How do you stop selling across the EU on Amazon?

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I had an interesting discussion today with an Amazon seller who is trying to stop selling to EU sites and has discovered that it’s nigh on impossible to turn overseas sales off once you’ve signed up to them.

There’s no real reason to dig into the reasons which are many and varied as you’ll be familiar with them all – items going to Italy getting lost, buyers in Spain who didn’t receive their items being prompted by Amazon to leave feedback and doing so (negative of course) with no contact with the seller, item descriptions on overseas sites suddenly changing so that an ASIN for selling a quantity of 1 is suddenly displaying a larger quantity or totally different product.

What’s important are the two key problems that have arisen which are common across all the day to day issues.

Language problems

The first problem is that whilst Amazon have unified selling accounts and make it super easy for UK sellers to sell to France, Germany, Spain and Italy (and to other EU customers who purchase through these Amazon country sites), when there’s an issue internationalisation flies out of the window and suddenly you have to deal with Amazon support in a foreign country and a foreign language.

Forget accessing support in English, how good is your Spanish or Italian not to mention that you could also suddenly need to communicate in French or German the next day. In the UK, it’s not uncommon if there’s an issue with your Amazon account to have to write a short essay explaining how you’ve updated your business processes to ensure the problems never arise again. Imagine having to do that in Spanish which is the situation our retailer found themselves in.

Turning international sales off

The second issue which has come to light is that whilst Amazon make it incredibly easy to sign up to sell overseas, it appears just about impossible to step back and only sell in the UK. There is no universal button to turn off selling overseas on Amazon.

You can mark individual products not to be available on other EU sites, but even this doesn’t seem to be reliable and a month down the line suddenly you find you’re selling overseas again. The only way we can see which ensures you won’t sell anything outside the UK appears to be to downgrade your account from a ‘Pro’ account to a ‘Basic’ account, but that will seriously impact the fees that you’re charged for selling within the UK.

Have you managed to successfully turned off your international Amazon sales? If so we’d love to hear the best way to do it.

4 Responses

  1. Easiest way is put the other countries on holiday mode in Settings > Account Information > Holiday settings .

    You can set .de .es .fr .it to inactive.

  2. You can just delete the listings in that particular IT, FR, ES channel .
    Our best experience selling on other Amazon channels was with FBA sharing the UK inventory across al the other channels. Fast delivery and if the customer complains / leave negative feedback for any reasons you can almost always ask AZ CS to remove the feedback as it was FBA. 🙂
    Also TNT & DPD are doing a good job in IT and ES but they are a bit more expensive than RM or PF therefore not really suitable for cheap products.

  3. As Dom said, I thought that would be the easiest way to do it, I am on holiday at the minute and so my listings are not active, when I log in I see:

    Your listings are currently inactive in the following marketplace(s): http://www.amazon.co.uk, http://www.amazon.de, http://www.amazon.fr, http://www.amazon.it, http://www.amazon.es
    At this time your self-fulfilled listings are not being displayed for sale in your inactive market places.

    I have never sold in the other areas.

  4. This is a great post, and is an issue that lots of our clients have had in the past as well. Unfortunately it’s also not limited to people selling on Amazon – I’ve heard of plenty of people having similar issues with eBay or other marketplaces too.

    If you’re reading this and happen to need help dealing with marketplaces in multiple languages, we at InterCultural Elements might be able to assist. We’ve been helping online retailers to expand internationally since 2007, and as such have a lot of experience in dealing with these situations.

    We have approximately 60 staff members in our office in Germany from 16 countries which means that we might be able to help rectify the issues leading to you wanting to shut down those international marketplaces in the first place, or at the very least, help you to deal with the marketplaces in general.

    Feel free to check out our website or to email me on [email protected] to chat about any particular issues you might be having.

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