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Whatever country you live in, if you’re shopping online, chances are you’ve come across Amazon. But Amazon isn’t quite the same for everyone around the world. It operates different versions in numerous countries - there’s Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon China and so on. But the biggest Amazon is the one based in its home country, the USA. That’s why Amazon Global exists: it’s a way to order stuff from the huge US version of Amazon, even if you live in another country. Amazon Global ships internationally to more than 100 countries.
As easy as that? Well, sort of. Take a look at our guide to find out how it works.
Before you get started, a word.
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Now, back to what you came here to read.
The Amazon Global store is a selection of items from the main US Amazon store. Which items? All of them that can be sent to other countries around the world. 1 Really, it’s a lot like a filtered version of the main Amazon website which simply excludes the items that can’t be shipped out of the US.2
What advantages does Amazon Global have over a retailer based in your home country? None at all... as long as you can get hold of what you want, at a decent price, where you live. Amazon Global is primarily for when the product you want isn’t available in your country. Or, occasionally, you might be able to get things cheaper through Amazon Global - but don’t forget to keep a careful eye on shipping costs. But more on those later.
Really, it works in the same way as regular Amazon. From the Amazon Global homepage, you can browse all the available categories, or use the search bar at the top of the page to try and find what you’re after.1
All the while, you’ll only be seeing items that can be shipped internationally. But take care: if you’re signed in and Amazon probably knows where you live, you may not be browsing only those items that can be shipped to you. You’ll probably be looking at everything that can ship to any country other than the USA - so it might not be available to you after all. So, it’s smart to check the product page carefully, and see if it does in fact ship to where you are.
Buying goods from abroad is never quite as simple as buying them in your own country. Often when things cross borders, there are extra costs - costs such as customs duties or taxes.
So when you use Amazon Global, not only will shipping costs probably be greater, you’ll likely also have to pay something called an Import Fees Deposit.3 That’s a deposit designed to cover the cost of import into your country.3 At the point of purchase, Amazon can only estimate what this will actually be, though - that’s why it’s a ‘deposit’. But they offer a decent enough deal: if the import ends up costing less than you pay in the deposit, you can get a refund, and if it costs more, Amazon picks up the extra cost.3
If you sell on Amazon Marketplace, you might be interested in exploring Amazon Global. Here’s a quick guide to what to do.6
- Decide which countries to target. This is up to you, of course, but do factor in legal concerns, as well as regional differences - for example, differences in electrical socket types around the world mean that your product might not work in certain countries. And the big question, of course, is whether there’s a potential market for your product in that country.
- Work out how to send stuff there. You’ll have to be able to actually get your product to the destination country, so figure out how to ship things there, and find out what difficulties that might entail. You might want to handle shipping yourself or use a carrier.
- Take care publishing the details. You need to make sure your product displays with the correct shipping costs and delivery times. The ‘shipping from’ information needs to be there too, so your potential customers know where you are. And don’t forget to factor in customs duties and taxes - these will be your responsibility too, and of course, they vary substantially from country to country.
If you’re interested in using Amazon Global to buy, here’s an overview of the process.
- Head to the website. Rather than the usual address, try amazon.com/global.
- Sign in, if you’re not signed in automatically. You should be able to use login details from any Amazon site you’ve used previously (except Amazon China or Japan - if you’ve only used them, you’ll need to set up a new account). Make sure Amazon knows your location.
- Search for what you want, checking each time that the items you’re looking at are actually eligible for shipping to your country.
- Put anything you want to buy in your shopping cart, and when you’re ready, review your cart and check the cost.
- Select delivery options - with care. This can have a big impact, not just on shipping costs, but also on the import deposit.
- Choose your payment method - again, with care. Pay in US dollars if you can, because otherwise Amazon might convert your money itself, and the exchange rate it uses might not compare so well to the mid-market rate. 7 Make sure you know what your bank is going to charge you for an international transaction: always try and minimize the extra fees you have to pay your bank.
Say you’re using Amazon Global to order a piece of string. How long is that piece of string? The answer to this question is basically the same.
That is to say, international shipping times vary a lot, firstly depending on how far the goods are travelling - don’t expect an item shipping from the US to Canada to take the same amount of time as something from the US to New Zealand. Secondly, the time depends on the delivery option you choose. With ‘priority shipping’, some items can get from the US to Germany, say, in just a couple of days. But with standard shipping, the same order could take weeks. So, inevitably, it depends in part on how much you’re willing to pay⁵.
Priority shipping or ‘priority courier shipping’ is the fastest way to get items sent to you, but be aware that it comes with a price tag.8 That price tag is dependent on where something is being sent, as well as what sort of item it is - books often have a different shipping cost from electronics, for instance.8 Sometimes the costs are calculated according to weight, too, and heavy items may face a surcharge.8 Priority shipping can often set you back substantially more than standard shipping, so take care.
As noted above, watch out for changing import fees, too. This is a separate cost from the shipping fee itself, but it does vary according to the shipping method you select. So if you choose priority shipping, you might face one extra cost more than you’d expected.
Good luck using Amazon Global - it can be a great resource if you’re looking for hard-to-find items or unexpected bargains. Keep an eye on the cost, though, and don’t let your international transaction cost you more than it has to.
1.https://www.amazon.com/International-Shipping-Direct/b?ie=UTF8&node=230659011 (September 5 2018)
2.https://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=10859429031 (September 5 2018)
3.https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201910710 (September 5 2018)
4.https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201910420 (September 5 2018)
5.https://www.amazon.de/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200198570 (September 5 2018)
6.https://services.amazon.com/global-selling/global-selling-guide.html (September 5 2018)
7.https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201894930 (September 5 2018)
8.https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201910850 (September 5 2018)
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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