Hi I’m Kiri from Bobsled Marketing and perhaps you can tell from my accent that I’m originally from Australia!
Bobsled Marketing is based in the US, and we get a lot of questions from companies around the world who want to launch their products on Amazon.com and get access to that enormous market of consumers. And the good news is that selling on Amazon is certainly not just limited to US residents!
So let’s dive into how you can start selling on Amazon from Australia, or really any other country in the world.
FBA: Fulfillment By Amazon
One of the biggest draws of selling on Amazon when you’re not in the US is their FBA program, or fulfilled by Amazon. This means that you can ship large quantities of inventory to an Amazon warehouse in the US, and every time a customer orders your product, Amazon takes care of fulfilling that order. If you’re manufacturing in China or elsewhere that means you can even have your inventory sent from your manufacturer right to Amazon.
You import your products to the US and have them delivered to Amazon’s fulfillment center(s), whereby Amazon will ship items directly to US customers.
Amazon handles storage of your inventory, picking & packing customer orders, customer service, and returns. The fees for these services are the same for foreign Sellers as US-based sellers.
One thing to note is that customer returns are sent back to the Amazon fulfillment centers, and if the item is sellable, it will be re-stocked and sold again. But for damaged or defective stock can only be returned to a US address or destroyed by Amazon. This is something you’ll need to figure into your costs and/or processes.
How to get started
1. Set up an Amazon seller account. To complete this step, there are a few decisions you need to make.
- FBA or seller-fulfilled - you’ll want to choose FBA
- Individual or professional plan - you’ll want to choose professional to unlock more capabilities like PPC and it also makes sense if you’re selling >40 units/day
- Tax questions - unless you have a legal business entity in the US, you’ll fill out a W8-BEN which basically means you’ll be exempt from U.S. tax reporting requirements. Of course you should consult a tax professional about what this income will mean for your business or personal tax situation in Australia or wherever you live.
2. Import your products. Becoming an importer of record is not much different than for US based sellers. You must apply for an IoR number and the time zone is probably the biggest challenge. Working with a freight forwarder is recommended. The expense and challenges of navigating customs bonds, clearing goods through customs, and all the extra legwork is seldom worth it.
3. Getting paid. Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS). It’s actually pretty cool - you can get paid in your existing local bank account, in your local currency. No international wire fees or bank restrictions on your account. Australia is a supported country.
So there you have it, that’s how you can start selling on Amazon.com, all the way from the land down under. That’s a pretty easy way to access an active consumer base that is 5X the size of the whole population of Australia!