Selling on Amazon is a great way to reach new customers who might not ever find your business otherwise. But Amazon is called the “world’s largest marketplace” for a reason — it serves people around the world that you’re missing out on if you are not selling internationally.

Amazon has several tools in place to help California business owners of all sizes sell their products in its markets around the world, and make sure that those products safely make it to those customers.

Here’s a rundown of the services available and how you can make the most of them as a small business owner.

Preparing to Sell

Amazon offers 13 international marketplaces that serve 180 countries around the world. Marketplaces are located in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, China, and most of Europe. Each marketplace requires a separate seller account and compliance with all laws in the country where it’s based.

Before deciding which marketplace to enter, determine whether your products are compliant with that country’s laws and regulations. You’ll also need to make sure you can support the local language of the market you’re selling in. 

Amazon requires all listings to be written in the local language, though you can also write them in English if you choose. Translation services have come a long way, but might not have the level of nuance needed to persuade someone to buy your product. You might want to hire a freelancer who speaks the native language to help you with product descriptions.

You’ll also need to determine whether there’s a market for your product in the country you’re looking to target, whether your product can be shipped internationally, and what cultural/political factors in that region might impact sales.

Selling and Shipping

Once you’ve picked your market or markets, the registration process for an international marketplace is fairly similar to the domestic one. Much like in the U.S, you’ll need to decide whether you are going to deliver your items or have Amazon handle fulfillment. 

Amazon’s Building International Listings (BIL) feature helps international sellers manage their products across marketplaces. The BIL allows you to link the home SKU with the target SKU to  automatically updates prices in the target marketplace based on your individual settings. 

Amazon also offers Global SKU management, which allows you to set one number of available items and track it across all marketplaces. For example, if you have 500 units to sell, you can list it in one place and make those units available to all marketplaces — rather than having to divide the quantity among marketplaces manually.

When it comes to shipping, you’ll need to account for customs in the country you are shipping to. This is true regardless of whether you are shipping the item directly to the customer or to Amazon’s fulfillment center in that country. 

Each shipment must have an importer of record to pay duties in that country, and Amazon does not fulfill this role. In some cases, UPS, DHL, or FedEx can serve as the importer of record if you prepay the duties. You can also hire a local broker to help you navigate the customs process and ensure smooth sailing for your products.

Again, you’ll need to have these steps planned out in advance so you are ready once an international customer clicks “buy” on one of your listings.

The last thing you want is to begin your experience in the international marketplace with a bad rating because the shipment took a long time to arrive or got held up in customs.

For more information about selling internationally on Amazon, visit amazon.com/sellglobal.