Selling on Amazon US – From Anywhere in the World
Amazon US is one of the best places to sell products. It’s just such a huge market that even sellers outside the US purposely choose to enter it. Maybe you’re thinking of doing it yourself, and that’s what’s led you to this article – if that’s the case, then you’re in the right place.
Yes, it’s possible to sell on Amazon US even though you live outside the US. You just need to be aware of a few things.
No idea where to start? Here are 4 factors you need to consider when trying to enter the Amazon US market. These are things that you want to look into during your planning stage.
They may seem basic, especially if you’re familiar with the Amazon setup in your own countries.
However, for the uninitiated, this is the best starting point in your Amazon US journey. Amazon veterans might even learn a thing or two from this!
1. See if you are eligible to sell in the first place
Yes, it’s true that you can sell on Amazon US even if you do not live in the US. However, not all countries are eligible.
Check out this list to see if you live somewhere that’s currently accepted to register for selling on Amazon. Luckily, 103 countries are eligible as of this writing. Hopefully, your country is included in the list!
Aside from residing in a country on that list, you also need a valid phone number and an internationally chargeable credit card. You need a valid phone number because Amazon US will need to verify your contact details. If you don’t have one, you can get a Google Voice number for free.
The link above also has a very good FAQ that talks about this, as well as a list of countries where Amazon support via phone is available. Don’t worry if your country is not in this list, because you can always contact Amazon via email or live chat.
2. Set up a bank account for Amazon US
The next thing to consider is the bank account that you will use for your transactions. If you do not have a US bank account, you might want to look into setting one up. That’s really the most convenient way to go about this without incurring any losses from exchange rates.
You can use a bank account that’s registered in your country. However, note that Amazon can only pay out in the local currency of the country or region where the bank account is located. All sales are in USD, so Amazon will convert it to your local currency (even if your bank account accepts USD).
This means that you might need to convert back to USD if you’re paying for your inventory. This “double exchange” really eats up your margins, so be wary of that.
However, if you want options, be sure to check out services like Transferwise. You can open a US bank account with Transferwise, and also receive some of the best currency conversions with very low fees. You can also use your Transferwise account to pay for your Amazon seller central account and receive your revenue there. That means you can then pay your suppliers from Transferwise using the revenue you’ve made from Amazon, which means there will be less currency conversions and fees too.
Quick tip though – if you use this method, it’s best to keep your money in USD in order not to lose money from penalties from exchange rates.
3. Set up a business entity that you use to start selling
You will need to consider setting up a business entity so that you can start selling on Amazon US. The easiest thing to do will most likely be to set up a business entity in your own country. This is because you’ll probably be more familiar with your local rules and regulations, including taxes and the legal side of things. You can then register your company’s details within seller central and start selling!
However, we know it can be expensive to set up a company in certain countries, so if this is the case for you – another option is to set up a US Limited Liability Company (LLC). It’s the easiest entity to set up, and is actually quite common for Amazon sellers. Check out these resources if you’re interested into setting one up:
If you live in the UK, check these ones out:
Keep in mind though that you can also sell as an individual instead of a company. However, you’re gonna have to deal with some tradeoffs. This includes losing the ability to limit the liability on your personal assets (i.e. if something goes wrong and someone decides to sue you, they’d sue the company and its assets, and not your own personal ones).
Check out this article on a more detailed look into the benefits of being a sole trader or an LLC!
4. Inspecting shipments even though you’re not there personally
It’s good practice to inspect your goods first before shipping them to Amazon. You might be working with a new supplier in China or launching a new product, and it’s important to make sure everything is perfect – including the packaging too. If there are any issues with your stock or it’s packaging, it can get rejected at the Amazon warehouse.
However, it’s definitely not a good idea for you to check your stock personally if you live outside the US as it will be very expensive to ship your products around the world. Plus, it’ll be very timely too.
The good news is that you can actually get a third party to inspect your products before it leaves the factory. This is the closest thing to inspecting the goods yourself.
Explore the possibility of using FBA inspection houses. These are 3rd party companies that are familiar with the requirements of Amazon, and can do your inspection for you. They are used to dealing with Amazon so they know exactly all the guidelines that your products have to pass in order to have them approved by Amazon quickly.
Check out this link to find some Amazon FBA Inspection Companies that can help you monitor the quality of your goods.
These are four basic factors you need to consider in order to sell on Amazon US if you don’t actually live in the US. At the end of the day, it’s definitely worth all this effort, because it’s just that good of a market.
Hopefully, these things get you on the way to tapping into the huge potential of Amazon US. Good luck, and happy selling!
Thank you for this Harriet! I just did the tax interview to sell in the US and was surprised how amazingly fast and smooth it went. I can basically start listing now…
It is a great tip with the US bank account! I will do that straight away!