Top 5 Differences Between

Selling on Amazon UK

and Amazon US

Expanding your Amazon Marketplace business overseas can feel daunting. There are a lot of factors to consider to not only operate a business legally in another country but also to protect the profit margins you’ve already built your business around. During times of great change, it’s human nature to try and maintain as much consistency as possible by seeking out something with which you are comfortable. In the world of global eCommerce, what could be more comfortable than a market who’s consumers share so much with your own? 

For those already selling on Amazon’s US Marketplace, the United Kingdom (UK) can feel familiar. The economic status of a bulk of the population, many of the interests and trends, and even the language are the same—so it should be an easy transition, right? The answer is somewhere between yes and no. 

Amazon’s UK Marketplace is going to provide a much more familiar experience to its US counterpart than, say, Germany, but they still aren’t exactly the same. In addition, there’s Brexit, the (potential) split of the UK from the European Union that has been dominating international news for multiple years, to think about? The outcome of Brexit remains uncertain, but it’s important to understand the potential impact before making any long term business decisions.

Experienced sellers know that when it comes to making a profit, it’s important to optimize listings according to the target market. Amazon’s UK Marketplace can certainly be an easy place to start your international growth. However, let’s first take a look at some of the key differences between Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk so that you have the highest chances of success right away.

#1. Requiring completely separate seller accounts.

If you are already comfortable selling on Amazon’s US Marketplace then Amazon.co.uk might feel familiar, but in actuality, they are completely different stores that will require setting up a few distinct business functions to operate. For the full details on establishing your Amazon account and added context on some of your primary to-dos, Amazon has an expansive FAQ here.

You will need to set up a European Amazon Seller account.

This means you will have unique listings, distinct financial records, and product stock that is completely separate from your Amazon US Marketplace account. Amazon’s “Build International Listings” tool does help transfer your listing and pricing from your US sellers account, but you will need to (and might even want to) manage them separately in the long term.

You will be operating a business in the UK and that means preparing for EK (and EU) regulations. As well as paying UK/EU  tax (VAT)

Is important to fully understand this aspect of international selling before starting your journey. If you handle taxes incorrectly, it can have the biggest impact on your revenue. You will need to pay VAT on product sales and duties on your stock when passing through EU customs. Unlike selling a product from the US and shipping to the UK, operating out of the UK means the ownership of taxes is on you rather than the buyer.   

There are different and ever-changing regulations in the UK and EU that your product may need to adhere to.

is particularly important for the consumables, beauty, and consumer electronics product categories. Amazon recommends a few specific services for business owners looking for assistance in European compliance.

#2. Different Consumers

 Globally, the US and UK are known for being very similar, but shopping trends and the difference in market size can either help or hurt your success depending on how well you understand them.

UK consumers are more comfortable shopping online and do so more frequently compared to  US consumers. This leads to an impressive potential customer base despite the vast difference in population.

The US has a population of ~327 million people, which is nearly 5 times bigger than the UK’s population of ~66 million. However, the UK has a higher Internet penetration rate (the number of people who have access to and use the internet across the country) of 95% compared to the US’ ~87%. The biggest difference, though, is the percentage of the population that has used Amazon to shop online. The US has a fairly average rate of 59% (meaning ~193 million of the total population have used Amazon to shop), but the UK boasts a staggering 91% Amazon usage rate (meaning ~60 million of the total population have used Amazon to shop). This difference in eCommerce savviness means that despite their lower overall population, the Amazon UK Marketplace offers a disproportionately large consumer base.

    1. UK consumers tend to be more price-conscious than US consumers.
      1. Although the seller market is less competitive on Amazon.co.uk, the top categories can still have a lot of listings, and UK consumers tend to be more conservative in their eCommerce spending. Despite the higher percentage of the population that shop online, UK shoppers are still likely to avoid purchasing products that they don’t feel offer the best price. The best way to mitigate the risk of local sellers pricing you out of your product category is to focus on niche products with little to no competition. As with most global marketplaces, Amazon’s UK Marketplace shoppers are willing to pay more for unique products not offered elsewhere.
      2.  
    1. When comparing the top categories for each country’s e-commerce markets, it can be important to know where consumers prefer to spend their money.
      1. In the UK, fashion and sporting goods are the top product categories for e-commerce spending, with movies, music, and books/magazines rounding out the rest of the top listings.
      2. In the US, electronics reign supreme for online shoppers, with clothing/shoes taking second, and home/kitchenware securing the third spot.

