Key considerations for selling internationally on Amazon

Ship and fulfill

Getting your products to customers promptly is an important part of creating a great customer experience. The same is true whether you're selling domestically or internationally. In this section, we cover the technical considerations of fulfilling orders on your own and using Fulfillment by Amazon, so you can plan a fulfillment strategy that is best for your business.

Fulfilling on your own

When customers outside your country purchase your products on Amazon, one way to fulfill these orders is to ship them yourself internationally. There are several things to consider when shipping internationally direct to your customers.

If your inventory is located in a different country than the marketplace where your customers placed their order, you need to ship the product internationally to your customer. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. The seller chooses a carrier that can ship internationally.
     
  2. The seller ships the product and is the exporter of record.
    Important: To ensure a good customer experience and manage your customer reviews and seller performance ratings, it is important that you do not expose customers to delays due to customs or unexpected charges associated with additional duties and taxes on their products. It is important that the seller take care of such matters when shipping the product.
     
  3. The carrier acts as the broker by default, according to the terms and conditions on the freight bill. The carrier will collect duties from the buyer upon delivery of the goods.

It is also important to manage customer expectations. You should provide customers with accurate information about the country from which you are shipping your product. Specifically, you need to accurately state the 'shipping from' country in your seller profile and manage customer expectations by stating the actual shipping times from your country. You will be responsible to meet the shipping expectations for all orders you receive.

International shipping charges vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Package dimensions and weight
     
  • Delivery time
     
  • Source (where you are shipping from) and destination (where you are shipping to). Costs can be considerably higher for international destinations.

In addition to the above charges, you should be aware of customs duties and taxes that will need to be paid. Amazon will not be responsible for any customs duties and taxes associated with FBA inventory. Any shipments arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with customs duty charges due will be returned to sender.

Fulfilling an order internationally will take more time than doing so domestically. Shipping times are reflected in the offer detail and may make your offer less competitive relative to domestic counterparts.

There are also many online resources that can help sellers determine rates and that will make shipping easier. Here are a few links, organized by region, other sellers have found useful. Visit their websites directly to calculate the approximate shipping charges you can expect when fulfilling orders for the Amazon marketplaces you would like to list in:

 

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

An alternative way to fulfill your international orders is to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) in the country corresponding to the Amazon marketplace where you are listing your products. Using FBA will require importing your products to another country for storage in an Amazon fulfillment center to sell them to customers in that marketplace. The one exception to this case is if you already sell in one of Amazon’s European marketplaces and fulfill with FBA in that marketplace. In that case, you can fulfill your orders from other EU marketplaces using your current FBA account through the Pan-European FBA, the European Fulfillment Network or Multi-Country Inventory.

 

Seller is based

FBA fulfillment center location

Importation required?

Outside the United States

U.S.

Yes, products need to be imported into the U.S.

Outside Canada

Canada

Yes, products need to be imported into Canada.

Outside Europe

European marketplace countries: U.K., Germany, France, Italy, or Spain

Yes, products need to be imported into the country where the FBA fulfillment center is located.

In Europe

EU marketplaces countries: U.K., Germany, France, Italy, or Spain

No, goods don't need to be imported intra-EU. If seller uses FBA, seller can use FBA international programs.

Outside Japan

Japan

Yes, products need to be imported into Japan.

Outside Mexico

Mexico

Yes, products need to be imported into Mexico.

Advantages for international sellers
FBA is available in all of Amazon’s marketplaces worldwide. As an international seller, you can use FBA to level the playing field, allowing you to provide the same fulfillment benefits to your customers as do other local competitors. When using FBA you can:

  • Decrease the shipment time to your customers making your offers more competitive, thereby growing your international sales.
     
  • Provide returns and local language customer support through Amazon, so you can delight your customers and build on your customer ratings.

The following section covers what you need to know in order to plan for the import process. As covered in Register and launch, you will first need to create a seller account in the Amazon marketplace where you want to sell, then enroll in FBA in that marketplace.

For more information about selling internationally and using FBA, please refer to Amazon’s help pages on Seller Central, including reminders about your obligations when using Fulfillment by Amazon.

If you have not completed your first shipment to Amazon before October 10, 2016, we invite you to start shipping to an Amazon U.S. fulfillment center after December 19, 2016.

