If you have ever bought anything on Amazon.com, you have probably noticed that they sell a little bit of everything. The world’s largest online retailer may have started off selling books and music, but they quickly outgrew those early roots and expanded into things like groceries, fitness gear and apparel. These days Amazon sells virtually everything under the sun, and even after all these years the company is still growing by leaps and bounds.
That is why most buyers know about the site, but what they may not be aware of is just how Amazon.com manages to be all things to all people. The truth is that although Amazon’s warehouses are huge and complex operations, they do not house everything the company sells. Instead, Amazon.com relies on a vast network of individual sellers – business owners who get to take advantage of the Amazon name to sell their goods and boost their profits.
Another thing that many people do not realize is that the sellers on Amazon are not all located in the United States. Indeed, many of the most successful sellers on Amazon.com are actually located quite far from the company’s home base in the Pacific Northwest. No matter where you are located or what you have to sell, chances are you can make a go of it on Amazon.
Setting up a seller account on Amazon.com is relatively straightforward, even for non-US sellers. It is important to note, however, that Amazon.com does require that all its sellers, including the ones located outside the United States, register a valid credit card number – one with a valid United States billing address.
This can create a bit of a hurdle, but there is an easy way around it. By setting up a U.S.-based company, would-be Amazon sellers can easily get the credit card they need. Furthermore, setting up a C Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC) also provides a number of legal protections for foreign Amazon sellers and can simplify and reduce tax compliance as well.
The process of incorporating your company within the boundaries of the United States is not as difficult as you might think. For one thing, you do not have to live in the United States to register a business there, so you are free to operate in your home country, ship your goods from there and enjoy the familiar surroundings.
You will need to assign a name to your new business, decide which structure (C Corporation or LLC) works best for you and apply for a Tax ID number. A good agent can help you with all of these matters, as well as help you with ongoing paperwork and reporting requirements.
You will also need to set up a U.S.-based bank account for your business. Having a bank account with a valid U.S. address will make it easier to get the credit card you need to establish a seller account with Amazon, but it will also simplify everything from income tax reporting to recordkeeping for your business. You can work with a multinational bank that does business in your home country or set up an account online with a U.S.-based bank.
You will need a bit of documentation to open a bank account in the United States, including two valid forms of photo identification, one of which must be your passport. You will also need proof of address, something like a recent utility bill or an official letter from the government. The bank in the United States will also want to see proof that you currently have an account in your home country, so it is a good idea to ask your current bank for a letter stating that the account is open and in good standing.
The process of setting up a seller account on Amazon is a bit more cumbersome for non-U.S. residents, but you should not let that stop you. Amazon.com is a true global marketplace, one where millions of people shop and buy every day. If you are not taking advantage of this vast network of buyers and sellers, you could really be missing out. Setting up your Amazon seller account may take some time and effort, but in the end the results will be well worth it.