Fulfilling Your Online Store’s International Orders With Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA is a complicated beast. Add international shipping and multi-channel fulfillment and it gets even more complicated.

But don’t worry! We’re here to break it down for you so you’ll know exactly what to expect from Amazon and our FBA Shipping app.

If you’re short on time, here’s the scoop: If your Amazon account is based in a country outside of the EU, Amazon probably won’t ship your products internationally. If your account is in the EU, they’ll most likely ship your products throughout the EU but not outside the EU.

Orders Placed on Amazon vs. Orders Placed on Your Store

Amazon has different rules for orders placed on their own platform vs. orders placed on your store. Your store’s orders are known as Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) orders.

Amazon has published all kinds of helpful information about their rules regarding MCF orders, so if you want to know all the details, simply search Seller Central for that term.

The most important thing to understand is that just because Amazon will ship your Amazon.com orders all over the world, it doesn’t mean they’ll ship your MCF orders all over the world.

Also important: Amazon’s rules apply to everyone, including us and our apps. If Amazon’s rules say they won’t ship cat-shaped coffee mugs to Antarctica, we can’t do anything to change that. We are mere mortals, just like you.

Where Is Your Amazon Account Based?

It’s important to note that Amazon has different rules for different locations. So you’ll need to first figure out where your Amazon account is based. This should be pretty easy, but if you’re unsure, the friendly support staff over at Amazon can help you figure it out.

Once you know where your account is based, scroll down to the section that applies to that location.

United States Amazon Accounts

Congratulations, Amazon hates you. Okay, they don’t hate you. But they have some of the most strict rules in the world for your location. They absolutely will not ship anything except media products outside of the US for MCF orders.

You can find all their rules for the US on this page. Here is the important part from that page:

FBA Export United States

It says only books, movies, videos, and DVDs are eligible for international Multi-Channel Fulfillment.

Elsewhere on that page it says books cannot be exported to Canada. And no oversize units are eligible for export to anywhere. It also says that Amazon reserves the right to prevent export of any product or discontinue FBA Export features without prior notice.

Kinda crappy, right? Remember, these are Amazon’s rules, not ours.

Canada Amazon Accounts

Just like the United States, Amazon absolutely will not ship anything except media products outside of your country for MCF orders.

You can find their rules for Canada on this page. Here is the most important part from that page:

FBA Export Canada

It says only books, movies, videos, and DVDs are eligible for international Multi-Channel Fulfillment.

That means they will not ship your vitamins to France or your toys to the United States or your clothing to Germany. If you aren’t selling the above mentioned media products, they won’t ship your products to anyone except your fellow Canadians when it comes to MCF orders.

Mexico Amazon Accounts

Your rules are the same as the US and Canada. Only media products will be shipped internationally for MCF orders. You can find more details on this page.

Australia Amazon Accounts

We all know Australia has the scariest, most deadly animals on the planet. The rest of the world has voted to keep that mess contained to your continent, so you’re stuck with domestic buyers. Amazon won’t ship MCF orders anywhere outside of Australia.

Japan Amazon Accounts

Just like Australia, you’re limited to your home country. Amazon will only fulfill MCF orders placed by Japanese buyers. View all the details on this page.

United Kingdom and Other European Union Amazon Accounts

You are the lucky unicorns who get international shipping for just about any product! With just two caveats:

+ You must be signed up for Amazon’s Pan-Europe program or the European Fulfillment Network. You can find info about both programs here.

+ International shipping is limited to the EU. Customers in North America and other locations will not be able to receive products from your European Amazon account.

You can read Amazon UK’s info on MCF here. The program works similarly for accounts throughout the EU.

But I want to sell my cat-shaped coffee mugs to Antarctica!

If you really, really want to ship internationally, it is possible. But it’s complicated.

If you are new to FBA, get ready to be thoroughly confused. If you have some experience with FBA, you should hopefully understand some of the words below.

Either way, you have two options for fulfilling international orders.

Sign up for multiple Amazon marketplaces and send inventory to each one

You can sign up for multiple marketplaces through Seller Central, then link all of your marketplaces to your ecommerce store using our FBA Shipping app. The app will then choose the correct marketplace based on the customer’s location.

Important: You must have inventory in stock in each marketplace. If your mugs are in stock in the US but not in the UK, only US customers will be able to buy them.

Also important: Your product SKUs must match between Amazon and your ecommerce store. If you sell the same mug in multiple marketplaces, it’s easiest to use the same SKU for that mug across all marketplaces. Otherwise you’re looking at creating multiple versions of the same product for each different SKU.

You’ll need to have a clear plan of how to manage multiple sets of inventory as well as an understanding of all the details that come with shipping your goods to Amazon’s international warehouses.

Fulfill international orders yourself

You can set up your store so that Amazon fulfills your domestic orders and you fulfill your international orders. This means you have to have your own warehouse or storage space with your inventory in stock.

If your store is on BigCommerce, this is pretty easy to set up. Just install the FBA Shipping app to handle your domestic orders. Then add some international shipping zones with your own shipping rates. And you’re done!

If your store is on Shopify, it’s a bit more difficult. Shopify requires you to set a fulfillment service on each product. If you’re using the FBA Shipping app to send your orders to Amazon for fulfillment, the fulfillment service is set to FBA Shipping. But if you’re fulfilling your own orders, the fulfillment service needs to be set to Shopify.

You can only choose one fulfillment service on each item. So how do you have both FBA Shipping (Amazon) and Shopify (yourself) fulfill orders? Like this:

+ Set up a domestic collection and an international collection.

+ Duplicate all your products.

+ Put one set of products in the domestic collection.

+ Set the fulfillment service on these to FBA Shipping.

+ Put the other set of products in the international collection.

+ Set the fulfillment service on these to Shopify.

+ Set up the FBA Shipping app for your domestic shipping zone.

+ Set up your own shipping rates for your international shipping zones.

+ Install the Locksmith app to determine which collection gets shown to customers based on their location.

It may sound complicated, but it’s only 9 steps and we’re here to help you. If you get stuck at any point, just contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Conclusion

Remember, we aren’t the ones making this complicated! We’re the ones helping you! So it would be super amazing if you would leave us a positive review for trying to make your life easier. 🙂

About the Author

Gennifer is the Customer Support and Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.

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