If your inventory is located in a different country than the fulfillment center, you need to export your products from the source country and import them into the destination country. You will act as the exporter of record in the source country and the importer of record in the destination country, and must comply with all laws and regulations of the source and destination countries. You may be subject to import taxes, customs duties, and fees levied by the destination country. Amazon will not be responsible for any customs duties and taxes associated with FBA inventory. Any shipments arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with customs duty charges due will be returned to sender. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Create listings in Seller Central.
     
  2. Prepare a commercial invoice indicating that you are the importer of record.
     
  3. Choose a customs broker (this service may be offered by your carrier).
     
  4. Ship the products from the factory or warehouse to the port.
     
  5. Clear the products through customs for export.
     
  6. Load products onto a carrier for transport to the destination port.
     
  7. Ship products to the destination port and offload them.
     
  8. Clear the products through customs for import.
     
  9. Load products onto carrier for transport to fulfillment center.

For more details on rules and regulations for inbounding inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center, including requirements for floor-loaded LTL/FTL shipments, please visit the following Amazon help page.

US FBA Export is a program available through Fulfillment by Amazon FBA that can help you grow your international business. When you opt into FBA Export, your eligible products become available for export. When international customers place orders, Amazon picks, packs, and ships the product straight to the customer. At no additional cost, Amazon handles the complexity of shipping products internationally. Customers visiting Amazon.com can search, browse, and find your products. At checkout, the customer pays for the order, which includes international shipping, an import fee deposit (Duty), and the product cost. If a customer has any questions regarding the order, the customer can contact Amazon Customer Service. If the customer has returns, the customer can go through the normal returns process for Amazon, and Amazon Customer Service provides the return instructions. No extra fees will be charged to sellers.
 

To opt into FBA Export:

  1. Log in to Seller Central.
     
  2. Click Setting, and then click Fulfillment by Amazon.
     
  3.  Scroll down to Export Settings, and then click Edit.
     
  4. Click FBA Export, and then upload a signature.
     
  5. Click the Submit button.
     

For a list of export eligible products:

  1. Log in to Seller Central
     
  2. Click Reports, and then click Fulfillment.
     
  3. In the left pane, under Inventory, click Show more.
     
  4. Click Exportable Inventory.

Note: Inventory updates may take up to 2 weeks to appear in the report.

Selling in Europe offers an opportunity to leverage Amazon's fulfillment network. Not only is listing simplified with a single Amazon European marketplace account, but cross-border sales are also easier to manage with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). In Europe, FBA offers three international fulfillment programs: Pan-European FBA, the European Fulfillment Network (EFN) and Multi-Country Inventory (MCI).

Pan-European FBA
The Pan-European FBA program allows you to fulfill offers in all European marketplaces from one inventory pool without incurring per-unit cross-border Fulfillment Fees for the European Fulfillment Network. Amazon will distribute your inventory across the European fulfillment network at no additional cost. You can track your Pan-European FBA offers using all standard reports and tools in Seller Central.

Once you enable Pan-European FBA in your Fulfillment by Amazon Settings in Seller Central Europe, Pan-European FBA will become active for a product only after you create an active FBA offer in each of the Amazon European marketplaces (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es) from the same inventory pool and enrol the ASIN in Pan-European FBA.

Choose the country to which you wish to ship Pan-European FBA ASINs. Amazon may then move this inventory across European fulfillment centers at its discretion at no additional cost to you. This helps inventory be as close to customers as possible.

Learn more about Pan-European FBA.

European Fulfillment Network (EFN)

The European Fulfillment Network (EFN). EFN is a simple way to store and ship your inventory across all five of Amazon’s European marketplaces. Here's how it works:

  1. You ship your inventory to fulfillment centers in your home or local marketplace in Europe—for example, in the U.K.
     
  2. You list the products in one or more of the Amazon European marketplaces—for example, on Amazon.de (German language website).
     
  3. Customers across Europe can order your products, and Amazon fulfills those orders from that single pool of inventory. For example, when a customer in Germany purchases your product on Amazon.de, the product is fulfilled by Amazon and shipped from your inventory pool in the U.K.
     
  4. When customers track their orders, they can see where it is shipping from and the expected arrival time.

Selecting the European Fulfillment Network

 

If you are registered for Fulfillment by Amazon, you’re able to use EFN with no additional registration or startup costs. Simply add your listings to each Amazon European marketplace where you want to sell. When those products sell, you pay a fee for each order shipped outside your home marketplace through EFN, in addition to your other FBA fees. Learn more about EFN Fees.

