Tuesday, 9 May 2023, 4 minute read
Are you a US business thinking about selling your products on Amazon UK? You might be onto something big. Amazon is the largest e-commerce platform in the world, and the UK market stands out as a profitable gem in Europe. As an American seller looking to scale your business, expanding your business to the UK can be a fantastic opportunity to diversify your revenue stream, leverage European inventory storage, and reach millions of new customers.
That said, once you’ve made the decision to start selling in the UK, it can be hard to know where to start. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to start selling on Amazon UK from the US, including:
How to set up your business and sign up to Amazon UK
What you need to know about VAT in the UK
How to store your inventory and fulfill orders in Europe
The most cost-effective way to send and receive international payments
Our top tips for selling on Amazon UK from the USA
Why sell on Amazon UK from the USA?
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s discuss why it’s a good idea to sell on Amazon UK from the USA. Here are some of the biggest benefits:
Sell across all of Amazon’s EU marketplaces: With 176 million monthly unique visitors and 2,700 products sold per minute, Amazon UK is just one of the many marketplaces you can access by selling on Amazon EU. You can also reach new customer segments in Amazon Germany, France, Italy, Spain and more.
Ship to nearly every country in Europe: By selling on Amazon UK, you can take advantage of Amazon’s expansive logistics network and sell to customers in almost every country in Europe.
Store your inventory in Europe: With Amazon’s European Fulfillment Network (EFN) or Multi-Country Inventory (MCI) programs, you can store your inventory in Europe and take advantage of faster shipping times and lower shipping costs. We’ll cover this in more detail later.
Diversify your revenue stream: Expanding your business to the UK can help you diversify your revenue stream and reduce your reliance on the US market.
Be among the first: As a US-based seller, you may have an advantage over UK-based sellers who are not yet selling in the US market. By expanding to the UK, you can be among the first to enter a new market and gain a competitive edge.
How to set up your business on Amazon UK: US LLC or UK LTD?
When selling on Amazon UK from the USA, you have two options for setting up your business: you can either set it up as a US Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a UK Limited Company (LTD). Here are some key considerations to help you decide which is right for you:
LLC: If you choose to set up a US LLC, you will have to register for Value Added Tax (VAT) and pay taxes immediately. Additionally, Amazon merges US and UK accounts, so if you encounter any issues, both your US and UK accounts will be impacted.
LTD: If you choose to set up a UK LTD, your Amazon account will remain independent, and you’ll only need to register for VAT when your sales are greater than the VAT level set for each country. However, setting up a separate UK business can be time-consuming, and you may prefer to operate as one unified business.
Handling VAT when selling on Amazon UK as a US business
When selling on Amazon UK from the USA, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with Value-Added Tax (VAT), which is a consumption tax that applies to most goods and services sold in the UK.
VAT is similar to sales tax in the US, but the key differences are that:
VAT is payable on import.
VAT is included in the sale price that customers see on Amazon’s product pages, whereas sales tax in the US is added at the point of sale.
As a seller, you are fully responsible for VAT compliance, so it’s important you do your part to pay your taxes in the UK. This will mean:
You'll need to get an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number; a unique ID number that identifies your business when it interacts with EU customs authorities.
You’ll also need to apply for an import license, which allows you to import goods into the UK.
Finally, you'll need to register for a VAT number both in the UK and in any other EU countries where you plan to sell your products.
We’d recommend Amazon’s VAT Services as a simple and cost-effective way to manage VAT compliance for your Amazon sales. With Amazon’s VAT Services, Amazon will handle all VAT-related tasks for you, including calculating and collecting VAT on your behalf, and registering and filing your VAT returns and reports with the relevant tax authorities. There’s also a dedicated customer support team to help you out if you run into any issues.
Amazon has also put together this comprehensive VAT handbook, which is well worth a read when you’re preparing to register for VAT and file your VAT returns.
How to sign up to Amazon UK as a US business
Once you’ve set up your business as an LLC or LTD and got hold of your EORI number, VAT number and import license, you’re ready to sign up to Amazon UK. To do this, you’ll need to create an Amazon Seller account. This is a straightforward process that involves providing some basic information about your business, such as your legal name, address, and tax identification number.
Once you’ve created your account, you can start listing your products on Amazon UK. Be sure to follow Amazon's guidelines for product listings and descriptions to avoid any issues with your account and make sure your products get the attention they deserve from online shoppers in the UK.
What are Amazon’s seller fees in the UK?
The cost to sell on Amazon depends on your selling plan, product category, fulfillment strategy, and other variables. Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold, with most referral fees falling between 8% and 15%, but their options are flexible, so you can find the combo that works best for you and your goals. You can use this handy Amazon Seller Fee calculator to work out what your own UK Amazon seller fees might be.
