Sell Internationally at No Extra Cost
If you are undecided whether you want to invest in selling internationally and unsure about the level of demand for your product outside of your country, why not test the water with the FBA Export program? This platform can widen your customer reach to millions of customers internationally. On the Amazon.com marketplace alone, people from more than 70 countries visit the site. If your products are not available for export, think about the customers you could be losing out on.
Enrolling in the FBA Export program is a simple process that requires no additional work from the seller. There is no extra cost, as the FBA fees are the same for national and international orders. The customer will pay international shipping and import duties. All the merchant needs to ensure is that their items are available via the FBA program in their home marketplace and that the FBA Export platform has been enabled.
How Does the FBA Export Program work?
Unless you sell internationally or have already enabled the FBA Export program, you are only selling your items to customers in your home marketplace. That means if a customer living in a different country attempts to purchase the item from your Amazon marketplace they won’t be able to, as your Amazon account has not been set up to export that item. Let’s say your marketplace is Amazon.com and you are selling a baseball cap. If a customer from the UK logs on to Amazon.com in search of this specific cap, that customer won’t be able to make the purchase (despite it being visible on the website) unless it is enrolled in the FBA export program. However if you enroll in the program, that item would then be available to that UK customer and other customers from over 100 countries worldwide at no extra cost to you.
When a customer from a country outside the marketplace you are selling in places an order for an item enrolled in the FBA export program, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") would then fulfill the international order, handle the import duty and customs clearance and ship the item to the international customer’s address. As mentioned earlier, the international customer would pay the cost of shipping and import duty, so there would be no additional cost to you as the seller.
How Can You Participate in the FBA Export Program?
Amazon identifies the items that are eligible for export. It's easy to view these within your Seller Central dashboard: go to the Reports tab, select Fulfillment, and choose the Exportable Inventory report. Amazon updates this report regularly, so if your items are not currently appearing, they may do so in the near future.
If you have made the decision to sign up for the FBA Export program, all you need to do is enroll in the program. To do this go to Settings, Fulfillment by Amazon, Export Settings and check to make sure that the marketplace you are selling in is set to enabled.
Not all lines can be exported for a number of reasons. There are some trade restrictions, product compliance restrictions, transportation and logistics restrictions, in addition to Amazon's own internal policy restrictions. These can relate to the product category, the weight and size of the item. Also, a merchant may have territory restrictions on the items they sell and may not be able to offer these for export. For example, someone may be an exclusive distributor of a toy brand in the US but may not have the territory rights to sell the same items in Europe. In this case, they would not want to export the items from the US, as their contract with the brand restricts them from doing so.
How Does This Differ From Selling on Another Marketplace?
The FBA export program only applies to the marketplace you are selling in. It does not mean your items will appear on a different marketplace. For example, if your items are on Amazon.com and you enroll in the FBA Export program, your items will not appear on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de. They will remain solely on Amazon.com, but if a customer from the UK or Germany logged on to Amazon.com (rather than their home marketplace) they would have the ability to purchase your enrolled items which would then be shipped from the US to the UK or Germany.
If you want to list your items on other marketplaces, you will need to open up a separate seller account, e.g. one for Europe. This option does require additional resources. Selling within a different marketplace means creating new listings, shipping inventory to that country and managing multiple seller accounts. There are also different cultural, legal and fiscal factors to consider.
As long as you don’t have any territorial restrictions affecting your ability to sell your items internationally, the FBA export program should be a no-brainer. It doesn’t cost you more money and it is an easy way to expand your customer reach. You are also collecting data to see if there are any specific countries buying your items. You can then use that data to make an analysis to help you decide which country you want to invest in building a presence in.
Originally published on August 24, 2017, updated August 26, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.