 

 

Multi-Country Inventory (MCI)

You can reduce the time it takes for an order to get to your customer by using Multi-Country Inventory (MCI). MCI is an optional international fulfillment program offered through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) that helps you grow your international sales by making your offers more competitive. With MCI, you send your most popular inventory directly to the countries where customers are buying, so the products are close to your customers. When customers order your products, Amazon can ship and deliver them faster.

Even if you fulfill domestic orders yourself, you can gain a competitive edge in the international marketplaces where you sell by fulfilling locally with MCI. You can either choose to fulfill your entire listings or just your bestselling items locally through MCI—there are no minimum requirements.

Selecting Multi-Country Inventory

 

In order to take advantage of MCI, you can create offers in any Amazon European marketplaces with Amazon's Build International Listings tool. When you enable MCI, you will be able to select from the available countries to send inventory.

 

Importing and exporting inventory

When you expand your business to an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and fulfill with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or a third-party fulfillment provider, you'll need to understand your obligations in the import/export process. Although you may want to handle some or all of these import/export steps yourself, it can be easier to hire a logistics provider such as a customs broker or a freight forwarder to handle the process for you. These providers may have the expertise and the time to make sure your inventory moves from one place to another in a timely and secure manner.

 

Tip: If you use FBA in a marketplace outside your home country and you wish to use the services of a logistics provider, the best practice is to contact one as soon as you sign up for FBA. The process for completing the necessary paperwork can take some time, and you do not want the process to delay getting your products into customers' hands.

 

If you engage the services of a customs broker or a freight forwarder to help you move inventory from one country to another, you must engage them directly. You must also directly make the arrangements for establishing the importer or exporter of record. Amazon cannot act in that capacity or make these arrangements for you.

Before you engage a customs broker or freight forwarder to help you move your inventory from one country to a fulfillment center in another country, you will need to decide who will take on certain responsibilities:

  • Exporter of record (EOR): Generally, the shipper is the exporter of record. Amazon will not act as the exporter of record. You may be able to contract with your customs broker or freight forwarder to act as the EOR.
  • Importer of record (IOR): The importer of record is responsible for ensuring that the shipment is successfully imported into the destination country. Responsibilities include filing legally required documents and paying assessed import duties and taxes. It is important to note that Amazon, including the fulfillment centers, will not serve as the importer of record for any shipment of FBA inventory. Any FBA inventory shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.

Nonresident Importers

In some countries, a nonresident (foreign) IOR can arrange entry of goods. To become a nonresident IOR, please contact your customs broker or carrier for details.

Important Note: It is your responsibility to comply with all import and export laws and to ensure the imported goods comply with applicable laws and regulations. You may not import prohibited or restricted items without all required permits and authorizations. For example, the import of certain agricultural, food products, alcohol, plants and seeds, fish and wildlife products, or medication into the United States may be prohibited or restricted.

A customs broker or freight forwarder may require you to complete the following forms:

  • Power of Attorney: When you sign a Power of Attorney, the customs broker or freight forwarder is authorized to act as your agent to get your inventory moved through the customs process.
     
  • Importer of Record registration: Register as an IOR with customs authorities in the country where you are importing inventory. Amazon, including our fulfillment centers, will not serve as an IOR for any shipment of FBA inventory. This applies to shipments of any size or value, regardless of origin and product. Any FBA shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.
     
  • Terms and conditions: The customs broker should spell out terms for you to help you understand who is responsible for the goods at every step of the shipment process.
     
  • Duties, taxes, and shipping costs: Amazon will not be responsible for or collect any duties, taxes, or shipping costs associated with FBA inventory. All shipments are required to use Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping terms. Any shipment arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with collect charges, including any duties, taxes, or shipping costs, will be refused without further concession.
     
  • Deliver-to party: An Amazon fulfillment center may be listed as the deliver-to party on your shipping documentation. Here are some examples of how this should appear on the shipping documentation:

 

Example 1

Example 2

Amazon.com.kydc
[Seller legal name] c/o FBA
1850 Mercer Drive
Lexington, KY 40511 USA

Amazon.com.dedc
[Seller legal name] c/o FBA
500 McCarthy
Lewisberry, PA 17339 USA

Please ensure your contact information is included on the shipping documentation in case there are questions regarding your shipment.

