Changes to the Amazon Switzerland service announced

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Shoppers on Amazon Switzerland will no longer enjoy such an array of products for sale after they have decided to make changes to their services and restrict where Swiss shoppers can buy from.

The reason for the change is that from January 2019, all distance sellers or mail orders incoming will be subject to Swiss VAT. That means that any foreign import company that has an annual turnover of more than CHF100,000 ($100,428 USD), even if it is purely earned from small consignments, packages will be regarded as domestic deliveries. Those packages will be required to be registered and liable for VAT and exemption limits will no longer apply.

As the global ecommerce giant has said:

From 26 December 2018 customers shopping on and other non-EU Amazon websites will not be able to ship non-digital orders to any shipping address in the Swiss Customs Union.
– Amazon email to consumers

There has been significant kickback on the change as this tweet gives a flavour of:

This move in Switzerland reflects exactly how Amazon has approached the issue of the GST, Goods and Sales Tax, in Australia. When a problem is too annoying to tackle, it does seem to turn to other opportunities to pursue.

Switzerland may be a very affluent nation but it isn’t particularly populous with a population of roughly 8 million. Attention and resources could be directed towards other countries. It is notable, for instance, that despite having fulfilment centres in Poland that the marketplace Allegro is bigger and more popular than Amazon there. Developing a bigger presence there could well be a smart move.

The nature of the Swiss population means that people the people there can easily use other national websites specifically in Italy, France and Germany. The Swiss are multilingual and outward looking so requiring them to shop elsewhere is not an impossible stretch.

Unusually, with specific reference to Australia, eBay has proved to be the more innovative and amenable player in this field and made it possible for merchants to import goods to the country. The eBay marketplace will be taking care of the new GST but Amazon Australia has just cut off trade there just like in Switzerland. That surely shows that eBay is sometimes the more creative and forward-looking marketplace.


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