Selling on Amazon Europe Marketplaces – A Step By Step Guide

Posted by Jimi Patel | March 17, 2021

Getting global is probably one of the biggest buzz words of the Amazon world. And why not? Amazon has made it so easy to sell internationally. However, when it comes to going global, most sellers lookout for Canada and Mexico, forgetting there’s a bigger pond right there. Europe. Amazon Europe is a significantly larger marketplace than Mexico or Canada – the customer base is bigger, customer spending power is better, geographical locations are favorable, making it great for delivery efficiency and so much more. These benefits make the UK a favorable option when it comes to expanding your footprint.

In this article, we’ll give you a detailed overview of selling in Europe, the benefits and risks involved, and a step-by-step guide to begin your selling journey.

Here are 4 reasons why you should consider selling in Europe.

#1: New market = more customers = more sales

New market = more customers = more sales

For starters, expanding into Europe gives you access to about 5-7 new marketplaces where you can list your products. Despite the additional costs associated with selling internationally, the customer exposure is undoubtedly worth the price. Since Brexit- Britain’s (United Kingdom) “exit” from the European Union (EU) – the retail sales in overall Europe and the UK are on the rise. Besides, an average shopper in the UK spends more than an average shopper in the USA.

#2: Relatively less competition

Relatively less competition

Although is without any doubt the largest and the most profitable marketplace, it’s also equally crowded. Getting noticed amongst the pool of competitors can be difficult. On the other hand, Europe is comparatively easier to sell in because it’s a smaller marketplace.

Does a smaller marketplace mean fewer customers? Surprisingly, no. Five European marketplace combines to have about the same customer base as the US, but because it’s split into different countries, you don’t have to deal with the competition as you have to in the US. If you have a powerful team of Amazon SEO experts, establishing in the Europe marketplaces wouldn’t be a tedious task.

#3: You can establish yourself before it gets crowded

You can establish yourself before it gets crowded

The European market has been steadily on the rise. The total share of online retail sales was 21.3% in 2020, which is up from 5.8% in 2019 and 14.3% in 2018.29-Jan-2021. Seeing the changes in customer behavior because of COVID-19, the European marketplace is expected to boom throughout 2021 and beyond.

Because Europe is still expanding its customer base, sellers can easily establish their products while the competition is still low. For example, the review count and the keyword volume for the same keyword in Europe are low compared to the US. Back when the USA was in its early growth stages, many sellers could easily get into the market, rank quickly in the SERPs and claim market share. As the European market grows, the competition will increase. So now is the perfect time to get in and establish your products before any noise kicks in.

#4: Most sellers are skeptical about selling beyond their home market – you can take advantage of that

Most sellers are skeptical about selling beyond their home market

Despite being potentially profitable and hearing several success stories, going global is a daunting task for most sellers, especially those selling in the US. There are language barriers, cultural barriers, legal barriers, fulfillment barriers and the list goes on. These facts can be intimidating but what they forget, however, is that Amazon makes it easier than ever. By introducing the Amazon Global Selling program, the retail giant has tried to mitigate the most common challenges faced by selling, looking to sell across the oceans.

Yet most sellers choose to be the frog in the well and so, any seller who dares to take up the chance gets the benefits in the form of increased sales and brand awareness.

Is selling in Europe worth the time, money and efforts?

Is selling in Europe worth the time, money and efforts?

The answer is simple: it depends on your product. Before making any decisions, how products similar to your products are performing in Europe right now? Can you compete with your competitor’s prices? How strong is the demand for your product? Apart from that, ask yourself the following things:

  • Are you seeing any European traffic on your website or getting inquiries about shipping to Europe?
  • Will your products in any way fill a void in the international markets?
  • Has your product seen success in the US marketplace and are you looking to replicate the success in global marketplaces?

If the head nods yes on these, then your decision to expand in Europe is correct.

Now that you have made a decision – and hopefully it’s “yes, I am expanding my Amazon business to Europe” – it’s time to know how to do it.

Five-step guide to sell in Amazon Europe

Step #1: Choose your marketplace

Choose your marketplace

Amazon Europe consists of nine marketplaces: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Poland and the United Kingdom. You can either: use one seller central account for all the marketplaces or determine from where the majority of your products will be distributed from. You do have the option of storing your inventory in the US and shipping to the UK, but the convenience can prove to be costly. Fulfillment by Merchant is an option too, but we won’t recommend as it comes with its own hassles of storage, distribution and after-sale service.

Step 2: Know about the legal obligations or hire an agency

Know about the legal obligations or hire an agency

While you can research yourself and understand the legal and taxation requirements in Europe, it’s always better to hire a lawyer who can explain everything and save you from the headache. A lawyer specialized in international law can help you address the legal and tax obligations you must follow in each country.