#3. Differences in UK culture that might require a tweak to your US Marketplace listings​

amazon uk and us

Culture is the main area where many people consider the UK and the US to be very similar. While this may be true when compared to other European countries, there are still some differences that are worth understanding. Many of these differences may not be serious discrepancies between the 2 countries, but optimizing your listings to account for them can help you make the most of your foreign business efforts.

Consumers in the UK are more reactive to fact-based marketing compared to US shoppers who tend to react more strongly to emotion-based marketing. Ensure your listing gives all of the necessary details for a UK shopper to make a decision or they might look elsewhere.UK consumers are less likely to impulse buy when compared to the US. This means more research will go into products (and sellers) before making a purchase, and your reputation could make or break a buying decision.

English is the primary language in both the UK as well as the US, but there are still some occasional differences to be aware of for certain product categories that could localize an otherwise awkward listing. 

#4. Differences In Competition for Sellers

With a generally less competitive e-commerce scene, this is where an experienced US Marketplace seller can really take advantage of the UK’s less mature marketplace. 

There are many resources available for US sellers to perfect the art of creating a brand, and many of those skills will put you ahead of the competition across the pond.

    1. Sellers tend to be less savvy on the UK marketplace when compared to the US, where selling on Amazon has become an explosive business opportunity. This means you will have less competition in niche markets, and you will need fewer reviews to hit the top result when compared to listings in the US.
    2. Finally, sellers on Amazon.co.uk are more likely to sell their goods internationally as well, meaning the focus is not solely on their “local” (or UK) listings.
      1. 31% of sellers in the UK are also selling their products in Germany (Amazon.de)
      2. 27% are also selling in France (Amazon.fr)
      3. 24% sell in Italy (Amazon.it)
      4. 21% sell in Spain (Amazon.es)

#5. The UK is connected to a greater European market (for now..)

One of the most interesting (and potentially beneficial) aspects of operating in Amazon’s UK Marketplace is the physical proximity to, and international connections with, other European countries via the European Union. This connection can make further global expansion easier in a number of ways which makes the UK a great potential learning platform before diving into other European Marketplaces.

Ease of shipping and navigating customs between EU regulated countries. Most EU countries have agreements when it comes to shipping products across borders which makes having a shared product supply easy.

  1. A standard currency (the euro) that allows for easier value translation between marketplaces, and less cost on currency exchanges.
  2. Shared safety and information/marketing regulations (for some product categories) across the entire EU, rather than standards that differ from country to country.
  3.  

A consumer base that is comfortable shopping across the EU. The cross-border European Marketplace goes both ways, with shoppers from other EU nations taking advantage of listings in the UK as well.

So why the asterisk and foreboding “for now”? All of this could change depending on the outcome of “Brexit” (i.e. Britain’s potential leaving of the European Union).

amazon uk and us
*Impacts of Brexit:

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Brexit, but seemingly none of the possibilities tied to a vote to leave are favorable to e-commerce buyers and sellers. There are quite a few potential scenarios (highlighted with more context here), but in particular, a “no-deal” vote to leave the EU could make expansion into Amazon’s UK Marketplace a tough business investment to justify the time or money needed. A few potential impacts on the UK leaving the European Union include:

An unstable exchange rate—a no-deal Brexit could weaken the pound due to the uncertainty of the UK’s position in a global economy. In fact, even the current uncertainty has weakened the position of the British pound despite no final decision on Brexit.

  1. Sellers on Amazon.co.uk may need to have products go through customs multiple times between EU countries and the UK, and the rates of taxes might change when going between other European countries. As mentioned above, goods could previously cross between EU nations duty-free, but that seems unlikely in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

There could be a major increase in shipping times both to and from the UK. Even if the price of shipping were to remain unchanged (which does not seem likely), customs offices in the UK and across Europe are going to be dealing with more traffic because of the need to process goods moving across the UK’s borders. This means a longer delay between manufacturing and available stock and slower shipping times to customers.

Summary:

Without a doubt, an expansion from Amazon.com to Amazon’s UK Marketplace is going to feel more familiar for sellers than an expansion to a marketplace with a different language or cultural expectations, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any changes that need to be made. Add on top the unknowns of the upcoming Brexit decision, and the U doesn’t seem like much of a slam-dunk choice for your first international expansion destination.

Fear not! There is still a lot of business potential in growing your Amazon business internationally. There are always going to be things to learn, and before you take that leap, PingPong has experts that are ready to talk with you about how to make your decision less daunting. On top of incredibly low foreign exchange rates and services that help with setting up your global business (including filing VAT), you can create a free account today that will propel your business forward. Check out www.pingpongpayments.com for more information and additional resources that will help you #Movingforward

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business where that came from.

