selling internationally with amazon

Beginner’s Guide: How to Sell Internationally with Amazon

selling internationally with amazonSelling 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

FBA Export is an Amazon program that allows you to sell products internationally – on your own website and through 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. Longer Shipping to Customers

Your product may hit warehouses sooner, but the tradeoff is the longer delivery times for those international Amazon customers.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. Faster Shipping to Customers

Since you ship product directly to fulfillment centers in the marketplace countries, customers should experience shorter delivery times.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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About the Author

Giovanna Golinello

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Storyteller, lover of poetry, and big fan of: green mountains, shelter dogs, warm breezes, strange fiction, cheap wine, bodies of water, true crime stories, and almost any legume I've ever met.

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Giovanna GolinelloBeginner’s Guide: How to Sell Internationally with Amazon

Comments 4

  1. Tasha Constance

    I am an U.S. citizen researching how to sell amazon products in Tobago. I am interested in becoming a Amazon global seller, and have several questions. If there is any information or classes please let me know

  2. Izzy

    Hi sorry I dont know if you can help me or not but I figured it was worth a shot! Basically to sum up – I’m a business owner who does lots of importing and exporting in goods. Basically I’ve been having some trouble with foreign currency exchange and getting the best deals but obviously its really important for the business that we’re getting the best deal possible. I’ve been reading lots around the subject online but I’d be lying if I said I’d got my head around it. What’s the best option for businesses when it comes to foreign exchange? I came across a business called Clear Treasury (this is them: ) and they seem to deal with this type of thing. Am I best going with a company like this rather than doing everything independently? Is that the recommended course of action? I just want to make sure I’m getting the best deal – so any advice would be massively appreciated! Like I said I don’t know if anyone will be able to help me but thought I’d give it a try! Thanks everyone!

    1. Haley Cloyd

      Hi Izzy,

      Yes, handling foreign currency across international lines can be very difficult, mainly because of varying exchange rates. We’ve learned that the best option is to have bank accounts in the specific currencies that you often encounter. For example, if you import goods from a supplier in China, having a bank account in Yen would allow you to purchase said goods without losing money in exchange rates from your local currency. I’ve added a link below to an article that one of our partners, Payoneer, provided. Keep in mind, they are a payment solution for international retailers. I’ve also included a link to an article about selling on Amazon UK and Europe, and an article from our friends at WebRetailer with 34 tips on cross-border eCommerce.

      Mmyths About International Payments
      How To Sell On Amazon UK And Europe
      Selling Internationally? Here’s 34 Tips for Cross-Border Ecommerce

      Unless you’re an expert and have the time available to monitor exchange rates, I would consider outsourcing to a company like Chart Treasury, Payoneer, World First, and Currencies Direct. We can’t recommend which company is best for your business, but our recommended course of action is to research various solutions and weigh the pros and cons for your business.

      Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions! Thanks!

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