It’s important to note that Europe is stringent when it comes to taxes and product compliance as compared to the US. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you invest in quality assistance and save yourself from potential legal nightmares or having your listing removed because of product compliances.

Step 3: Register for a VAT & EORI number

Register for a VAT & EORI number

If you choose to use FBA as your fulfillment channel, you will have to apply for both a Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. VAT is basically a consumption tax that’s assessed on each stage of the production or distribution cycle from raw material to sale of the good. In the US, this tax is applied only at the end of the transaction, but in Europe, it’s incorporated in the retail prices and is mandatory to send to the government. An EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) is required by all the sellers wanting to sell internationally. This number is unique and is assigned and recognized by the EU customs authorities.

Step 4: Choose your fulfillment method

Choose your fulfillment method

You essentially have three options for the fulfillment of your product. We have not included the FBM option as they are neither plausible nor profitable.

FBA European Fulfillment Network (EFN)

  • Pro: No setup fees for warehouse
  • Pro: Super-fast delivery within Europe
  • Pro: Your products stay Prime eligible
  • Pro: FBA fees are lower than 3rd party logistics
  • Con: You will have to pay cross border custom fees

FBA Pan-European Fulfillment

  • Pro: Inbound shipping costs and FBA fees are low
  • Pro: Your products stay Prime eligible
  • Pro: Works great for sellers who aren’t sure about the European marketplace
  • Pro: No cross border fees
  • Con: Need to be VAT registered in some countries

FBA Multi-Country Inventory (MCI):

  • Pro: Low FBA fees
  • Pro: No cross border fees
  • Pro: Prime eligibility
  • Con: Need to be VAT registered in some countries
  • Con: Higher inbound shipping costs

Step 5: Don’t forget the language barriers

Don't forget the language barriers

It’s not a compulsion, but if you aren’t localizing your content, images and other assets, you are behind. Doing so can significantly boost a shopper’s buying experience and also reduces the chances of returns. There are several options available, for instance, Amazon Translate, but just like Google Translate, it’s not reliable. Besides, most sellers localize the content, images and Enhanced Brand Content but forget to add local keywords because of which their products don’t rank. The most profitable option is hiring a reputable Amazon listing translation service with native copywriters and Amazon specialists that can help you localize your listing content as well as keywords.

Although the UK is purely an English-speaking country, the slangs are different. Here are a few examples:

  • What Americans call chips is crisps in the US and what Americans call fries is chips in the UK.
  • In the same way, what Americans call a wallet is a purse in the UK.
  • Pants in the US mean long pants, while in the UK, it means underpants.

These slangs and colloquialism make a whole world of difference in your keyword list. Don’t forget that. Hire Amazon listing optimization services that have native translators and thorough understanding of Amazon.

Will Brexit affect selling in Europe?

Will Brexit affect selling in Europe?

2020 was the year COVID-19 hit us and it was also the year when the UK left Europe. The UK-Europe negotiations are still ongoing, but there will be a custom border between the UK and EU. Here’s how it will affect Amazon sellers:

  • Amazon’s UK operation will split from the EU and will no longer be affiliated with EFN (European Fulfilment Network)
  • Sellers will have to pay extra for VAT
  • Sellers will need separate EORI to sell goods in the EU
  • All the imports and exports in and out of the UK border will be subject to stringent custom declarations
  • You will need both an EU and UK trademark for the brand registry

To make your selling journey in Europe easier, you, just like Amazon, can split your business. Store some inventory in the UK and some inventory in the EU and you will have enough stock on either side of the custom-borders.

Know more about Brexit in our blog post: How Will Brexit Affect Amazon Sellers

Need help expanding in Europe?

Whether you want to grow just in the UK or you want to expand in all 5 European marketplaces, we are here to help. Just let us know when you are ready to cross the pond and our team of Amazon consultants will be right here standing with their action plan.

And if you are still scratching your head whether you should or shouldn’t expand, then remember what Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.”

Related posts:

How To Sell Internationally On Amazon – The Definitive Guide
How Will Brexit Affect Amazon Sellers

Published by Jimi Patel

Jimi Patel, is a Co-founder and CEO at eStore Factory, an Amazon SPN certified agency that serves as a one-stop solution for all your Amazon business needs. Having helped countless brands increase sales and grow their footprint on Amazon, Jimi provides the most practical and effective solutions for your business. He is highly skilled in developing and executing plans that align with your specific business goals and objectives. When not working, Jimi enjoys practicing yoga and traveling to new places. He is an avid reader and enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the e-commerce industry.

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