Managing your inventory in Europe and the UK: How to start selling on Amazon FBA in the UK
Amazon FBA (or Fulfillment by Amazon) is a program that allows you to store your inventory in Amazon's fulfillment centers, with Amazon handling the entire fulfillment process for you. This includes picking, packing, and shipping your orders, as well as handling customer service and returns. With Amazon FBA, your products will be eligible for Prime shipping, which can boost your sales and keep customers happy. You can also take advantage of Amazon's international shipping and customs clearance services to sell your products in other countries.
Amazon FBA offers several options for managing and shipping your products to UK customers. Here are two of the most popular:
Amazon's European Fulfillment Network (EFN) allows you to store your inventory in one of Amazon's fulfillment centers in Europe and fulfill your orders from there. This means you don't have to worry about shipping your products from the US to Europe, and Amazon will take care of the entire fulfillment process for you. If you’re a small business or just getting started with UK orders, this is a great choice as you can choose just one country to ship your inventory to (e.g. the UK) and start selling on that marketplace. This is the marketplace you plan to focus on the most, but you’ve still got the option to sell in other countries as well. The big advantage of EFN is that you only need to request one VAT number initially, namely in the country where your stock is going.
Another option is Amazon's Multi-Country Inventory (MCI) program, which allows you to store your inventory in multiple countries in Europe and fulfill your orders locally. This can help you reduce shipping costs and delivery times, and provide a better customer experience. However, remember that if you opt for this option, you’ll need to request a VAT number in each of the countries where your stock is located, and you will also be responsible for filing your VAT returns by country.
Sending and receiving international payments
As an American seller, you’ll need to be able to send and receive international payments to conduct business on Amazon UK. That's where Crezco, our account-to-account payments solution specialising in cross-border transactions, comes in.
Crezco can help
With Crezco, you can make and receive international payments securely, quickly and easily. Paying international invoices and sending payments to suppliers and employees overseas is cost-effective, with a low fee of only 0.25%, and receiving international payments from customers is completely free!
Crezco’s solution lets you stay on top of payments as you’ll receive notifications whenever money leaves or is paid into your account. Crezco will also minimise the risks of chargebacks and - as an open banking solution - will keep all payments completely safe and secure. You’ll benefit from much better rates than you’ll find at traditional banks, and you’ll be able to make bulk payments with a single click, meaning you’ll save money as well as time.
If you’re looking to simplify and speed up your international payments with an account-to-account payments solution that’s fast, cost-effective and secure, Crezco is a fantastic option for any business looking to pay international invoices, or sell on Amazon UK or other international markets.
How to expand to Europe with Amazon
To summarise the information we’ve covered so far, expanding your business to Europe with Amazon is a great way to diversify your revenue stream and tap into new markets. Here's how to get started:
Identify the countries where you want to sell and the products you want to list.
Create an Amazon seller account and list your products on Amazon's European marketplaces.
Choose your fulfillment method, whether it's FBA, EFN, or MCI, and start fulfilling your orders.
Monitor your sales and performance metrics, and adjust your strategy as needed to optimise your results.
Crezco’s top tips for selling on Amazon UK from the USA
Now that you have a good understanding of how to sell on Amazon UK from the USA, here are some of our top tips to help you succeed and scale your business in the UK:
Use Amazon’s Build International Listings (BIL) tool
Save yourself some time and effort on listing your products on Amazon UK by using Amazon's Build International Listings (BIL) tool, which will add your US listings across Europe. The BIL tool helps you take your US business global by adding offers and synchronizing pricing across multiple marketplaces. It allows you to translate your product listings into different languages and set pricing rules for each country, and is a great way to reach a wider audience without creating new listings from scratch.
Make sure you stay compliant with EU regulations
To avoid any legal issues, make sure you're compliant with EU regulations and have the appropriate distribution rights for your products. This includes adhering to product safety, labeling, and packaging regulations, as well as complying with data privacy laws.
Pay attention to product reviews
Amazon product reviews do carry over to European marketplaces but only until your products begin receiving local marketplace reviews. This means you need to focus on getting local reviews for your products in each European marketplace. Encourage customers to leave reviews by following up with them after a purchase and offering incentives such as discounts or free gifts.
Be aware of European holidays and buying habits
At certain times of the year, there may be more demand for particular products and services in the UK and the rest of Europe, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead for peak shopping periods. For example, St. Patrick’s Day is an example of a UK-centric holiday that it’s worth being aware of, and some holidays - such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day - fall on different days in the UK and the rest of Europe, and will also affect consumers’ online shopping behaviors. You can find out more here in Amazon’s European Holiday Calendar.
It’s time to scale your US business with Amazon UK
Selling on Amazon UK from the USA can be a great way to expand your business and reach new customers in Europe. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can set up your Amazon UK account, import and pay VAT, and fulfill orders using Amazon's European Fulfillment Network or Multi-Country Inventory. With the right planning and strategy, you can successfully navigate the differences between US and UK business practices and grow your business across the pond.
You can find out even more details around setting up your Amazon UK account, registering for VAT and European shipping and fulfillment here in Amazon’s Global Selling guide, and learn more about how to send and receive international payments securely with Crezco.