To follow up on my recent Amazon France update, I want to share my progress on another hugely popular Amazon European marketplace—Amazon.de! I have been amazed by the results I have seen so far, so I hope this post will inspire more sellers to take action, register for the Pan-European program and expand their international sales.
I started selling in Germany in August. In the beginning, I was just using my UK stock via the European Fulfilment Network (EFN) FBA program. As you can see, I made 26 sales in August, which wasn’t a full month as I started selling on the 10th of August:
This resulted in a profit of about €78, as I’m selling the product for €9.99 with a profit of €3 per unit sold. My initial goal with the European expansion was to make at least 25 sales a month in each country in order to cover my VAT service costs, so I was happy to see that I reached that goal in the first month without even switching on the Pan-EU program.
September, my first full month of trading, resulted in 40 sales. However, I was still using the EFN as I was waiting for my German tax number to arrive:
At a profit of €3 per unit sold, these 40 sales generated a total profit of €120.
On the 8th of October, I finally turned on the Pan-EU program and my sales instantly skyrocketed:
I sold 410 units in October 2019, which resulted in sales worth €4,068.70 and a net profit of about €1,230.
This was amazing to see and got me very excited! This whole process didn’t even take that much effort. It just required a little time on the VAT registration part (which Amazon paid for) and translating the listing into German. Basically, the profit I made in October has already offset all of those costs for this year, so I’ll be making pure profit from here on out.
November hasn’t ended yet, but it looks like I will sell about 800 units or so. This roughly translates into an extra profit of €2000+. And that’s in just one month by simply offering the exact same product I already sell on Amazon.co.uk.
Now, I did spend some money on advertising (PPC ads) in October, which was just above the €200 mark, so I still have to account for that.
I use PPC ads on all of the regional Amazon marketplaces to launch my products and get them ranked quickly. What’s great about Amazon.de is that the click prices are 3x, 4x and even 5x lower than in the UK! This means that I can be aggressive with bidding, get sales in quickly, and still maintain a profitable ACoS, even at the product launch stage.
I believe that this is the biggest advantage of selling on regional EU Amazon websites. The competition is a fraction of what it is in the UK, not to mention the US PLUS click prices, which are at a level that allows ANYONE to use PPC with great success and stay profitable. When click prices are so cheap, you don’t have to be super smart about it. It helps, for sure, but it will still work even if you only set up a simple manual campaign for your most obvious keywords.
Obviously, I can’t say that this is true for all products and niches—it probably isn’t. But that’s why you do proper research using Jungle Scout (just like I did). That way, you know the exact level of competition in that marketplace BEFORE you get into it.
Another quick tip on the PPC side of things: I’ve seen SUPERB results on Amazon.de from the AUTO campaign. Usually, my AUTO campaigns lose money on Amazon.co.uk, but in Germany, I’m getting a great ROI, even with a very low click price. Again, this is most likely because there are not that many advertisers and Amazon has plenty of cheap ad inventory to sell, for which AUTO campaigns are a perfect match.
I was very sceptical about expanding to Germany because my product has a design that includes English writing. I thought I would have to translate my products in order to sell them in Germany—something I was not ready to do, especially without knowing how well it would go. But I was totally wrong! It seems that German customers don’t care much about the English text on the product and buy it anyway! Even though there are similar products already selling on Amazon.de that are written in German, my product and branding stands out from the competition, resulting in easy clicks and sales.
Obviously, this is Q4 we’re talking about here, so conversion rates are above average as this is the perfect time to launch a new product. However, even looking forward to 2020, I can definitely see that the German market will be very important for me and I will certainly continue to expand there. Maybe I will even translate the product into German to even further increase my sales. But who knows—maybe people buy the product because it is in English and not the German language? I will have to think about how to play this out in 2020.
All in all, I’m super happy with the results so far. I really hope this inspires you to go through the whole VAT saga and expand your sales via the Pan-EU program.
One important thing: people often ask me:
“Do I really need to use the Pan-EU program? Can’t I just stick with the European Fulfilment Network?”
My experience and results are solid proof of that. With the EFN program, I made 40 sales in September, but as soon as I switched on the Pan-EU program in October, I sold 410 units, which is a 10X INCREASE in sales!!! And I only started the Pan-EU on October 8th, which means that the actual increase is likely even greater.
A 10x increase in sales after switching on the Pan-EU program!!!
