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How to choose the right International Amazon FBA option for your business

By Chris Dawson February 21, 2018 - 9:00 am

Amazon FBA offers the potential to fulfil orders direct from Amazon‘s own warehouse making of logistics and customer care Amazon’s responsibility. This leaves you free to source stock and run your business as well as increasing the chance of winning the Amazon Buy Box and accelerating sales. There are a number of International Amazon FBA available and choosing the best fit for your business is essential.

Amazon have multiple warehouses in which you can locate your stock, in the UK as well as Germany, France, Italy and Spain. To further complicate the situation they also have warehouses in other countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. Deciding where you place your stock to best attract international sales can be complex but you do have the option to allow Amazon to intelligently manage your stock for you.

Each option for selling internationally has advantages and disadvantages which we’ve set out below to help you decide which will be the best solution for your business:

International Amazon FBA – FBA Export

Customers based in countries outside the UK browse on Amazon UK every day and you can enable them to buy your products.

Advantages

  • Attract more sales from customers outside the UK.
  • Amazon will take most of the complexity of international logistics out of the equation – picking, packing and
    delivering your products from your local Fulfilment Centre direct to customers in the EU (and worldwide for media items).
  • No additional costs – you’ll only pay local FBA fees.

Disadvantages

  • You’ll need to account for international sales for VAT purposes.
  • You’ll need to ensure that there are no international sales restrictions or distribution agreements for your products.

Suitable for:

  • New sellers, small sellers, and sellers with low levels of inventory.

International Amazon FBA – European Fulfilment Network (EFN)

With EFN, you ship your products to Fulfilment Centres in the UK, and have the opportunity to fulfil your orders coming from customers in other Amazon European marketplaces.

Advantages

  • Simplicity – your products are all stored in Amazon FBA in the UK.
  • Your products stored in the UK can be easily bought, picked, packed and shipped to customers placing orders on Amazon Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
  • Prime eligibility for fast delivery, as well as local fulfilment fees on domestic orders.

Disadvantages

  • You will pay cross border fees for items shipped to other European marketplaces.
  • Shipping times to international customers will be slower.

Suitable for:

  • Small sellers, and sellers with low levels of inventory.

International Amazon FBA – Pan-European FBA

With Pan-European FBA, you send your products to Amazon FBA in your local country and Amazon intelligently distributes your products across Europe based on anticipated demand.

Advantages

  • With your inventory intelligently distributed across Amazon Fulfilment Centres serving all of Amazon’s European marketplaces orders shipping times are faster.
  • You’ll avoid EFN cross border fees and only pay local fulfilment fees.
  • Prime eligibility across Europe for fast delivery.

Disadvantages

  • You lose control of which countries your products are located in.
  • You will incur VAT liabilities in every country your products are located in.

Suitable for:

  • Sellers with deeper inventory who want to target Europe but don’t have the expertise to forecast sales levels in each country.

International Amazon FBA – Multi-Country Inventory (MCI)

With MCI, you have the power to manage which countries you ship and store your stock in, with Fulfilment Centres available in all five Amazon marketplaces in the EU to choose from.

Advantages

  • Your products will be closer to your customers in the countries where you locate stock so they’ll benefit from faster delivery options.
  • Save on cross-border EFN fees in those countries – you’ll pay local fulfilment fees for sales in the marketplaces you store products in.
  • Full control over which countries you want to ship and store your stock in limiting the countries you have VAT liability in.
  • Prime eligibility in countries you locate stock for fast delivery.
  • Customers in marketplaces where you chose not to store your products locally can still have your products fulfilled cross-border through EFN

Disadvantages

  • You’ll need to ship your stock to each Amazon marketplace’s Fulfilment Centres.
  • You’ll need to forecast sales and manage your own inventory distribution.

Suitable for:

  • Retailers with deep inventory and expertise in forecasting sales across Europe.
  • Tommy
    4 years ago

    What about Returns ? As far as I understand Retailers need to provide a return address in the FBA Country in order to recuperate their returned stock.

    Same as Marketplace vendors which need to respect the Amazon Marketplace International return policy, which requires, 1) pre-paid return Labels, or 2) domestic-local return addressses, or 3) just refund the customer and abandon the product.

    In that case BPM-Lux.com is of great help as they cover 1 and 2 locally in 8 European countries on demand. The Returns are then stocked in one single warehouse in Europe. Returns, stock, and forwardings may be monitored and managed online.

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