Selling on Amazon US: A Guide for Non-Resident Sellers. Part II

Selling on Amazon US: A Guide for Non-Resident Sellers. Part II

Amazon presents as an enormous opportunity for anyone to sell physical products within the United States—whether located on US soil or not. The trick is to consider your options and choose the right business structure and selling account to suit your needs.

In our Selling on Amazon US: A Guide for Non-Resident Sellers. Part I blog we looked at the conditions required to sell on Amazon US, creating the account and making fulfillment decisions.

In this blog we'll take a look at the technical side of selling on Amazon US .

Registering a Bank Account in the US

One of the greatest obstacles faced by many non-US residents looking to sell on Amazon's US marketplace is setting up a United States bank account. Unfortunately, a US bank account is a requirement for a US Amazon seller account, and cannot be substituted with a Bitcoin, PayPal, or similar financial account. In the past, this requirement proved to be an insurmountable one for non-residents as US banks notoriously require account holders to be physically present in the United States to open a business banking account. 

Luckily, Amazon has introduced a solution to this problem—much to the relief of would-be non-resident sellers. The Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (or ACCS) is an Amazon system that allows for simplified deposits into international bank accounts. Provided your country of residency and its currency are ones supported by the ACCS system, Amazon will pay you directly to your local banking account (and in your local currency) without imposing international fees or other restrictions.

Finding a Registered Agent

Many of the remaining stumbling blocks associated with creating a business in the United States can be resolved by finding a registered agent to act on your behalf. This person will need to reside in the US state in which your business is registered and will need to be available to receive government correspondence and legal or official notices on your behalf. 

If you choose not to nominate a registered agent, you risk having your business potentially disbanded by the state government as there would be no one available to receive official government correspondence on behalf of the business. Nominating a registered agent is a simple and cost-effective way of ensuring your US-based business continues to comply with local and state laws. 

Exploring Shipping Options

Selling your products on Amazon US as a non-resident of the United States involves importing your products into the United States. Product importation can seem difficult and confusing at first but, will become clearer as you learn about the process and see how other sellers have successfully imported their goods into the United States.

One method of product importation that is becoming increasingly popular is to import your products from their country of manufacture (for example, China) directly into the United States. This means that you arrange for the production and shipment of the products without actually seeing or handling them yourself. 

Before your products can arrive in the US, you will need to create the product listings in the Amazon marketplace. This step is required for Amazon to generate the required shipping information for your products, which includes the warehouse to which the products will need to be delivered. 

From there, a commercial invoice can be created detailing the IOR (Importer of Record) which is usually a customs broker or authorized regular or can be the purchaser or owner of the products.

Finding a Customs Broker

When you utilize the services of a customs broker, you will have access to a professional with the knowledge and skills to handle the full importation of your products to the United States, including taking care of all necessary documentation, taxation fees, and entry paperwork along with handling all customs issues and requirements that may arise. 

Note, that most air shipping companies like UPS, DHL, and FedEx include full-service customs brokerage as part of their services and will ensure that your goods are cleared through US customs. 

You may be liable for import taxes and duties when bringing products into the United States. The Customs and Border Protection department will be able to provide a reliable quote ahead of time to assist you in budgeting for all potential fees.

Some products will require additional legwork before importation, such as certification, licensing, or permits from agencies such as the United States CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), or the USDA (Department of Agriculture).

Alternatively, a pre-fulfilment facility may be a viable option. Pre-fulfilment companies take care of all aspects of product preparation, including creating and applying barcodes, packaging the items appropriately, and other necessary pre-sale steps.

Your products will eventually need to arrive at one of Amazon's fulfilment facilities. These details will be provided to you once you have entered all the required details relating to your product in Amazon's database.

fulfilled by Amazon

Every shipment of products heading for an Amazon fulfilment centre will need to include a fully completed manifest setting out all relevant details of the shipment including its declared value, weight, quantity, and country of origin. As a guide, shipments worth more than approximately $800 will attract additional duties. Experienced shipping companies will ensure that your products are shipped in smaller quantities to avoid additional duties. The trick is to choose a shipping company that has plenty of experience in dealing with Amazon product shipments so they can advise you every step of the way.

Once you have chosen a shipping company and created an account, you will be provided with a United States shipping address. This is the address you can enter in your seller account on Amazon to create your personalized shipping plan.

Summing Up

One of the most effective ways for any brand to expand internationally is to sell internationally via Amazon. In almost every market (with India being a notable exception) Amazon offers fulfilment services to facilitate all levels of product warehousing and order management on your behalf, significantly reducing the complexities and expenses that would otherwise be associated with growing your business internationally. 

For more information about selling your products on the Amazon US marketplace, contact us today.


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