ParcelHero has said Amazon could stop sending UK sellers’ products to EU centres before Christmas to avoid returns when Brexit takes hold.
Last week, Amazon officially acknowledged that all sellers who only use a UK Fulfilment Centre will no longer have access to its EU marketplace from 1st January 2021. UK sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) will be forced to ship their goods to an EU-based Fulfilment Centre or lose all European sales.
International courier service ParcelHero has warned that sellers who take no action or decide not to send stock to an EU centre could find that Amazon stops shipping their items to the EU even before Christmas. This would avoid a build-up of stock that will have to be returned after 1st January. ParcelHero also fears the e-commerce giant may even start the process of returning stock to sellers’ UK warehouse during December in anticipation of the end of pan-European sales.
ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks MILT, comments: “On 1st January, the UK will leave the EU single market and customs union. There is time for the UK and EU to agree a decent deal, but that’s far from certain. Amazon will be highly reluctant to see a build-up of UK sellers’ stock in Europe during December, which would present a red tape nightmare in January, when some stock is inevitably returned.”
Amazon has firmly stated: “FBA offers using EFN will not be fulfilled across the UK-EU border.” EFN, David notes, is Amazon’s European Fulfilment Network and currently the simplest service for UK sellers to use to reach EU customers, allowing them to fulfil orders from any Amazon European marketplace using just one Fulfilment Centre.
David adds: “The fees for EFN sellers are quite steep, but the advantage is that it presents an easy way to sell into the EU without needing VAT numbers and minus the red tape in other countries. Our worry is that the end of this service just six days after Christmas is bound to create a nightmare before Christmas, as Amazon starts to repatriate UK sellers’ stock.”
The situation also raises difficulties for retailers that use Amazon’s Pan-European FBA service who, from 1st January, will have to send stock to an Amazon warehouse in Europe at their own cost. Sellers will have to split their stock and potentially see increased transport and storage costs, plus the added obstacle of differing VAT in EU countries.
David explains, “ParcelHero lists thousands of courier services to the EU for Amazon retailers who decide to continue selling to the EU, so getting stock to a designated European warehouse is easy. We recommend France as the cheapest EU destination. By using couriers to reach Amazon EU centres, UK sellers could enjoy significant profits by sending lightweight, high-value items to European warehouses.”
He concludes: “For UK sellers not wanting to take a leap into the unknown, January marks the end of EU sales on Amazon. Sellers may want to consider getting stock to the EU well in advance of any service disruption for their final EU Christmas. We recommend Amazon retailers bring all their Christmas plans forward, even if it means increased storage costs.”
For the very latest information on changes to regulations and prices shipping parcels to the EU, see ParcelHero’s constantly updated guide.