If your brand is already on Amazon US (or another marketplace, such as India, Japan or Australia), choosing to sell on Amazon Europe may be the best decision you’ve ever made.
It’s a great way to increase your sales and diversify your business. You might even grow your brand to be recognized around the world. Best of all, it’s easier to launch on a European marketplace than you’d think.
Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to start selling on Amazon Europe.
How to Start Selling on Amazon’s European Marketplaces
A few administrative hurdles aside, selling on Amazon Europe is relatively straightforward, assuming you’re already selling on another Amazon marketplace.
There are four stages to expanding your products to European countries:
- Decide which marketplaces to sell on, which products to sell, and how to fulfill your products.
- Set up your Amazon Europe seller account, European business entity and clear all the legal hurdles.
- Set up product listings in the language of your target marketplace.
- Run a product launch in your new market.
Now let’s break it down step-by-step into a guide you can easily follow.
Choose your market(s)
First of all, figure out where you want to sell.
At the time of writing, Amazon has nine marketplaces across Europe:
- United Kingdom
From these marketplaces, you can reach customers in up to 28 countries across Europe (not only those in the country you list in).
You can start selling in all of these marketplaces straight away. However, the more marketplaces you launch on, the more complex and time-consuming it will be. It’s best to start with just one or two EU countries, and as you grow, you can expand to additional markets.
Germany is often recommended as a starting point (recommended by Amazon themselves), due to its number of English speakers and central location, which makes it easier to reach customers across Europe with just one listing.
The UK used to be a favorite for Amazon EU sellers as well, which is much easier to expand to as an English-speaking country. But with Brexit, it’s no longer possible to ship across Europe from an Amazon UK listing. So it’s recommended to make your “home marketplace” one that’s part of the European Union.
Check the rules, regulations and legal obligations for your chosen marketplace
As part of deciding where to start selling, you should do research into the legal requirements for selling in that country.
You’ll have to consider things like:
- Intellectual property laws
- Taxes, customs and import fees
- Accounting laws
- Consumer protection laws
- Packaging and packaging waste regulations
- Health and safety laws
The full scope of what’s required in terms of laws and regulations in the US is outside of our expertise, so you will be best served getting an expert to provide more insight here.
Amazon offers extensive content on European tax and regulatory considerations here – but you should reach out to a lawyer to ensure you’re covered on all fronts.
It’s best to do this research before you move too far in the process, just in case you run up against some issues that make it difficult or costly to launch your products in a particular marketplace.
Learn about VAT
This could be part of the previous step. But the topic of VAT in the EU is so daunting to so many sellers, it’s worth talking about on its own.
VAT (value-added tax) is the equivalent of sales tax in the US. It can be a complex topic, and differs in some ways to US sales tax, which some may find confusing.
Amazon provides some info on VAT, which will help introduce you to the subject. We’d advise also getting a professional to help in this area, to make sure you fully understand your obligations here.
Again, it’s vital you understand this before moving forward. VAT costs will influence your cost of goods sold, which will influence your profit margins. You don’t want to list your products and start selling, only to find out you’re not making a profit due to the cost of VAT.
Establish EU business concerns
Once you fully understand your legal requirements and obligations, you can set up all the business accounts that are necessary to start selling in Europe.
You don’t necessarily need to register a new business in Europe – if you have one registered in the US, you can use this business entity to sell in European countries as well. However, you will need to obtain a few things, such as:
- A VAT identification number
- An EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number
- A trademark for your brand in your new country (important if you want to take advantage of Brand Registry)
You can also use your US bank account to sell in Europe. This will mean using the Amazon Currency Converter when you get paid out though, which may cause you to lose money. Consider opening a new bank account in Europe to minimize costs to your business.
Set up an Amazon Europe seller account
Once you’ve decided where to sell, researched your legal obligations and set up the necessary business concerns, you can set up your Amazon seller account for the European market.
You can follow this link to set up an Amazon Seller Central Europe account. The good thing here is that you only need to set up one account, no matter how many European marketplaces you plan to sell on.
This is known as a European Unified Account. It lets you manage multiple EU marketplaces, all from a single account. You will need to ensure you satisfy all necessary laws and regulations for individual countries, though.
Create your product listing(s)
Now you can create your product listings for the new marketplace.
If your ASIN is already listed on the new marketplace, you can use the Build International Listings (BIL) tool to transfer your offer from the US (or your existing marketplace) to the new market.
If a listing doesn’t exist yet for the ASIN, you’ll need to set it up from scratch.
Here are some considerations you should have when setting up product listings in a new market:
- Your listings need to be translated into the native language of whichever marketplace you’re selling on (e.g. French for Amazon France). The BIL tool will automatically translate your listing, but this may not come out perfectly in the target language. Google translate, too, is a risky option. You’re best to hire a professional to translate your listings (Margin Business is a service we recommend for this).
- Put some time and effort into keyword research for the new market. Amazon SEO works just the same on Amazon European marketplaces, so it’s important to find the right keywords to maximize your visibility.
- Optimize your listing for both conversions and SEO, as you would on other marketplaces. It might pay to have a professional, fluent speaker of the language of your target marketplace to help get your copy on point.
