Are you an established US Amazon seller? If you have previously only stocked your items in United States distribution centers, then you may consider expanding your reach to sell on Amazon Europe. So what does it take to stimulate your business into the next stage of growth?
This article will help you get your head around all these different marketplaces and their different rules. Step 1. Decide which European Amazon marketplace to start with
It's up to you whether to sell in one of the five European Amazon marketplaces or in all of them. Still, you do have to choose
a "home" marketplace at first. The only reason for making this decision is dealing with all of the different local tax setups can get complicated very quickly.
The obvious choice for somebody from the US is starting in the UK because they speak English. However, Germany is the biggest European market, less competitive than the UK, and a lot of customers speak English too.
To make your choice easier, here's the list of European Amazon marketplaces to consider:
- United Kingdom
The Netherlands has recently also launched its own European marketplace. It is still not fully featured and is not set up as part of Pan-European FBA as of yet.
Questions to ask yourself when wondering which marketplace to begin with include:
Step 2. Consider the legislations
- Which one gives you the best entry into the European marketplace logistics-wise (tax, shipping etc)?
- Which one is the easiest to get started in, in terms of demand for your product type and competition?
- Which one is easiest/cheapest for you to distribute your European inventory from?
Here's the list of European lawmaking bodies that regulate the Amazon marketplaces in respective countries:
Europe: Taxation and Customs Union
United Kingdom: UK Government VAT Guide
Germany: Federal Ministry of Finance
France: Foreign Country's Tax Obligations Italy
: Agenzia Entrate
Italian Spain Agencia Tributaria
When selling across Europe, your legal obligations can get complicated quickly as there are EU regulations to follow as well as individual laws in each country.
Starting with one "home" marketplace is the best first step as this is a lot less complicated than trying to learn about all of the marketplaces at the same time. As you gain experience, learning about the other marketplaces becomes a lot more manageable.
If you aren't too legally inclined yourself, it is often a good idea to hire an international lawyer who is able to explain everything to you and help you set up processes around things such as
VAT (value added tax) and customs documentation and fees.
Other things to consider include:
- Consumer rights and differences in regulations around things like returns and advertising
- Health & safety obligations
- Environmental standards
- IP law
- Invoicing, labelling and packaging regulations
Amazon has a handy reference page for all of this
which can be a great start. Use it as a guide on what you need to learn. But that's not it!