The truth is: selling on Amazon has NEVER been easier. Amazon makes it easy because they want to introduce more sellers to serve the needs of their gigantic customer base, and create a more competitive marketplace.
This may seem daunting, but it really is not, and I wanted to help dispel some of the myths that might prevent you from taking action and getting started.
Here are some common questions we receive about selling on Amazon using the wholesale business model.
1) What information do wholesale companies need?
This is a question that comes up all the time. If you are a resident of the US or have a US corporation, they will need a resale certificate.
If you are NOT a resident of the US or do NOT have a corporation, this does NOT apply. Wholesale companies in general have to be able to show that they sell ‘Business to Business’ (or B2B). You may use your country’s documentation that you are a real business.
You can (and likely should) speak to a US tax professional to see if there are advantages of registering as a US based business vs registering in your own country.
Here is the great part–if you have that and still feel uncomfortable, you can ask a wholesale company what they would need! This allows you to get a pretty comprehensive view of the exact items that will be needed. Additionally, this will likely be pretty universal across the board.
2) What if I don’t want to sell on Amazon.com and want to sell on my own marketplace and order from wholesalers in my country?
This works as well. To order from the wholesale side, you would need your country’s documentation to show that you are a business.
We suggest speaking to a CPA or Attorney/Solicitor in your country to advise on business formation and necessary tax laws.
3) What do I need to do to sell on Amazon if I am not a US citizen?
You have to sign up for an Amazon account, and will need the following to do that:
A) A credit card that can be charged internationally (typically Visa or Mastercard are perfect).
B) A local bank in your country that supports ACH (Automated Clearing House). This means your bank accepts electronic transfers.
If you choose to go this route, check out the Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS):
Similarly, you can set up a US-based bank account and handle transfers yourself. This is usually done to save additional money. This should certainly be considered and investigated as an option. If your currency is not supported by ACCS, you will need to do this and set up a US bank account.
C) Your local address.
D) A phone number (with your international prefix). As an alternative, we suggest setting up a US-based phone number through a service like Skype.
E) A US Employer Identification Number(EIN). You don’t have to be a US corporation or of any legal status in relation to the US to get this number. You would simply need to fill out the online form W7 on the irs.gov website (the US government tax collection agency) to get you ITIN number, which can be used in place of a US Social Security Number for EIN application.
4) What do I need to do to be in compliance with US taxes/laws?
We are not a tax professional, and you will need to speak to one concerning this. You should ask your US tax professional which forms need to be filed with the IRS to make sure you are in compliance. You can mention the following forms and ask them which of these may apply:
Your tax professional will be able to easily advise you which of these forms (or others) may be applicable to your situation. While we use a local CPA, we have heard great things about the following accounting firms, all of which have experience with Amazon:
When you contact them, you can ask about tax requirements at the state level to deal with any applicable nexus laws. This all sounds more complicated than it is, I promise. Most of these things can literally be done in MINUTES.
5) How will I store and ship my inventory?
Now that you are set up, the next challenge is actually storing and shipping your inventory.
We handle all of our shipping to customers through Amazon FBA, and HIGHLY suggest the same to everyone regardless of whether they are US-based or based internationally. At that point, your only challenge is getting your product from the supplier to the Amazon Fulfillment center.
Many suppliers will ship direct to Amazon, and this can be considered as an option. If the item has “prep required”, we generally suggest having this shipped to a US-based prep center to handle that, as Amazon’s prep fees are quite high.
Prep centers are also an option if your suppliers will not ship to Amazon directly. Prep centers receive your product, inspect it for damage, perform necessary prep to insure its safety for Amazon and then the journey to the customer.
We suggest using Prime Zero Prep(on the East Coast) or Prep It Pack It Ship It(on the West Coast) as a prep center. There are certainly a lot of options for this, and you can definitely investigate to see which might be best for you. Prime Zero is the only prep center that we have personally used as this point in time(and we try to suggest only services that we have used where possible).
These companies have very detailed onboarding processes, and can get you set up with ease in minutes!
6) What happens if I get returns?
We are selling, and are hopefully doing really well. That being said, there is one last complication we have to tackle: returns.
Returns are certainly a part of business. In fact, they are generally between 1-2% of your sales. Many of those products can be resold, and Amazon can make that determination if you choose to let them do that (this is an account setting in your Amazon account).
Whether or not you choose to let Amazon sell your applicable return items, you will have some amount of returns that cannot be resold. There are a few options for what you can do with these.
A) Contact US-based charities to see if they may be interested in receiving your returns (we donate a good portion of our returns, because it is easier and we can write off some amount of that on taxes). That may be more difficult for you, as you will be operating internationally, but some charitable organizations will receive shipments. I would talk to a CPA in your country to see how that can be handled with your personal taxes.
B) You can have Amazon destroy these. I believe Amazon charges $.10/per item to destroy these. However, this prevents you from paying storage fees, and would simply come as a loss against money you had made.
C) You can have the items shipped to a returns center and processed/sold. Here are a few of those services (we have not personally used these services, but have heard good things from other people – please check them out and see if they are right for you):
Each of them are different and unique in how they handle the product and pay you. Review them and see if any work for you!
Selling on Amazon from outside the United States has literally never been easier. There can be HUGE advantages to selling outside the country as well! The processes may appear daunting but most of the things in this article can be done in minutes. The rest, are just part of owning your own business and being an entrepreneur.
Please bear in mind that we are neither attorneys nor CPAs, and this should not be construed in any way as professional advice. We ALWAYS suggest that you verify and discuss any information with your own legal or tax professional.
Hopefully this helped put in perspective what you need to do to get started!
They now accept students a couple times a year to teach them The Wholesale Formula, a blueprint of the exact steps they used to build their multi-million dollar Amazon business.