Obviously, using the EFN program is better than nothing, but it won’t show you the true potential of your products in those European marketplaces. You can’t test the market with the EFN program. You simply can’t.
My advice is to analyse the regional marketplace for your product using Jungle Scout. If you see that there is a good sales volume for your product and the competition looks weak, just go for it! Seriously, go for it! You already have the product and brand in place, so you have done all the hard work already. Why stick with just Amazon UK when you have four more EU-based marketplaces you can sell your products on?!
I will talk about my results for Italy and Spain in upcoming weeks. For now, the least you can do is check out the potential of your products on Amazon.de using Jungle Scout. If it looks good, just start the VAT registration process and aim for an EU expansion in 2020!
IMPORTANT!!! I have arranged a special deal with VAT Global for my blog readers. You will receive a special discount on the VAT registration and returns fees IF you mention this code when contacting them: ANDYVAT2020
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below the post. I will personally reply within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
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I understand that you didn’t translate the product, but did you translate the sales page? Also, have you since translated the product as mentioned you might and has this increase sales further?
Also, do you still think it’s worth it entering Germany what with the extra hassle and red tape Brexit has cause now?
Thanks for a great content. I am currently in the process of product research and planing to go with PAN-EU. Do you have any resources on which type of company I need to register in order to obtain VAT number in Germany?
Many regards and thanks.
Thanks for your comment.
A simple/normal Ltd. company is all you need. In theory, you should be able to get a VAT number being a Sole Trader too, but I have no experience with that.
Hello. I’m just getting setup to sell in Europe and was wondering if you had any tips for shipping product to the Amazon distribution centers? I’ve been talking to a lot of shippers and they all have concerns about delivering a skid to the Amazon warehouse at the time and date they choose. Is there any shipping loose boxes instead of skids that would make this easier? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Duane
Thanks for your email.
All of the largest shipping companies (UPS, DHL etc.) work with Amazon and they know the delivery system/bookings etc. I don’t think you need to worry about this really, unless you use some little know, small company.
Do you have to be VAT registered here in the UK as well as the countries you want to send stock into? One of the documents Amazons VAT service is asking me for to sell in Germany, Czech Republic and Poland is “Your Local VAT Certificate / Certificate of Taxable Status”…
Thanks for your comment.
Hmm, that’s a good question. In theory, no, you shouldn’t need UK VAT number (if you’re UK based and trading under the threshold), but I don’t know what are the small print/details of this. I expanded to the EU marketplaces when I already had the UK VAT number in place. I would recommend you send them a message and inform that you’re not VAT registered in the UK yet and see what they reply?
This is so Amazing
I m just starting in the UK market as I am selling in the US as well so why not haha.
Quick question: how long did it take to get the VAT id reg for UK and for other countries? Every country we sell in EU must have its own VAT ID right?
Thank you for sharing your case studies and success stories, absolutely love it! GOOD LUCK for spain and other markets
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, it varies greatly from country to country – from just 3 to 4 weeks up to 3 to 6 months. I highly recommend you outsource this process to a VAT service company as it will be very difficult for you to handle all the required paperwork, do monthly VAT returns etc.
Fantastic results Andrew! Were you doing any advertising while using EFN? Do you think the increase in sales since starting PAN-EU is due to the faster delivery time or did you make the price cheaper?
Thanks Ruth! 🙂
No, I was not advertising before that. Obviously, the PRIME benefits, faster shipping is what makes a HUGE difference in sales and conversion rates.
No, I did not change my prices at all.
First of all well done on the blog – a brilliant source of clearly explained info. My question concerns the German Packaging law. How did you go about complying with this ? Also, if you pay for a dual service does the licence last for that calendar year only ?
Unfortunately I haven’t sorted it out yet. I plan on doing it early next year, it’s already on my to do list.
Amazon hasn’t asked about this at all (if you wonder).
Thanks so much for the amazing content Andrew!
If I believe my product has international potential, do you think I should start with Germany (Multi-Country) or just go for Pan-European?
Thanks for your comment & you’re welcome! 🙂
You should check Jungle Scout data in all four countries: Germany, France, Italy & Spain and based on that, make the decision. If at least 2 to 3 countries show good demand, I would recommend you go with the PAN-EU program from day one. It will make your life so much easier with the stock management and you will cover even more audience. IF only Germany interests you, you can start with that, of course, but remember that you will still have to register for VAT in 3 countries: Germany, Poland and Czech Republic as they all serve the German market. So, it may be just easier to go with the PAN-EU from day one.