Is your Amazon Strategy Brexit-ready?
What we know so far...

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

As we all know, the end of the Brexit transition period is here. This means on January 1st there will be a customs border between the UK and the EU, but at the moment that’s as much as we know. Talks are still ongoing and advertisements are telling us to “get ready”. But how do we go about getting prepared for the unknown? 

In this blog and infographic, we’ve tried to find as much information to help as possible. These are our tips on how to keep your Amazon listings available into the new year. We will keep adding to this blog as information becomes known. For now, take a look at how we think you will have to prepare for Brexit…

Brexit - infographic - marketplace amp

inventory

Having inventory in the right place will be one of the biggest challenges after Brexit. We’ve gathered tips from our Amazon experts to help make sure your inventory is based where you need it before January 1st and what to do after. 

what is MCI?
MCI = Multi-country Inventory

MCI enables brands to stock products in multiple locations around Europe at Amazon warehouses. This allows for local deliveries, which means faster delivery times including access to Prime. Shipping stock in bulk to different countries can save money compared to shipping to customers one by one. This will be especially true after Brexit if new customs fees will be introduced.

Where your products are based now will save you a lot of time and money in the future. Before a potential customs border is put into place, stock can flow smoothly between Europe and the UK. Amazon had streamlined this with its MCI and EFN services. If free movement comes to an end, stock will stay on the side of the channel that it is stored. Make sure to have plenty of stock ready for the UK and the EU. This will save you from having to pay customs fees after January 1st. Keep in mind that FBA cross border fulfilment via EFN will slow from December 21st and stop completely on December 28th. This doesn’t leave a lot of time to get prepared!

what is EFN?
EFN = European Fulfilment Network

This allows for smooth shipping between different European countries and Amazon marketplaces. Once registered, a country can sell in another country’s Amazon marketplace but still be shipped from the original country where it is stocked.

If you currently don’t sell in Europe but are looking to next year, ensure to set up MCI and EFN to streamline services after Brexit. These can be used in unison with each other and will help to maintain the flow of products across mainland Europe. Click here for details on how to set up MCI or contact us to do the heavy lifting for you!

To help our clients AMPlify their European sales, we have partnered with a trustworthy warehouse based in the Netherlands. This will allow for stock to be stored safely in mainland Europe, ready for shipping. To find out more about how we can help, contact us today.

VAT

Once stock is safely stored in Europe it can be sold and moved freely through EU member states, as long as the products are legally compliant and UK businesses are VAT registered in each country.

Amazon offers its own VAT service, costing £400 a year, covering France, Germany, UK, Spain, Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic. This is fairly cheap compared to other VAT services and offers the first year free, however, it has been reported to be slow due to the high volume of applicants this time of year. Depending on your company’s needs, amp can help guarantee your VAT registration for all EU member states before January 1st if you act quickly!

EORI

Businesses will need an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification number) for both the UK and the EU after Brexit. This is an identification number that is needed for all customs procedures when exchanging information with customs administrations. Before Brexit, businesses only needed one EU EORI, therefore if you already have one but it does not start with GB, you will need to reapply for a UK number ready for January 1st.

The UK number can be applied for online here and takes roughly 5-10 minutes to complete. Once sent off it should take 5 days to arrive. Only one EU EORI number is required for all of the EU member states, but this can take longer than the UK number to arrive. Ensure you leave enough time for it to be processed. For more information on the EU EORI application process click here.

customs

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of unknowns. Deal or No Deal, that is the question. This blog post helps to outline the potential customs fees if there is a deal and fees if there is no-deal. This can be a bit much to get your head around, which is why it might be helpful to hire a Customs Broker to help navigate this. These can be direct or indirect representatives for your business and will help clear your products for shipping. More information from the UK government about Custom Brokers and how they work can be found here.

If you do decide to use a Customs Broker, you will have to provide them with:

  • Value of goods — packing lists
  • Customs tariff to be applied — Bill of lading and commercial invoice shipment
  • Origin of goods — the country of origin information
  • EORI and VAT numbers
  • HS codes — find out more here

brand registry

It looks as if the latest Brexit news will also have an impact on Amazon Brand Registry. This is a suite of tools that helps to elevate and protect a brand whilst selling on Amazon. This includes the ability to create A+ content, Sponsored Brand ads and an Amazon Storefront. It can protect brands by making sure the brand owner has control of the content that is seen by consumers, and offers the ability to report violations.

After Brexit, it looks as if the trademark laws will affect Brand Registry in the UK and Europe. EU trademarks will no longer be valid in the UK, which means that companies will now need separate trademarks for the UK and EU. 

Amazon is trying to make this an easy transition for everyone by transferring EU Trademarks to UK Trademarks where possible. You can opt out of this, if you wish, by emailing brand-registry-contact-us@amazon.com. Or if you want to make sure this is done for you, make sure your EU trademark is enrolled by December 31st. After this, you will have to add the comparable UK trademark to Brand Registry yourself.

preparing content

Not everything about selling in Europe after Brexit is about numbers and codes! If you’re looking to expand to other Amazon marketplaces, there are some content aspects to look out for too.  

One of the most important things when setting up listings in another country is to make sure it is in the mother tongue! For products to perform well in these markets, all text will need to be in the right language for the consumers to fully understand. Stay away from using translator apps, like Google translate, and hire a professional to ensure that there are no funny mishaps! Even Amazon made this mistake when setting up their Swedish store, which included an awkward translation of ‘cat’ that doesn’t need to be repeated. 

This is true for keywords too. Using a professional who understands search engine optimisation will help to add performance-enhancing keywords to the copy. These keywords will need to be added to the back-end to help your listings appear in the right search results. Here at amp, we have translators that cover German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and so many more to help our clients sell all over the world. Find out more about our translation service here.

mitigating risk

Our number one top tip before you start selling in Europe is to make sure you mitigate the risk for your business. Weigh up the pros and cons and make sure you have all bases covered. Is it viable? With so many questions still unanswered about Brexit, make sure this is the right move for your business.

Check that all products meet EU legislation and that the labels meet the legal requirements. Redesigning and reprinting could add unnecessary costs to your business. Conversion rates could also play a part in profit and loss. Understand the new prices for labelling and shipment, and that shipping times will be increased. This will all need to be accounted for and could cause a rise in the price of certain products.

Once everything is set up for the Amazon marketplace in Europe, it is easy to expand to other European marketplaces. Germany’s Amazon is the biggest marketplace in Europe, however, there are many others that offer an excellent return on investment. Use your translated content to create listings on marketplaces such as Bol.com, Allegro.pl, emag.ro, and so many more. 

For help navigating Brexit on Amazon, as well as setting up listings on other European marketplaces, contact us today. To stay up-to-date with everything e-commerce and Brexit updates, sign up to our newsletter using the form below or follow us on Twitter and Linkedin.

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