Selling internationally is a big step for your business. It can be challenging to handle complexities like duties, taxes and fees, as well as higher shipping costs, especially if you do it on your own. On the other hand, expanding your business globally can result in massive growth. The good news? There’s an easier way. With Amazon Global Selling and FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) Export, the various operations of selling internationally are handled by Amazon, which enables you to focus on your business here at home.
What is the difference between FBA Export & Amazon Global Selling?
FBA Export is an Amazon program that allows you to sell products internationally – on your own website and through Amazon.com. You ship products to Amazon’s domestic fulfillment centers, and they take care of the packing, international shipping, returns and other customer service issues. When you sign up, many international customers are able to see your listings in the marketplace as ‘export-eligible.’
FBA Export Pros:
- Easily Reach International Customers
Once you join the FBA Export program, your listings will be shown as export-eligible to customers in 70+ countries. Amazon handles the shipping and all calculations for shipping, duty, tax and export fees.
- Faster Inventory Replenishment
Since you will continue to ship to domestic fulfillment centers, you can react more quickly to spikes in sales, or other changes that result in out-of-stock issues.
- Scalable and Flexible Model
Shipping 20 or 30 international orders per month may be within your capacity, but as your global business grows, it will be more difficult to stay ahead with direct fulfillment. FBA Export leverages Amazon’s global reach, tools and capacity to seamlessly scale, and allows you to make changes to your eligible assortment.
FBA Export Cons:
- Longer Shipping to Customers
Your product may hit warehouses sooner, but the tradeoff is the longer delivery times for those international Amazon customers.
- Fees Are Not Individualized
Amazon adds up several export fees (unit fee, handling, pick & pack and weight). While this frees up your time and energy, the flat dunnage factor of 10%, and rounding up to the nearest pound, may not end up being the cheapest option for every product. More on FBA Export fees here.
- Restrictions on Eligible Products
Some items may not be eligible for FBA Export based on size or category. Examples include things like oversized units or books destined for certain countries.
Amazon Global Selling
With Amazon Global Selling, you ship products to an Amazon fulfillment center in the country where you would like to sell. Your products are then shipped to customers out of those warehouses. Currently, Amazon has 11 marketplaces servicing over 180 countries.
Amazon Global Selling Pros:
- Faster Shipping to Customers
Since you ship product directly to fulfillment centers in the marketplace countries, customers should experience shorter delivery times.
- More Control
You own the processes of shipping and communications with customers. You are also managing inventory more directly, and may have a better understanding of replenishment trends.
- Customer Service Program
If a buyer has an issue with their order, Amazon includes an A-to-Z guarantee program that will help ‘facilitate communication between you and the buyer.’
Amazon Global Selling Cons:
- Slower Inventory Replenishment
Shipping product directly to FC’s overseas may mean longer lead times. You’ll have less time and flexibility in responding to changes from forecasted to actual demand.
- Slower Setup and Activation
With Global Selling, you choose where you want to sell, then register to sell in each of those marketplaces. It may take more time to select and set up in the best markets for your business.
- Valuable Time and Resources Required
You must understand the market, laws and product standards (such as size or voltage standards) in each country/marketplace for which you want to register. You’ll be responsible for the duties, import taxes and fees. Learn more here.
- Language Barriers
You are providing your own customer service, so ensure that your business can operate in the local language.
Taking your domestic business to the global scale is an exciting, but challenging step. You will need to set clear goals and build a strategy based on your product categories and business size. Deciding between the two Amazon options will depend on your capacity. If your goal is to scale globally, and you don’t have the resources to handle shipping and customer service, FBA Export is likely the best option. Amazon has the expertise and capacity to take some pressure off your team, and keep you moving forward into new markets. Save more time by automating inventory sync processes across warehouses and sales channels with FBA inventory management software. This will help grow your business domestically, and soon internationally.