Top 5 Differences Between Selling on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Expanding your Amazon Marketplace business overseas can feel daunting. There are a lot of factors to consider to not only operate a business legally in another country but also to protect the profit margins you’ve already built your business around. During times of great change, it’s human nature to try and maintain as much consistency as possible by seeking out something with which you are comfortable. In the world of global eCommerce, what could be more comfortable than a market who’s consumers share so much with your own? 

For those already selling on Amazon’s US Marketplace, the United Kingdom (UK) can feel familiar. The economic status of a bulk of the population, many of the interests and trends, and even the language are the same—so it should be an easy transition, right? The answer is somewhere between yes and no. 

Amazon’s UK Marketplace is going to provide a much more familiar experience to its US counterpart than, say, Germany, but they still aren’t exactly the same. In addition, there’s Brexit, the (potential) split of the UK from the European Union that has been dominating international news for multiple years, to think about? The outcome of Brexit remains uncertain, but it’s important to understand the potential impact before making any long term business decisions.

Experienced sellers know that when it comes to making a profit, it’s important to optimize listings according to the target market. Amazon’s UK Marketplace can certainly be an easy place to start your international growth. However, let’s first take a look at some of the key differences between Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk so that you have the highest chances of success right away.

#1. Requiring completely separate seller accounts.

If you are already comfortable selling on Amazon’s US Marketplace then Amazon.co.uk might feel familiar, but in actuality, they are completely different stores that will require setting up a few distinct business functions to operate. For the full details on establishing your Amazon account and added context on some of your primary to-dos, Amazon has an expansive FAQ here.

You will need to set up a European Amazon Seller account.

This means you will have unique listings, distinct financial records, and product stock that is completely separate from your Amazon US Marketplace account. Amazon’s “Build International Listings” tool does help transfer your listing and pricing from your US sellers account, but you will need to (and might even want to) manage them separately in the long term.

You will be operating a business in the UK and that means preparing for EK (and EU) regulations. As well as paying UK/EU  tax (VAT)

Is important to fully understand this aspect of international selling before starting your journey. If you handle taxes incorrectly, it can have the biggest impact on your revenue. You will need to pay VAT on product sales and duties on your stock when passing through EU customs. Unlike selling a product from the US and shipping to the UK, operating out of the UK means the ownership of taxes is on you rather than the buyer.   

There are different and ever-changing regulations in the UK and EU that your product may need to adhere to.

is particularly important for the consumables, beauty, and consumer electronics product categories. Amazon recommends a few specific services for business owners looking for assistance in European compliance.

#2. Different Consumers

 Globally, the US and UK are known for being very similar, but shopping trends and the difference in market size can either help or hurt your success depending on how well you understand them.

UK consumers are more comfortable shopping online and do so more frequently compared to  US consumers. This leads to an impressive potential customer base despite the vast difference in population.

The US has a population of ~327 million people, which is nearly 5 times bigger than the UK’s population of ~66 million. However, the UK has a higher Internet penetration rate (the number of people who have access to and use the internet across the country) of 95% compared to the US’ ~87%. The biggest difference, though, is the percentage of the population that has used Amazon to shop online. The US has a fairly average rate of 59% (meaning ~193 million of the total population have used Amazon to shop), but the UK boasts a staggering 91% Amazon usage rate (meaning ~60 million of the total population have used Amazon to shop). This difference in eCommerce savviness means that despite their lower overall population, the Amazon UK Marketplace offers a disproportionately large consumer base.

    1. UK consumers tend to be more price-conscious than US consumers.
      1. Although the seller market is less competitive on Amazon.co.uk, the top categories can still have a lot of listings, and UK consumers tend to be more conservative in their eCommerce spending. Despite the higher percentage of the population that shop online, UK shoppers are still likely to avoid purchasing products that they don’t feel offer the best price. The best way to mitigate the risk of local sellers pricing you out of your product category is to focus on niche products with little to no competition. As with most global marketplaces, Amazon’s UK Marketplace shoppers are willing to pay more for unique products not offered elsewhere.
      2.  
    1. When comparing the top categories for each country’s e-commerce markets, it can be important to know where consumers prefer to spend their money.
      1. In the UK, fashion and sporting goods are the top product categories for e-commerce spending, with movies, music, and books/magazines rounding out the rest of the top listings.
      2. In the US, electronics reign supreme for online shoppers, with clothing/shoes taking second, and home/kitchenware securing the third spot.

