Key considerations for selling internationally on Amazon

Customer support and returns

Amazon has set high standards for itself and sellers when it comes to customer focus. A great shopping experience for customers includes finding and ordering products with ease, getting fast, free shipping, and providing excellent customer support on orders and returns.

In this section we will cover customer support and customer returns. As presented in previous sections, you have two options to fulfill your international orders: you can do it on your own or you can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Your fulfillment method will determine how you provide customer support and handle returns. Let's look at how you can provide excellent customer support based on the fulfillment options you use.

Customer support

When you sell in an Amazon marketplace, you are required to provide customer support in the local language of the marketplace. For instance, if you are selling on Amazon.jp or Amazon.es, you’re required to provide customer support in Japanese or Spanish, respectively. You can choose to do it on your own or you can have Amazon do it when you join FBA.

Local language customer support
When you choose to fulfill customer orders yourself, it’s not just the picking, packing, and shipping to customers that you’ll need to handle; Amazon also requires that you handle customer support. This can be challenging if you are selling in an Amazon marketplace where you don’t know the language.

You may be tempted to use automated computer translators to respond to email inquiries from international customers. However, a risk to this approach is that machine translation may lead to less-than-optimal translations, which in turn could lead to a poor customer experience, ultimately affecting your seller performance ratings. A better option, if you do not have in-house customer service capabilities in the local language, is to use third-party service providers to handle your customer support.

Timely responses
Customers expect prompt, helpful service when they have questions or concerns about your products. To maintain a healthy seller scorecard, you should have customer service specialists who understand your products, that know where the customer's product is and when it will be delivered, and who will be able to respond quickly (within 24 hours) to customer e-mail contacts in the local language. This may be challenging when selling in marketplaces that are in different time zones from your place of business, as the time differences will shorten the timeframe in which you can respond to customers during your regular business hours.

There are many online resources that can help sellers with customer support. Here are a few links other sellers have found useful organized by region.

 

Customer support services in

Company

North America

Seller Engine

Europe

InterCultural Elements

Japan

Jumbo

When you use FBA, Amazon will provide 24-hour customer support on your behalf in the local language of the relevant marketplace. For many sellers, this feature of FBA is critical to selling in international marketplaces successfully. With local language customer support already included in FBA, you can provide your customers with Amazon’s world-class customer service, and you can focus on growing and managing your business.

Customer returns

When you use FBA, Amazon will provide 24-hour customer support on your behalf in the local language of the relevant marketplace. For many sellers, this feature of FBA is critical to selling in international marketplaces successfully. With local language customer support already included in FBA, you can provide your customers with Amazon’s world-class customer service, and you can focus on growing and managing your business.

When listing in an international marketplace and fulfilling items on your own, you must either provide customers with a local return address within the country of their Amazon marketplace website or offer them free shipment for returns. This is a requirement to sell on Amazon's marketplaces.

As you consider how your customers will return items that they purchase from you, please keep the following options in mind:

  • Using Fulfillment by Amazon: When you choose FBA, Amazon will handle local returns on your behalf for FBA orders in that marketplace, so you don't have to worry about providing a local return address.
     
  • Implementing restocking fees and offering partial refunds: In certain situations, it might be appropriate to charge the customer a restocking fee or offer a partial refund on the product being returned. Restocking fees or partial refunds must comply with Amazon's policies on returns, including the Returns and Restocking Fees policies.
     
  • Engaging a third-party International Returns Provider: We have created a list of returns providers that can accept returns in your customers' countries. Depending on your sales volume and unit price, international returns providers may offer solutions that reduce the costs you incur when customers in other counties return your products. For example, some providers will consolidate returns and ship them back to you or ship them to another customer. You can find our international returns provider list by choosing Additional services in the menu to the left.

When you choose FBA, Amazon will handle local returns on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about providing a local return address or changing your pricing to incorporate international returns shipping.

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