Guide: Shopping across the European Amazon stores

Curiua Team  —  December 1, 2018

One of the largest and possibly the most well known e-commerce store in Europe is Amazon. Although Amazon currently doesn't operate in many European countries, six to be exact, it's still the dominant e-commerce giant due to its sales and prominent influence.

Amazon currently operates in the following European countries:

  • United Kingdom (est. 1998)
  • Germany (est. 1999)
  • France (est. 2000)
  • Italy (est. 2010)
  • Spain (est. 2011)
  • The Netherlands (est. 2014)

Nowadays, there's not many people that haven’t heard of Amazon, and their presence is continuously growing. So, in this guide, we will share some useful tips and highlight the advantages of shopping across the European Amazon stores.

Amazon in Europe

Amazon provides its products at varying prices across the European stores, and has made it possible to access them all from a single user account. The stores can also be used by individuals outside the countries listed above (although certain products may be unavailable). For example, people living in Portugal can create a Spanish account to access the European Amazon stores.

Amazon is continuously developing and expanding their services, so it's possible that they will start operating in more European countries over the next few years.

Shopping across the European Amazon stores

The main advantages of shopping across the different European stores are as follows:

1. Uniform experience

Those who are already familiar with shopping on Amazon will notice that all the European marketplaces are unified in their design and functionality, the main difference is the prices and product availability. Although the site may not be in a familiar language, you can easily change this in most modern web-browsers (we'll explain this in more detail below).

2. Use your existing Amazon account

Whether you are ordering from your home (abroad) or traveling, you only need one Amazon account to access all the European stores. Just search for your desired product, and complete the standard ordering process - your credit card details or preferred payment method (PayPal) will be available.

It's recommended to review the seller (as you usually would), to check if there's any differences with their purchase terms and delivery/return policies.

3. Lower prices

Possibly the best advantage is that you can get products at a lower price. Since prices on Amazon fluctuate regularly, it's quite easy to find some great deals.

4. Delivery & Shipping costs

When you make a purchase abroad on any of the Amazon stores in Europe an additional shipping charge is added to the cost. This increased shipping charge is typically calculated either by the product weight per kilo or a flat fee. However, more often than not the price will still be lower in a different Amazon store, even when the increased shipping and delivery cost has been included.

The general shipping time for your item when ordering abroad is one week, but it may vary depending on the product and the seller’s delivery policy (so it’s worth checking first).

5. No EU custom duties

Another significant advantage is that buyers will not incur any duty costs in the EU. However, it's important to note that additional charges and taxes may vary depending on the country (which we will explain in more detail below).

How to navigate the different marketplaces

When you first visit any Amazon store, it will be displayed in the local language. A menu to change the language directly on the site may be available, but if your local language isn't listed you can still translate it using most modern web-browsers. You can take a look at our simple guide on how to translate any website if you're unsure how this is done.

Shipping options

As explained above, there are increased shipping costs depending on the store's location, but with a lower product price it usually works out as the cheaper option. Although many of us would prefer to pay the standard shipping rate, in the long run, it's more cost effective.

There are also certain stores (like the German Amazon Marketplace) where you can qualify for free shipping if the total purchase cost is at least 29€. The buyer must have a shipping address in the following countries to be eligible:

Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium or Liechtenstein.

The full terms and conditions for this free shipping option can be found here, in the German Amazon store's help section.

Delivery and shipping time generally takes around three days, even with the standard seven day shipping. The typical shipping costs for all the European Amazon marketplaces tend to be between 5€ - 6€, so it’s well worth shopping around and making a price comparison.

Refunds

If you have returned an item to Amazon before, you already know how the return process works - it's identical across all of the Amazon stores. Basically, you need to print or request a return label (depending on the seller) and return it to the sender.

The time it takes to receive your refund is subject to the seller's refund terms. For this reason, we recommend that you check out the seller first, including their refund terms and whether they're an FBA or MFN seller. The difference between the two seller-types is described below:

  • FBA - This seller pays certain fees to receive the world-class Amazon fulfillment service. All of their products will be stored, dispatched and processed by Amazon.
  • MFN - This is a third-party seller that will ship their products directly to the customer and provide all customer service (without going through Amazon).

Are the Taxes and Customs different?

The listed prices across the European Amazon stores does include the applicable tax rate for the country. But, since VAT (Value Added Tax) rates vary for each European store, the total price may change slightly once the tax rate for your country has been calculated during the Checkout.

Note that the local tax rate is only calculated for items fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) - when buying from a third-party seller (MFN) the user/customer has to claim the tax rate directly from the seller.

Thanks to the EUCU (EU Customs Union), there's no additional customs/import tax when shopping across the Amazon EU stores.

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