YES, you can sell on Amazon USA from the Philippines. It wasn't possible before due to many restrictions, but times have changed. Increased connectivity and better trade relations have made global marketplaces more accessible to entrepreneurs based outside of the US.
In this article, you will learn why tapping into the unlimited wealth of Amazon USA can catapult your business to victory. You will also learn how to set up an Amazon Seller account, source and ship products, and start making a profit.
Why Amazon instead of local online marketplaces?
Is it worth it? This is the first thing most Philippine-based entrepreneurs ask when presented with the idea of selling on Amazon. After all, why go through the trouble of setting up an Amazon Seller account and sourcing products from god knows where when you can sell local products on more accessible platforms like Lazada or Shopee?
The answer is YES, it’s worth it. Why?—BIGGER PROFIT, of course!
While many make it big on Lazada or Shopee, it's not for everyone. Plus, the profit is much smaller compared to selling on Amazon USA. Most importantly, having multiple revenue streams is key to financial freedom.
To give you an idea of how much more money you can make from selling on Amazon USA, here are some exciting facts:
- There are over 167 million active Amazon Prime users in the US.
- You can source products to sell in several ways. (discussed below)
- You earn USD, which is at least 50 times the local currency.
- If you use Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA), Amazon takes care of packaging, warehousing, and shipping.
- You don't have to pay sales taxes in the US.
- Amazon offers diverse products, from everyday supplies to luxury items.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Selling on Amazon USA from the Philippines
Amazon works similarly to other online marketplaces. If you run stores outside Amazon, you'll see that the process of setting up an account and listing products is essentially the same. However, additional steps are needed when sourcing products, shipping, and receiving payments. Here's a simple guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Set up an Amazon Seller account.
You can only sell products on Amazon USA through your Amazon Seller account. This is different from your business account, which you can set up on Amazon's homepage.
To create an Amazon Seller account, go to sell.amazon.com. Click Sign Up. If you already have an active business account, you'll be prompted to sign in using your business account details. Once you're in, follow the three-step verification process.
First, Amazon will collect relevant personal and business information from you. They might request documents, such as a valid government-issued ID or passport, recent bank account or credit card statement, chargeable credit or debit card, and contact details, so prepare them beforehand.
You may also be asked to meet with an Amazon Associate to validate the information and documents you've provided. Once your account has been verified, you can start selling.
Upgrade to a professional Amazon seller plan for $39.99/month to access additional tools and services that can enhance your sales. Enjoy benefits like eligibility to sell restricted products, add multiple users, manage bulk inventory, and more.
Step 2: Choose and source your products.
Here comes the most critical part.
Your business success relies significantly on the products you choose to sell. Start by selecting a niche market. A niche market comprises consumers with shared interests or characteristics, such as pet owners, remote workers, travelers, or smartphone accessory enthusiasts. Concentrating on a particular niche allows for quicker product selection and the optimization of marketing strategies.
After identifying your niche and compiling a list of products, start looking for a supplier. At this stage, you must decide on a product-sourcing method that suits your capacity and workflow.
- Manufacture and ship your products – Though this is doable, it may not be practical and profitable for small businesses. Exporting from the Philippines to the US costs a lot of money. Also, very few customers from the US will agree to shoulder taxes and shipping costs.
- Flip products – This means buying undervalued products from other marketplaces like eBay or Alibaba and selling them for higher prices on Amazon USA. Does this mean the products you purchase from these platforms will be shipped to your address? No, it doesn't. You can select the multi-channel fulfillment option within Amazon Seller Central. This allows you to ship your products to an Amazon fulfillment center and store them there until orders come in. You can then choose FBA whenever you need to ship orders.
- Outsource production and shipping to third-party service providers – This is ideal for big suppliers that require a high minimum order quantity (MOQ). If you plan to source your products from another country, such as China or India, you need to employ three parties—a manufacturer, an inspection company, and a freight forwarder. The manufacturer produces your items, the inspection company ensures your products meet quality standards, and the freight forwarder ships them to an Amazon fulfillment center.
- Consider dropshipping – You can partner with a supplier willing to sell their products for less than how much you plan to list them on Amazon. Every time you receive an order, the supplier gets prompted to ship the product, and both of you get a cut.
Of these four, the second is the most efficient product-sourcing method for Amazon sellers in the Philippines. Not only does it eliminate the need for a manufacturer and an inspection company, but it also facilitates market research, as all the data you'll need is within the marketplace you want to flip products from.
Step 3: List your products.
Log in to your Amazon Seller account. Look for the Catalog and click "add products." This will take you to a search bar, where you'll be asked to enter the universal product code (UPC), European article number (EAN), international standard book number (ISBN), or Amazon serial identification number (ASIN).
You will be asked to choose between adding a new product not sold on Amazon and uploading a file to list multiple products. The latter requires an Excel file that contains all the necessary information to list multiple products. Amazon provides a downloadable template for this.
The next step is to fill out the forms. Provide as many details as possible to help potential buyers find your products more quickly.
Step 4: Ship your products and get paid.
Amazon can take care of shipping within the US through FBA. You don't have to hire a third-party logistics provider to do it. It might cost a little more, but it's more convenient because Amazon also handles returns and customer support.
Where do payments go, and how can you funnel them into your bank account?
Your revenue will be deposited into your Amazon Pay account. Amazon will automatically disburse funds from your Amazon Pay account into your bank account. The question is, can you link any local bank account to your Amazon Seller Account?
It depends on your bank and the type of account you have. Not all banks are supported for direct payments from Amazon. Thankfully, there are ways to get around this.
For instance, you can direct disbursements to a global payment service provider like Payoneer. They can then transfer the money into your local bank at a minimal cost. Virtual banks, such as TransferWise and Revolut, are also popular options. If your local bank offers international wire transfer services, that's also a secure way to channel payments into your account.
Start your Amazon selling journey today!
With the rate at which Amazon is growing, it's only a matter of time before the barriers isolating countries like the Philippines from its global network fall apart. When that happens, selling and earning on Amazon USA will be completely hassle-free. But why wait for that time when there are already existing ways to do it? Start your Amazon journey now before the market becomes saturated.