Do you want to access the US market with your amazing product and service? Now is the best time to do so. Amazon made a whopping $314 Billion in 2021, this means there are plenty of hungry customers and room for your business.
By selling only in your native country, you are limiting your sales to a certain extent, considering factors such as currencies and inflation in your country of business. You can avoid that and hit the largest market in the world without needing to do too much.
Amazon has taken efforts to help sellers in moving to the international markets, perhaps because a majority of Amazon sellers stick only to their home countries. With the help of Amazon FBA, you can now quickly expand your eCommerce business worldwide.
There is frequently a belief that selling products offshore is difficult, but it is not. But how to sign up as a seller on amazon when you are not a US citizen? In this article, I will explain step-by-step how to start selling on Amazon.com without hassle.
What is Amazon?
Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing and digital streaming.
Amazon has been ranked one of the most influential companies of all time, due to its large influence on eCommerce.
Amazon.com famously started as a bookseller, Bezos contended from its start that the site was not merely a retailer of consumer products.
But we can all see how it has grown to be global, you can read the brief history of Amazon during your free time, hence let’s get to business.
What is Amazon FBA?
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a service that allows businesses to outsource order fulfilment to Amazon. Businesses send products to Amazon fulfilment centres and when a customer makes a purchase, we pick, pack, and ship the order.
We can also provide customer service and process returns for those orders. Anyone enrolled in Amazon FBA can let Amazon handle all shipping, including returns and refunds, as well as product warehousing in Amazon’s warehouses, picking and packing, and more.
Sellers send their products to Amazon, which warehouses everything and then processes all of the orders as they come in.
As long as you handle the sales and make sure Amazon stays stocked with your products, the rest is done for you.
And yes, you have to pay Amazon fees for it because you are getting lots of benefits for doing such, some of which include.
- 24/7 Amazon customer service
- All fulfilment and shipping costs included (pick, pack and ship).
- Access to one of the world’s most dynamic fulfilment networks.
What are the Benefits of selling on Amazon?
Amazon offers a huge opportunity for brands selling physical products. The good news is that selling on Amazon is not just limited to US residents and corporations.
It is possible to sell and make money on Amazon in the US without ever setting foot on US soil. Why must you sell in the US as a foreigner, in this section, I will spot out why you should do so.
1. Amazon U.S. is the largest of Amazon’s marketplaces.
Amazon’s U.S. site (Amazon.com) is the largest e-commerce site in the world. Here are some stats that also backs this up.
- Amazon’s U.S. site also boasts the following advantages over its international counterparts:
- Amazon U.S. hosts around 350 million product listings—including 12 million sold by Amazon itself
- 64% of Amazon U.S. sellers have earned more than $25,000 in profits throughout the lifetime of their businesses
- 70% of Amazon U.S. sellers earn more than $1,000 per month in revenue.
2. It’s easier to sell in the U.S. than in the EU.
The US is one country that allows freedom of expression, hence trade is not left behind. Other markets like the EU have a few more obstacles to overcome to start selling on their platform.
The only other Amazon marketplace that comes close to Amazon.com US in size is the combined European Amazon network.
However, in the EU, sellers have to add VAT earlier in the supply chain. As an added cost of goods sold, this makes pricing products competitively in the EU a little more difficult.
In addition, products sold in the EU have to cater to more than just English speakers, as you have to add support for other Amazon-enabled marketplaces such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK.
This means that their products and listings must be readable in as many as six different languages. In the U.S., most sellers list their products in English only, making them easier to sell.
3. Amazon offers Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
As explained earlier, Fulfillment by Amazon is a program that allows Amazon’s sellers to send and store their inventory to store in Amazon’s warehouses.
Once a sale is made, Amazon’s employees pick, pack, and ship the goods on behalf of the sellers. Although this service is available in every country with an Amazon marketplace, it’s important to note the convenience it offers international sellers.
Without FBA, international sellers would have to ship their goods overseas to their customers or find third-party fulfilment options, which could be highly expensive and time-consuming.
Amazon FBA has made the process easier to handle than ever by lifting the heavyweights of direct delivery.
4. A seller can start selling on Amazon U.S. without Stress.
There are very few barriers to entry to starting selling on Amazon whether you reside in the USA or not.
54% of sellers who sell in the Amazon U.S. marketplace had their businesses up and running in fewer than three months, and made a profit in less than a year.
What do I need to Start Selling on Amazon as a foreigner?
The Amazon marketplace is one of the most visited sites online today and remains the industry leader when it comes to e-Commerce.
To sell things on Amazon you’ll be required to set up a few things that would be discussed in this section.
1. Amazon account.
Just like Google, Amazon requires a single account to access all it has to offer, you can decide to stream, shop and access cloud services with a single Amazon ID.
All you need to get an Amazon ID, is your name, email and password, just like creating any other account.
2. Provide some verification documents.
Amazon requires that you provide a certain document for identification to query the eligibility of your business.
- Your Home or Business Address: A place where you can receive personal mail.