- You may need to alter your pricing, taking into account costs related to fulfillment and VAT, and the cost of competing products on the marketplace.
- You might find that not all your products will do well in European marketplaces. There may be more competition for some, or less demand than there is in the US. Do some market research to see which of your products have the highest potential in the EU.
Related: Find out how to do a competitive analysis on Amazon to better understand your market.
Set up fulfillment and ship inventory
You’ll likely need to set up new fulfillment methods for your European listings.
If you’re using Amazon FBA in the US, you won’t be able to ship to Europe using the same inventory. Instead, you’ll need to send inventory to a European fulfillment center and choose one of several fulfillment options.
These options are Pan-European FBA, the European Fulfillment Network (EFN), and Multi-Country Inventory (MCI).
With Pan-European FBA, you’ll send inventory to one warehouse, and Amazon distributes that inventory between Amazon fulfillment centers in various countries, based on demand forecasting. You’ll lose a little control over your inventory, but should save on cross-border fees when selling to multiple countries.
Using the European Fulfillment Network means all your inventory is distributed from a single warehouse. For example, if you ship inventory to a German fulfillment center, all your orders (even those to Italy or Spain) will come from that single warehouse.
Multi-Country Inventory means you’ll send inventory to multiple fulfillment centers across Europe, and manually control your inventory levels in various countries.
When you’re starting out, stick with Pan-European FBA or EFN. As you get comfortable with your European network, you can look into using MCI to save costs.
You can learn more about Pan-European FBA, the European Fulfillment Network and Multi-Country Inventory, here.
You also have the option to use MFN/FBM to fulfill orders yourself – and you may even be able to ship products from the same fulfillment partner you use on Amazon US. But pay attention to international shipping costs, which can be steep. And ultimately, if the costs are even, it’s usually best to use Amazon FBA.
Learn More: FBA vs FBM – all you need to know.
Launch your product(s)
Once everything is set up, you can launch your products on the new marketplace(s).
Just like on Amazon US, you should create a plan to get early momentum for your products, to start making sales and climbing up the search rankings.
Our guide on launching a product on Amazon is a great place to start. All the basics apply the same to Amazon US and Amazon Europe.
PPC and external traffic are two great places to start. For PPC, use a tool like SellerMetrics, which works in all European marketplaces, to help optimize your campaigns.
In running external traffic, you may need to hire someone with knowledge of your local market to help set up and run campaigns. If you’re advertising on Facebook, TikTok etc, you’re most likely going to be advertising in a language you’re unfamiliar with, to a culture you’re unfamiliar with.
Still, there are huge opportunities in every country to use social media ads to launch products and grow your brand.
Click here for a full guide on how to use external traffic to grow your Amazon brand.
Why You Should Sell on Amazon Europe
Here are a few ways in which selling on Amazon Europe can benefit your business, and is worth the trouble of translating your listings and dealing with complex things like VAT.
Reach a wider audience
Selling on Amazon Europe allows you to reach more shoppers, thus increasing your sales potential.
As of 2020, there were 176 million monthly unique visitors to Amazon marketplaces in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Reaching 28 additional countries means a significant increase in your overall market size.
This means you can add to your overall sales simply by replicating what you’re already doing in the US market, instead of fighting to claw back market share from your US competitors.
Diversify your income streams
Diversification is vital for Amazon sellers. You never know when your product’s rankings will drop, a bad review comes in that knocks you down, or a new competitor enters the market. If this happens, you can’t have all your eggs in one basket.
You can diversify by launching new products, new brands, or by expanding internationally. When you expand to a new European country, you’re no longer so reliant on one product in one marketplace. If your US listing happens to take a hit, you’ll still have others out there bringing in revenue.
Build a worldwide brand
Launching in Europe will help build your brand as something that’s recognizable around the world. In time, this can grow into a massive competitive advantage. A worldwide, internationally recognized brand is a tough thing to go against for smaller brands in a single market, and carries a huge amount of weight and social proof.
Low friction to launch
Unlike launching a new product or starting a new brand, there’s relatively low friction involved in building a new revenue stream this way.
You already know your product works, because it’s selling in the US. You know your market, you know how to boost SEO, how to run PPC.
All you need to do is translate what already works for the new market. Coupled with all the tools and support Amazon gives to promote global selling, the upside well outweighs the work it takes to launch products in Europe.
Check out this video for more on expanding and selling globally on Amazon Europe:
Final Thoughts: Expanding to Amazon EU
Not many people think of expanding to other countries as an option when it comes to growing their brand. But they should. It’s the most effective way to grow your sales, diversify your income and build a more well-known brand.
Amazon supplies a huge amount of resources to help sellers who are interested in expanding and selling internationally. From help understanding VAT and international fulfillment, to listing transfer tools, they want to help you succeed just as much as you want to yourself.
You’ll still need to bring on some help, if you want to maximize your chances of being successful in the new market. You’ll need legal and tax professionals to ensure everything you do is above board, and you’ll need people who are familiar with the local language and market to make sure your listing and marketing resonate with European customers.
But all up, it’s not as complicated as you might expect to sell on Amazon Europe. If you’re looking for the next step to take your Amazon business, this might be it.
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