The very objective of multichannel retail is for you, the retailer, to gain traction across channels without having to blow up your inventory budget. When you have the option of selling the same product assortment across many platforms, it is in your best interest to do just that. Sellers on the Amazon marketplace may know about the Unified Account that aims to help you sell both in the United States and Canada. What is the best way to make money from such a venture?
How to sell on Amazon Canada – Getting Started
Selling in the United States: If you want to sign up as a third party retailer, you can do so in your home country. For example, if your business is already registered in the United States, you would already have in place all the requirements imposed by Amazon on its sellers. Moreover, you would have a decent picture of shipping and returns, and may even have an existing warehouse space.
Selling in Canada: For you, Canada is a new market. You may not have the resources needed to set up third-party retailing on Amazon Canada. This is where Fulfilment By Amazon can help you. As an FBA seller, you are only responsible for importing the goods into Canada and sending them to Amazon’s warehouse. While FBA keeps a greater cut from seller margins, processing, shipping, and returns are all looked after by Amazon, which is a good approach to take in a new market.
Naturally, if you are a seller based in Canada, the opposite would apply.
As you scale up, you may find that international shipping works out cheaper for you. In order to do business with Amazon Canada, you need to have a registered entity there. However, this doesn’t mean that you always have to use local warehouse space or shippers. As you gain more sales (and confidence) selling elsewhere, you can consider moving away from the FBA model.
The North America Unified Account
In order to make selling across North America easier, Amazon has a Unified account, details of which can be found here.
Much like Primaseller’s inventory management software, the benefit of a Unified Account is that you can manage sales across the United Stated and Canada from a single Amazon seller account. When it comes down to the details, you can switch between the US and Canada marketplaces, and list products separately on both. This allows you to sell a specific set of products in each region. Another benefit of this account is that you won’t have to pay subscription fees on both channels. You pay the fee on just one channel, and then pay a platform fee for every product sold on the other channel.
Apparently, Amazon, and therefore its sellers, earns a majority of revenue in North America.
When it comes to Canada, the benefits of being on amazon.ca are manifold. First and foremost, reviews on Amazon Canada are used as a trusted source of information when making buying decisions. In fact, Canadians feel that next to Google itself, Amazon is the best place to find product reviews. A whopping 48% of people reported using the site as a means of making decisions.
Couple this with the fact that Amazon also ranked as one among the most influential brands of 2016, there’s no excuse for you not to sell there.
Selling In North America- The Fine Print
Once you step out of the boundaries of your home country, there are things to keep in mind regarding retail.
- In order to sell in the United States, you need to provide tax compliance details. You can follow these steps to determine if you are a US taxpayer or not.
- To sell in Canada, you, or someone employed by you, must act as the Importer On Record. Once the goods are in Canada, you need to pay all taxes and customs fees before shipping products to the Amazon warehouse. You can find all guidelines here.
- Amazon has strict import guidelines for its warehouses. A comprehensive guide to what can and cannot be imported to sell through Amazon can be found here.
- Each state in the United States has requirements and regulations regarding product listings. While using the maximum retail price and representing facts accurately may seem like a no-brainer, be sure to double check all your listings on Amazon. You can find a list of guidelines by state here.
- The average American places a very high value on product quality and only buys those products they deem to be better. On a marketplace such as Amazon, you need to juggle both USA and Canada sales, without letting your rating fall. Else, your customer will pass you up for a better retailer on the same platform.
- If you sell food products, you need to follow different guidelines in both countries. USA follows FDA approved rules while Canada has SFCA requirements.
- Even if you follow through with all of these guidelines, be sure to contact your CPA or business consultant for a comprehensive guide. It is always better to be safe than be out of business.
One other challenge that comes up with global sales is managing listings and inventory. Amazon gives you the opportunity to manage listings separately with its Unified Account. On the back end, managing inventory may be a hassle because, at any point, you’ll be shipping, delivering and handling returns across geographies. Using an inventory management tool like Primaseller can help you manage your Amazon US and Canada accounts as two separate channels.
This way, you always have a clear picture of sales and inventory across both locations. You can keep sales records separate and understand where you’re selling better through reports. With integrated shippers, you can also manage shippers across locations with ease.
If you’ve ever wondered how to expand beyond your Amazon US presence, starting to sell in Amazon Canada may just be your answer.