- Email Address: An address Amazon can send important information about your account.
- Credit Card: An internationally chargeable credit card with a valid billing address.
- Phone Number: This will be needed to verify your identification during registration.
- United States Tax ID: Either a social security number (for individual sellers only) or a FEIN number.
- Bank Information: You’ll need a bank that can take an ACH (automated clearing house) payment from Amazon.
All these would be required as you proceed to your Amazon FBA registration.
There are legal requirements if you sell as a merchant that you’ll also need to be made aware of.
Regardless of the type of account you want to open, a non-citizen of the United States will typically have very similar requirements to citizens or residents of the country to sell on Amazon.
If you intend to sell less than 40 items on Amazon, then you are an individual business. If your business does more then you are required to register as a fully-fledged business.
3. know the FBA fees.
Amazon is not going to do all the stress from housing your products to delivering on their own without charging a cost. Nothing is free, even in Freetown as a popular saying goes.
For products that Amazon fulfils for you (known as Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA), there are fees for order fulfilment, storage, and optional services.
To make this a lot easier, Amazon came up with two plans called Individual and Professional, Amazon offers you the flexibility to sell one item or sell thousands.
Before you begin registration, decide which plan is a better fit for your business. The Individual plan costs $0.99 per sale, while sellers using the Professional plan pay $39.99 per month, no matter how many items they sell.
You should know that selling more than 40 items a month, makes puts you in the Professional plan. Whichever plan you select, you can decide to change it anytime.
How do I start selling on Amazon as a foreigner?
Finally, you read through the terms and conditions needed to launch your business on Amazon, and you got all the needed requirements on the ground.
Now it’s time to start getting your hands dirty with the real deal; Here are some tips to help you create a business on Amazon.
1. Do your product research.
First of all, you need to know if your product suits the market that you intend to enter. You decrease the chances of product failure and increase the chances of creating and selling a successful product when you do adequate product research beforehand.
Understand your target customer as thoroughly as possible so you can create a product that matches their needs.
You might look at an existing product that you intend to sell and make research on who will benefit from it the most, helping you create the right message for it.
If you’re making a new product, you might choose the target demographic that buys the most of this type of product.
You should also do a competitive analysis is a review of competing products directly similar to those you sell.
Performing a comparative analysis of these types of competitors helps you learn the benefits these alternatives offer, which can help you make and market your product better.
To make product research easy, you can look into using a low-cost Amazon.com product-research tool such as Jungle Scout, which shows estimated sales, revenues and price changes of your competitors who are selling on the website.
2. Register your Business.
You can either choose to sell on Amazon as an individual or as a registered business, both come with their pros and cons.
I prefer you register as a legal business if you want to scale so huge selling on Amazon in the USA.
Your first step is to get the legalities out of the way, and so that may, or may not, include registering a business in the US.
You are not required to have a US business presence – as long as you have a valid business presence in your home country, you can continue to operate as that business on Amazon.com without needing to register a US business.
However, depending on the country you live in and the types of business structures you can choose from, you may find it easier to register an LLC in the US.
Registering a business in the US comes with a lot of perks that you should take hold of such as owning a US bank account, Immigration and many more.
If you’re not sure what you should do or if you need to set up an LLC but aren’t sure how to go about it, we can help.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can register a business in the USA from any part of the world without any hassle, check out the link to the article below to learn more.
Having a US business bank account is usually the best option as it will allow you to hold your dollars “in dollars”, rather than exchanging them back and forth as necessary and dealing with exchange rates.
A Transferwise Borderless account or similar service will help you reduce exchange rate fees.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on creating a Transferwise account, check out the link to the article below to learn more.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you, but it is generally more practical to get paid directly in dollars so you can work with it as you please.
3. Create an Amazon FBA account.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and do the right thing, If you sell in any other Amazon marketplace, you may know that you only need one account for selling in certain territories.
To make it easier, having a European account allows you to sell in the UK, Germany, France, and others, your North American account will allow you to sell in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
This means you are essentially starting from scratch: you need to go through the verification process and pay another monthly fee for your US account.
The fees are nominal if you’re making thousands of dollars a month, but are something to take into consideration if you’re starting a new business.
One benefit to the above is if you already sell in the UK, you can use the same account information for your US account, and then all you need to do is provide your verification documents.
If you already sell in the UK your account will likely be approved much faster than if you don’t, but don’t stress either way.
4. Create Your Listings.
Now that you signed up and filled in the necessary details, it’s time to start listing your product in detail.
Once you’ve got your account, you can start creating your listings – you need to do this before you send Amazon your stock.
If you have listings for your products that you sell in the UK, you can simply import them, also know that you bear the cost of export to the USA or other markets.
You should also know that your product listing should be as accurate as the real product. Remember spelling differences, terminology differences, and measurement differences.
5. Send Your Stock to Amazon US FBA (How to ship stuff to amazon to sell).
Now it’s time to get your product to Amazon’s warehouse. This step isn’t always as straightforward as you’d like it to be.
