If you don’t yet have an Amazon North America Unified Account, it’s time you thought seriously about setting it up. News of Amazon’s expansion has been focused on their entry into Europe and Asia. But Amazon has also been pushing hard within North America. With a Unified Account, you can begin selling products in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Expanding your Amazon line to two more countries can make a huge difference for your business growth.
North America Unified Account Basics
A North America Unified Account opens up access to the US, Canadian and Mexican markets. It allows you to sell your offerings in all three countries from the same store. You will have a source marketplace – determined by your physical address when you set up your Amazon Seller Central account. You will also have target marketplaces – where you will begin offering your products with your Unified Account.
On Seller Central, you will be able to switch between amazon.com and amazon.ca seller tools. This makes it easy for you to list different products and track your orders on the different marketplaces. The Unified Account also makes it easier for you to share listing information and manage inventory in the three marketplaces. The Unified Account interface makes additional tools and services available to help you juggle your expansion over the North American marketplaces. In addition, your Order Defect Rate, negative feedback score, and A to Z claim history will start from scratch on the newly opened marketplaces and be recorded separately moving forward.
Amazon Canada and Amazon Mexico have been growing with an influx of both shoppers and sellers. If you want to take your Amazon store to the next level, you can go through the steps below to set up your Unified Account to sell on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.com.mx.
Setting Up Your Amazon Unified Account
The first thing you want to do is check if you already have a Unified Account. All new Amazon accounts are created as Unified Accounts by default, and Amazon is working on converting older accounts to Unified Account status. To check if your account has been converted, navigate to the language switcher in Seller Central. Check if you have Amazon marketplace options other than the country in which you originally registered. If you do, your Unified Account has already been approved and you will be able to list merchant-fulfilled products on the North American marketplaces automatically.
If you don’t see any options for the other two North American marketplaces, you will have to set up your Unified Account. This begins with signifying your intent via Amazon support. You should have no problems getting approval quickly if your Amazon account is in good standing. If you have registered as a Canadian seller, you will already have access to amazon.com. If you are a professional seller in Canada, you will also have access to amazon.com.mx. If you have registered as a US seller, you will have to get your Unified Account status approved to gain access to Canada and Mexico.
Preparing Your Listings
You are responsible as the seller for getting all your product information translated into the appropriate local marketplace languages and currencies. Preparing your listings is made easier by the Seller Central feature called Build International Listings or Expand Internationally. This tool will help you to check and synchronize your listings from your source to your target marketplaces so you can make sure that they are complete and ready. This only works, however, if the product detail page already exists in the target marketplaces. The Expanding Offers Internationally feature is also useful for getting reports on opportunities that you can leverage for global expansion. Note that getting your pricing information ready entails making adjustments to reflect the appropriate conversions from your currency to its equivalent value in your target marketplace currency. This has to be done manually for each country. You can use the Amazon Currency Converter to help you make direct conversions.
ChannelAdvisor integration is not fully functional yet, so proceed with caution. Contact support if you have any questions about this or to get updates on the status of the integration. If you do use ChannelAdvisor, you need to make sure that your feed quantity settings match on all your accounts.
Managing Your Inventory
The first step towards getting your inventory system down is understanding Global versus marketplace-specific SKUs. Global SKUs are able to use a shared inventory pool for the US and Canada marketplaces. You should be using Global SKUs for your products if you are shipping orders yourself.
You can get Global SKUs in Seller Central by selecting the option for Existing Offer when creating your marketplace offers. This can be tricky, however, since the total inventory will show on both marketplaces and will be adjusted synchronistically as purchases are made in either location. You can also opt to keep your inventory separate for each country with marketplace-specific SKUs so that you can manage the inventory by location.
If you want to make your FBM listings automatically available in your target marketplaces, choose your source marketplace in the Build International Listing tool. You can also select individual products that you want to exclude so that they are not available in your target marketplaces. You will have to do this for products that are not approved for sale in your target marketplaces.
You will need to set your pricing and shipping next. You can synchronize your prices and listing conditions to your source marketplace to have Amazon automatically adjust for direct currency conversion. Prices can be changed at any time by going to the target marketplace and editing the individual listings. For shipping, make sure that you have made the necessary adjustments to compensate for the different rates on international shipping. The same goes for making adjustments to return policies, tax, gifts, and the like.
Make sure that the international shipping services that you are using for FBM products meet Amazon’s requirements. Amazon recommends using UPS, FedEx, or DHL.
FBA with a North America Unified Account
You will have to list FBA products individually for your additional marketplaces. This is because you will be using the available FBA services in each country instead of your chosen FBM options, and also because of customs and other cross-border selling regulations. It is recommended that you set up separate, or marketplace-specific SKUs for your FBA products in the different countries to make the process smoother. These limitations can be confusing if you are already familiar with the EU Unified Account, which does allow FBA quantity sharing.
Marketplace-specific SKUs are kept as separate inventory pools at the marketplace level, to be shipped from and to the same countries. This means managing different pools for the US and Canadian marketplaces – US fulfillment centers for amazon.com and Canadian ones for amazon.ca. To replenish your inventory correctly, you must switch to the correct target marketplace before you begin. This ensures that your product goes to the correct country’s warehouse.
To get your marketplace-specific SKUs, select the Unique Offer option when creating new offers in Seller Central. The pricing is also then managed separately for the listing by location. Make sure that you indicate quantities on any inventory files that you are uploading to your Unified Account so that they will not be mistakenly read and reflected as zero on your listings.
These are just the initial steps that you will need to take to begin selling to two additional Amazon marketplace locations. If you need more specific information, we recommend reading up on North America Unified Account documentation on Amazon and contacting them for assistance with specific steps and policies.