazon’s tools are designed to handle issues unique to retail business marketing, operations, customer support, and fulfillment on an international scale. If you are interested in learning more about the Amazon Global Selling program, and how it can help you enter and succeed in the world of global retail, here are some links and resources: