Let’s be honest. A venture into international sales can be complicated, and a bit confusing. Don’t let that apprehension keep you from taking a major step in the growth of your business. FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) allows you to easily grow sales at home and internationally. Amazon has a suite of tools that provides three paths to seamlessly expand your offering to all of Amazon’s European marketplaces, saving time and money in the process. Here’s a look at how you can leverage Amazon’s global fulfillment network and expertise in the UK and other European marketplaces.
Three ways to sell internationally via FBA Europe
EFN (European Fulfillment Network), MCI (Multi-Country Inventory) and Pan European FBA.
European Fulfillment Network
How it works: EFN enables you to ship and store product to Amazon fulfillment centers in the UK. When an order is placed on any of Amazon’s European marketplaces, Amazon will ship the order from the UK warehouse.
Delivery Options: Only UK customers will have fast delivery options and Prime-eligibility. Customers on other marketplaces will have delivery options, but they may take longer.
Fees: The local fulfillment fee applies to orders placed on amazon.co.uk for locally stored inventory, and only the cross-border (EFN) fee applies when shipping to other marketplaces. The fees may be a bit higher with this option, if you are selling to other European marketplaces. But, the setup is more straightforward and the VAT obligations may be less complicated.
How it works: With MCI, you ship to and store inventory in the specific countries in which you would like to sell.
Delivery Options: Customers on marketplaces with locally stored inventory will have fast delivery options, including Prime-eligibility. Customers outside of those countries with locally stored inventory will still have access to delivery with longer ship times.
Fees: The local fulfillment fee applies to orders placed in marketplaces with locally stored inventory. The cross-border fee applies when shipping to marketplaces without locally stored inventory. Inventory is treated as a ‘single pool of European inventory,’ so understand that if inventory becomes out-of-stock in the local warehouse in which you sell, Amazon may fulfill from another center in a different country, and you may incur additional fees.
How it works: With this new fulfillment option, you can ship products to an Amazon fulfillment center, and let Amazon distribute the inventory to appropriate fulfillment centers across Europe, based on anticipated demand. Count on Amazon for customer support in the local languages of the marketplaces.
Delivery options: Pan-European FBA allows fast delivery options for customers in all European marketplaces. Customers in all five marketplaces can have Prime-eligibility.
Fees: You only pay the local fulfillment fees when selling in any of the European marketplaces. Amazon distributes inventory to those countries at no additional cost to you.
VAT (Value-Added-Tax) and other obligations in European countries
It is important to understand that additional rules and tax complexities apply when selling and shipping to Europe. The products you are selling, to whom and to where you are selling will trigger different obligations. You are responsible for filing and payment of taxes and returns. This is true with any of the FBA options (or any international sales). Take some time to read an overview of taxes and regulations from Amazon. While Amazon does not endorse any specific services, they provide a list of external tax advisors in the UK for reference.
The long and short of it
Taking your business global with FBA Europe is a massive growth opportunity, but it’s not one-size-fits-all. EFN allows for slightly easier setup and potentially fewer VAT obligations, but may include higher fees. MCI and the newest, Pan-European FBA options may be more complex to set up in terms of inventory tracking, shipping and VAT obligations; but will have lower fees and allow for faster delivery options in more marketplaces. The decision for your business should be well researched, and each option carefully considered.
Worried about managing your stock when expanding internationally? Try our FBA inventory management software to control your inventory across all warehouses.