Given the additional requirements for shipping to Europe, mistakes can be easy to make.
“You really want to be rigorous when checking off the boxes for your first shipment to Europe,” Robi says. “It’s a terrible experience for sellers and customers when you go to all the trouble of prepping and organizing your shipment, only for it to get held up at customs or to be considered undeliverable.”
1. Not getting EORI and VAT registration started right away
As with other government forms, European shipping paperwork takes time. Importing into Europe will likely require you to get an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and VAT registration.
“As soon as you know you want to ship to Europe, get your EORI and VAT registration submitted right away,” Robi says. “That way you’re not twiddling your thumbs waiting for the paperwork to arrive.”
Amazon’s Solution Provider Network provides a list of vetted European tax advisors.
2. Listing Amazon as your importer of record
When shipping their inventory to a European fulfillment center for FBA, some sellers mistakenly list Amazon as the IOR.
“The seller or freight forwarder should be the IOR,” Pearl says. “Use a freight forwarder with an address in the forwarding country.”
3. Using delivery duty unpaid, instead of paid, for FBA
If you ship FBA inventory as delivery duty unpaid instead of paid, you’ll be disappointed to find that Amazon won’t accept your inventory.
“Any inventory sent to an Amazon FC in Europe must be DDP,” Robi says.
For MFN, DDU is cheaper and can sometimes work, but it’s crucial that the customer never pay duties. “When self-fulfilling to Europe, talk to your shipping company and VAT specialist about when DDU might be OK to use,” Heather says.
4. Failing to schedule delivery at the European fulfillment center
Deliveries to fulfillment centers in Europe require a scheduled appointment.
“Don’t have your delivery rejected. Make sure that you or your shipping company schedules the delivery ahead of time,” Heather says.
Learn more about arranging delivery to fulfillment centers in Europe (sign-in required).
5. Not using EU-specific label
European fulfillment centers have different shipment labels than those for US fulfillment centers.
“Some sellers mistakenly assume that their US labels will work in European fulfillment centers,” Heather says. “They won’t. Use EU labels.”
For more information, go to Shipment Label Requirements (sign-in required).
6. Make sure you’re allowed to ship the product to Europe
Unforeseen restrictions can apply to products you plan to ship to Europe.
“Just because you can list a product on Amazon’s European marketplaces doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to ship it into the region,” Heather says. “Make sure you’re compliant with local regulations.”