If you’re a new seller, you may think that it’s as simple as getting your manufacturer (often in China) to ship your stock directly to an Amazon warehouse.
You need to find a third-party importer that will handle this for you. Yes, this is an added cost, but if you find the right partner, this step in the process can be headache-free. They’ll deal with the customs process and forward your stock to Amazon.
Most shipping companies offer this service, including all the big names (DHL, TNT, UPS, etc). You just need to reach out to them and get quotes for what you’ll need, and then choose your preferred company.
The cost of Import duty in the US is about 3% of the cost of the goods, though this can vary significantly depending on the goods. Your shipping company will typically invoice you for these charges.
6. Understand how Taxes work.
Taxes are essential when doing business in any jurisdiction of the world; you can’t do business without paying taxes.
If you live in the UK or another European country, the US has an agreement that eliminates double taxation and so you won’t have to pay income tax in the US.
If you have no US business presence you need to fill out your W-8 form (within your Amazon account) to tell them you don’t need to pay taxes in the US. You pay taxes for the business you do in the US in your home country.
If you have a US business entity, such as an LLC, you will be responsible for paying taxes in the US.
If you aren’t sure what you should be doing here, reach out to a US-based tax professional service and ask them how to do so.
7. Promote your Amazon Busines.
Amazon’s marketplace is Lucrative but can be crowded too, it’s not enough to list your product on Amazon, hoping for miracles of sales.
To profit as a seller, you have to stand out against over five million merchants competing for the spotlight.
The average conversion rate in the Amazon marketplace is roughly 15%, roughly three to five times that of other e-commerce sites like E-Bay and others.
To boost your listings and make sales, this section would highlight various ways how you can promote your business on Amazon.
Using these strategies can convert prospective buyers right to your listings which can generate sales, here are ways in which you can market your Amazon business.
1. Use Facebook.
Facebook is one platform that can help you when it comes to selling and marketing your business on Amazon.
One of the major strengths of social media marketing is its ability to create relationships between businesses and their audiences.
The person-to-person interaction that can happen on social media makes consumers feel that they have encountered a brand in a meaningful way and that they now have a special connection with that company.
All you need to get started on Facebook is to create a Facebook business page asides from your personal Facebook account.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can grow your business on Facebook, check out the article below to learn more.
2. Twitter is awesome.
Twitter is another platform where you get to promote your Amazon business and become successful at it.
The popularity of using Twitter for business is at its all-time high, More than 600 million people use Twitter every single month.
Using Twitter to promote your business is the new standard and I suggest every business take advantage of this.
Growing an engaged, the well-targeted Twitter following can boost your business, collaborating with Twitter influencers can also help a lot when it comes to sparking engagement with your followers.
You can as well pay for Twitter display ads to enable you to go viral, Following other users posting similar content, and then engaging with them regularly can help make your profile more engaged.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can grow your business on Twitter, check out the article to learn more.
3. Instagram does it Best.
More than 1 Billion people use Instagram every month. It’s the second-most popular social media network out there, and it offers your business a trendy platform to communicate with prospective customers and increase brand awareness globally
This also comes with its own work as simply throwing out a picture snapped on your smartphone and posting it isn’t going to get you very far.
You have to compete With more than 1 billion other users on Instagram, who constantly create content on the platform for diverse purposes.
People are more comfortable with your brand if they recognize it. You’ll grow more quickly using Instagram if you have better brand recognition and recall, and will come across as more professional than posting random pics without planning.
I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can grow your business on Instagram, check out the link to the article below to learn more.
FAQ about selling on Amazon as a Foreigner.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about selling on Amazon as a Foreigner.
1. Can you do Amazon FBA from another country?
Yes, you can do Amazon FBA from any part of the world, with or o without the Amazon marketplace, and if your sole aim is to target the USA market, you have to bear the cost of exporting your products to the Amazon warehouse in the USA.
2. How do I register as an international seller on Amazon?
To register yourself as a seller in Amazon international marketplaces, you need:
- Email address & mobile number.
- Valid business address.
- Credit card and company/individual bank statement.
- National identity proof.
3. Which countries are not allowed to sell on Amazon?
I dont know for sure, because policies change from time to time, so it’s unclear, but according to Amazon, items originating from or going to the following regions and countries are not allowed to sell on Amazon: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and the Crimea Region of Ukraine.
We all know enemies of America are not allowed to do certain things, any country standing politically against the US, cannot sell on Amazon.
4. Can you sell on Amazon without a license?
The short answer is no. You don’t need a business license to sell products online including on Amazon.
This is because most products that are being sold on Amazon are not Federally regulated. But if you are intending to sell food or health products, then you might need a license to do that, one of that is The United States Food and Drug Administration.
In general, most products sold online are consumer products that don’t require government approval.
5. How much do Amazon sellers make?
I can’t say for sure, it depends on how effective your marketing strategy is and how easy it is for you to implement them. Most Amazon sellers make at least $1,000 per month in sales, to $25,000/month or even more.
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