By Lauren Carter
The European Fulfilment Network: Selling through Amazon’s European marketplaces
Once you are comfortable selling through Amazon.co.uk you may want to start looking at ways to expand your business and increase your sales. There are many ways to do this, you might want to look at other online marketplaces, you might think about starting your own website, but these can be expensive or time consuming options, the easiest way to expand your potential customer base is through the European Fulfilment Network or EFN.
If you have a Pro seller account on Amazon.co.uk you pay your monthly subscription to list and sell as many products as you like on the Amazon UK marketplace. What you may not know is that this monthly subscription also allows you to list and sell your products on all of the other European marketplaces; this means you can sell your products through the Amazon marketplaces in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
If you are using Fulfilment by Amazon then this process is extremely easy to do. Once you’ve activated your listings on the European marketplaces, Amazon will ship your orders for all of these marketplaces from the UK Fulfilment centre. From the 4th August 2015 this will become easier than ever with a simple consolidated EFN fee depending on the size and weight of the product you are selling. You can find out more about the EFN fee here.
Germany is Amazon’s second biggest market after the US, many companies all over the globe use Amazon.de to make their products available to the European market. The potential to market your products to such a huge audience so easily is certainly a worthwhile venture but there are a few things to consider before jumping in to make sure you get it right.
You can sell on Amazon.de and Amazon.fr through your UK Amazon seller account with a UK bank account but to sell on Amazon.es or Amazon.it you need a local bank account. This can be a nightmare, particularly if it isn’t something you’ve done before. There are services out there to help you get set up; World First for example can help you with setting up foreign bank accounts. Do your market research first, see if anybody else is offering similar products on these marketplaces so that you know and understand your competition.
You need to remember that when a customer buys your goods from Amazon.de, they will be paying in Euros. You need to spend some time working out the best price for your product in Euros so that you will still make a profit. This means taking into account the fees you will need to pay if the product sells and the exchange rate for getting your money back into Sterling. This can be a headache and even when you’ve got the price right you need to keep monitoring exchange rates to make sure you don’t end up losing money. This is a doable task but you need to be willing to put the time and effort in.
Setting up listings
For products you source in the UK you will generally find listings already exist on Amazon.co.uk, but this may not be the case for the other EU marketplaces. If your product is made in the UK there might not be anybody selling it on Amazon.it. Non è un problema! Well actually it might be a problem if you don’t happen to speak Italian. Setting up your own listing on a marketplace where English isn’t the primary language is going to be a challenge, particularly if your product requires technical language. Hiring a translator to write your listings for you can be expensive and unless you’re sure you are going to make a lot of sales this could be a waste. It may be best for you to write a very simple description for your products using online translation tools and see how things go. If you are making sales and you can see there is a market for your product it might then be worth paying for somebody to improve your listing to make it more visible.
If you are selling on EU marketplaces you need to be prepared for the fact you may receive messages from customers in these marketplaces in their native language and you will need to be prepared to deal with that. The best thing you can do is get a message prepared in the language of each marketplace explaining that you are based in the UK; you do not speak the language and politely asking if the person is able to speak English and would they mind continuing the conversation in English. Worst comes to the worst you will have to try to make do with online translation tools. The important thing is to try your best. Most customers will appreciate you making the effort to help.
There are lots of things to think about when you decide to start selling internationally. The actual process of enabling your listings on European marketplaces is very straightforward if you already have products at the Amazon fulfilment centre. In Seller Central you should see a box on the right hand side of the homepage which says “Expand Internationally”. The process is very simple and in just a few clicks you could have your products listed on Amazon.fr and Amazon.de without having to worry about bank accounts etc.