Grow your brand into Europe with Amazon: a guide
Whether you’re a seasoned Amazon seller or you’re new to the industry, you’ll want to consider selling in Europe. E-commerce sales in Europe grew 14.4% in 2021, beating expectations.
But while selling on Amazon in Europe has the potential for great success, it’s not an easy process. It requires understanding laws and tailoring your product to each country’s local customs.
Curious about learning more? Below we have provided a step-by-step guide to get started selling in Europe as an Amazon seller.
1. Conduct proper research
Never assume that a certain country or region is a good option to expand your business. You will need to rely on more than your intuition and connect some research to determine if selling in Europe is the proper fit for your Amazon business.
First, you’ll have to make sure that you are allowed to sell your product in Europe since its compliance regulations change often. Certain products in the beauty, consumables, or electronics categories face different rules in different countries. Amazon’s rules also change often.
Conduct an analysis of your category to see how successful it is in Europe. Look at the sales volume of your products across different countries and regions within Europe. You’ll be able to determine expected sales within each country and select the countries you will focus on.
Take some time to learn about the market leaders in each region. You’ll want to look at traditional market share in addition to the share of voice. Because you’re entering a new market, understanding the current visibility of your brand will help you set goals when you sell products.
Amazon’s Fee Structure
If you choose to have Amazon fulfill your shipments, you will have to pay different fees in different countries. There is an FBA Export program for the EU, which Amazon uses with its own hipping policies. Remember that the UK is now no longer part of the EU and will have its own policies.
2. Choose your method of fulfillment
Once you decide to expand your Amazon store into Europe, you’ll have to do some research into your fulfillment options. You have two main fulfillment options: FBM and FBA.
Amazon Europe FBM Fulfillment
FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) is a phrase you’re likely familiar with from selling on Amazon. This option means that you’re responsible for fulfilling and shipping orders. FBM is also available to you as an Amazon Europe seller.
You’ll either ship from your current country or ship your items from Europe via third-party storage options.
FBM from your current warehouse is simpler but more expensive and time-consuming. FBM will save you time and money, but only if you find a third-party distributor that you trust. Keep in mind that FBM from Europe also means you won’t be Prime eligible.
If you have a good distribution deal from a third-party distribution center in Europe, you could use FBM there.
But, FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) will give you more options. If you don’t ship many items but you want to test the market, FBA from your current warehouse is the ideal place to start. We’ll explain more about FBA in the next section.
Amazon Europe FBA Fulfillment
Amazon has three FBA choices in Europe.
EFN (European Fulfillment Network) lets you choose an EU distribution center. All of your products will be stored in one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers and then sent to European buyers. You will only store products in one warehouse, so you can ship all of your items here.
MCI (Multi-Country Inventory) involves storing your products in multiple countries. You’ll ship some products to different distribution centers throughout Europe, which will give you more control over where products are stored and shipped from. You’ll benefit the most from this if some of your products are bought more frequently from specific countries.
Pan-European FBA gives you the simplest but most comprehensive option. Sellers who use Pan-European FBA will have Amazon handle everything for them.
After sending their products to a distribution center, Amazon will distribute the products throughout the EU based on the predicted demand. Amazon will save you from cross-border fees this way.
3. Get to know VAT
Now that you’ve decided on your fulfillment strategy, it’s time to do some research into the legalities of selling in Europe. You’ll need to register your EORI number and your VAT numbers.
An EORI number is your Economic Operator Registration and Identification. This makes you eligible to import your goods into Europe.
Your VAT number holds you responsible for the value-added tax that you’ll charge on every product you sell. VAT numbers are applicable for both FBM and FBA sellers to make sure that every EU customer is indeed paying this tax.
If you plan to begin selling in only one country, you will only need to register for VAT in that country. But you may need to register for VAT as you begin to sell to other countries.
The VAT threshold differs for each country, so some countries will have higher VAT minimums than others.
If you’re selling in 4 different European countries and meet the threshold in all of those countries, you’ll need to have 4 different VAT numbers. So, if you’re selling in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Greece, you’ll need to have all of the numbers for each.
When all is said and done, selling in Europe can be complicated without the right expertise.
ProMerit’s services can help you set up your tax IDs in Europe and ensure the selling structure of your business is legally compliant. ProMerit can even sell on its own because it has its own VAT numbers – which will make the process much quicker and less risky.
4. Set payment options & pricing
An Amazon pricer tool will be helpful to make sure you’re still earning a return on what you sell. There are numerous options available to you as a seller.
5. List your products with local languages
When listing your products in Europe, you have to keep in mind that all of your listings need to be in the language of that country. But you may not have considered that your support, reviews, and customer service will need to be too. If you want to be a real competitor, all of your languages have to be familiar for the residents of that country.
Whether you choose FBA or FBM, you’ll need to have someone do translations properly. You’ll need to answer customer questions in the right language, especially since these questions and answers are shown forever.
And as for your product listings, you’ll need to have all titles and descriptions translated. It’s wise to hire a professional service to do this instead of attempting to translate it yourself, as customers will be able to tell the difference.
You may think that having Amazon translate the listings will work – but Amazon uses an automated translation feature. This feature won’t take into account the nuances of each language, nor will it translate your product’s supporting images if they contain text.
Remember that selling to different countries with the same language doesn’t mean that the language is spoken the same. For instance, English speakers in the United States and the UK have different spellings and nuances within each language.
To be the most successful, your listings should go even beyond the change of language. You should also localize your listings. Localization involves adapting your content and listings to suit the target audience in a certain area.
6. Build your reputation
Listing your products for European Amazon buyers is only the first step. Now you’ll need to focus on building your reputation from an unknown entity to a trusted seller.
The keys to doing this are to ask for reviews, provide great service, and stay up to date with the markets. There are more than 40 countries in Europe, each with its own expectations. Do not begin to sell in a country until you know how to interact with buyers.
Once you do begin selling your products in Europe, thank customers for their purchase and ask them to leave you positive feedback. Reviews will help you to build your brand – as 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends.
Mastering Amazon selling in europe
Expanding your Amazon store to sell in Europe could be the next move that transforms your business!
Don’t get started with the process alone – the ProMerit team can walk you through the process of getting your necessary tax IDs and setting up your company’s logistics so it is in the best position to sell.
ProMerit can even purchase directly to your warehouse and take care of everything from there, including shipping, customs, and customer service. Contact us to learn more.