Although Amazon will not serve as Importer of Record, it may be listed as ultimate consignee on your shipping documentation—but only if "in care of" is listed before the name of the Amazon entity.

If you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, your customs broker must contact Amazon at sellerimports@amazon.com in advance of shipping any inventory to obtain the EIN or Tax ID # required for customs clearance.

When your goods are ready for shipment from the manufacturer or distributor, the shipper prepares the commercial invoice. It’s critical that the commercial invoice be accurate to avoid delays clearing customs. The following information should be included on the commercial invoice:

  • The date of the invoice
     
  • The names of the buyer and seller, including addresses (Amazon should not be shown as the buyer or the seller on the commercial invoice).
     
  • The name and complete address of the seller or manufacturer
     
  • The shipper’s contact name, company name, address, and tax ID number
     
  • The ship-to address. Here, enter "In care of," and then the name and address of the Amazon fulfillment center where you are shipping the goods.
     
  • Importer of record. This field must contain the shipper's name, if it is the same as the owner of the goods. Do not leave this information blank; this will result in the shipment being refused and returned.
     
  • Mode of shipment
     
  • Detailed description of the goods being invoiced. Include the following:
     
    • Customs Harmonized Codes, if known
       
    • Number of units
       
    • Unit values
       
    • Total value of each product. For samples or products with no commercial value, a nominal or fair-market value must be stated for customs purposes.
       
  • The type of currency of the transaction
  • The terms of the sale. Note that correct terms must be Delivered Duty Paid (DDP). The shipper or FBA seller should pay all applicable duty and taxes and be responsible for clearing customs before delivery to the Amazon fulfillment center. You are not authorized to import goods in the name of Amazon or to show Amazon as the declarant, or importer of record on the customs entry documentation.
     
  • Shipment tracking number. For shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers, include the Amazon FBA Shipment ID that you receive when you create the shipment in your Amazon seller account. The shipment tracking number can also be an air waybill number if you are sending the package via a carrier service such as FedEx or UPS.
     
  • Any certifications
     
  • Name of the carrier transporting the goods
     
  • Freight payment terms
     
  • Reason for export

Amazon fulfillment centers have requirements for the shipments they receive, including the size of the pallets and the type of truck that can deliver to the fulfillment center. The How to Ship Inventory to Amazon guidelines provide information needed for preparing your shipment to an Amazon fulfillment center. Paying attention to these requirements and best practices will help avoid delays in getting your inventory to the fulfillment center and into your customers' hands.

Note: Pallet differences exist between the United States, the United Kingdom, and European marketplaces.

Arrange to have your shipments palletized before they arrive at the fulfillment center whenever possible. Amazon's fulfillment centers will accept floor-loaded shipments but only if you request it in advance when you set up your shipment to the fulfillment center. Additional charges may apply if the floor-loaded shipment requires extensive handling.

Make sure that your shipments comply with Amazon's policies regarding inbound shipments. If Amazon refuses to accept your shipments, you are responsible for removing the shipment from the fulfillment center. For shipments that are less than a half pallet of loose cartons, each of which weighing less than 15 kilograms, you may find it better to ship your products through a courier service. The carrier you use may depend on the destination country because carrier services vary. If you do choose to ship your inventory to a fulfillment center via a carrier service, you should check with the carrier to verify that it can clear your goods through customs based on the commercial invoice you provide. If the carrier cannot clear your goods based on the commercial invoice, then you may need to contact a customs broker.

Logistics companies/customs brokers
There are many online resources that can help sellers determine rates and that can make shipping easier. The following are links to some companies some sellers have found useful. Visit their websites directly to calculate the approximate shipping charges you can expect when fulfilling orders for the Amazon marketplaces you would like to list in:

DHL: www.dhl.com
Expeditors International: www.expeditors.com
FedEx: www.fedex.com
Samuel Shapiro: www.shapiro.com
UPS: www.ups.com

We suggest you contact your freight forwarder or courier in advance of shipping any inventory to understand its fees and requirements.

Amazon is unable to return inventory stored in Amazon's fulfillment centers to an address outside of the original import country. Further, FBA does not support pick-up options for sellers at Amazon fulfillment centers. If you wish to have FBA inventory returned to you, you must supply a return address in the country of import in the Create Removal Order form (sign-in required).

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