#3. Differences in UK culture that might require a tweak to your US Marketplace listings​

amazon uk and us

Culture is the main area where many people consider the UK and the US to be very similar. While this may be true when compared to other European countries, there are still some differences that are worth understanding. Many of these differences may not be serious discrepancies between the 2 countries, but optimizing your listings to account for them can help you make the most of your foreign business efforts.

Consumers in the UK are more reactive to fact-based marketing compared to US shoppers who tend to react more strongly to emotion-based marketing. Ensure your listing gives all of the necessary details for a UK shopper to make a decision or they might look elsewhere.UK consumers are less likely to impulse buy when compared to the US. This means more research will go into products (and sellers) before making a purchase, and your reputation could make or break a buying decision.

English is the primary language in both the UK as well as the US, but there are still some occasional differences to be aware of for certain product categories that could localize an otherwise awkward listing. 

#4. Differences In Competition for Sellers

With a generally less competitive e-commerce scene, this is where an experienced US Marketplace seller can really take advantage of the UK’s less mature marketplace. There are many resources available for US sellers to perfect the art of creating a brand, and many of those skills will put you ahead of the competition across the pond.

    1. Sellers tend to be less savvy on the UK marketplace when compared to the US, where selling on Amazon has become an explosive business opportunity. This means you will have less competition in niche markets, and you will need fewer reviews to hit the top result when compared to listings in the US.
    2. Finally, sellers on Amazon.co.uk are more likely to sell their goods internationally as well, meaning the focus is not solely on their “local” (or UK) listings.
      1. 31% of sellers in the UK are also selling their products in Germany (Amazon.de)
      2. 27% are also selling in France (Amazon.fr)
      3. 24% sell in Italy (Amazon.it)
      4. 21% sell in Spain (Amazon.es)

#5. The UK is connected to a greater European market (for now..)

One of the most interesting (and potentially beneficial) aspects of operating in Amazon’s UK Marketplace is the physical proximity to, and international connections with, other European countries via the European Union. This connection can make further global expansion easier in a number of ways which makes the UK a great potential learning platform before diving into other European Marketplaces.

Ease of shipping and navigating customs between EU regulated countries. Most EU countries have agreements when it comes to shipping products across borders which makes having a shared product supply easy.

  1. A standard currency (the euro) that allows for easier value translation between marketplaces, and less cost on currency exchanges.
  2. Shared safety and information/marketing regulations (for some product categories) across the entire EU, rather than standards that differ from country to country.
  3.  

A consumer base that is comfortable shopping across the EU. The cross-border European Marketplace goes both ways, with shoppers from other EU nations taking advantage of listings in the UK as well.

So why the asterisk and foreboding “for now”? All of this could change depending on the outcome of “Brexit” (i.e. Britain’s potential leaving of the European Union).

amazon uk and us
*Impacts of Brexit:

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Brexit, but seemingly none of the possibilities tied to a vote to leave are favorable to e-commerce buyers and sellers. There are quite a few potential scenarios (highlighted with more context here), but in particular, a “no-deal” vote to leave the EU could make expansion into Amazon’s UK Marketplace a tough business investment to justify the time or money needed. A few potential impacts on the UK leaving the European Union include:

An unstable exchange rate—a no-deal Brexit could weaken the pound due to the uncertainty of the UK’s position in a global economy. In fact, even the current uncertainty has weakened the position of the British pound despite no final decision on Brexit.

  1. Sellers on Amazon.co.uk may need to have products go through customs multiple times between EU countries and the UK, and the rates of taxes might change when going between other European countries. As mentioned above, goods could previously cross between EU nations duty-free, but that seems unlikely in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

There could be a major increase in shipping times both to and from the UK. Even if the price of shipping were to remain unchanged (which does not seem likely), customs offices in the UK and across Europe are going to be dealing with more traffic because of the need to process goods moving across the UK’s borders. This means a longer delay between manufacturing and available stock and slower shipping times to customers.

Summary:

Without a doubt, an expansion from Amazon.com to Amazon’s UK Marketplace is going to feel more familiar for sellers than an expansion to a marketplace with a different language or cultural expectations, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any changes that need to be made. Add on top the unknowns of the upcoming Brexit decision, and the U doesn’t seem like much of a slam-dunk choice for your first international expansion destination.

Fear not! There is still a lot of business potential in growing your Amazon business internationally. There are always going to be things to learn, and before you take that leap, PingPong has experts that are ready to talk with you about how to make your decision less daunting. On top of incredibly low foreign exchange rates and services that help with setting up your global business (including filing VAT), you can create a free account today that will propel your business forward. Check out www.pingpongpayments.com for more information and additional resources that will help you #Movingforward

Psst… There’s more savvy know-how to grow your
Amazon business where that came from.