Things to Know About Selling on Amazon Canada

selling on Amazon CanadaThings to Know About Selling on Amazon Canada

 

While this guide is primarily written for Canadians who are looking at selling on Amazon Canada, US sellers who want to list and sell on Amazon Canada would benefit as well.  I just want to hit a few important points for you to consider.

How is Selling on Amazon Canada Different from Selling in the US?

The market is a lot smaller.  While my fellow US sellers enjoy dozens of sales every day, I think a good day is more than 10 sales! Our market is about 10% of the US market.  And it’s not just population numbers, Canadians just have not yet embraced buying everything online the way that American’s have.  This will hopefully change as the product catalogue expands.

The margins are bigger.  While I may have fewer sales in number, I do make more money on each sale.  Here in Canada we just do not have the same selection and availability of product.  So we charge more, sometimes a lot more.

The competition is less.  This of course will change over time but generally speaking, when I go to list a product there will be no other FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) sellers, and at most maybe one or two.  What’s more, the existing seller on the listing will more than likely be a US MF (Merchant Fulfilled) seller who is charging a crazy amount that I have no trouble competing with.

The shipping is a killer!  In the US, Amazon has a deal with UPS and so US sellers get a sweet shipping deal.  I am currently using Flagship (please mention this blog if you sign up with Flagship) but also check out Shiptime.ca especially if you are a Costco member.  For more info, I wrote this article on shipping. My first shipment cost me $7 per item to ship!  But now I am able to keep that below $2 per item.

Huge Update for Shipping to Amazon Canada FBA! 

Exciting news (March 2016).  Canada now has the same deep discounted shipping via UPS that they have in the US!  The price is amazing and now about 75% less.  I am saving probably $100 a week or even more.  After you approve your shipment in Seller Central, choose the Amazon partnered shipping.  You will get a UPS prepaid label as well as the usual Amazon FBA label (on the same sheet) for each box.

Once you have completed the shipment, log in to UPS.ca and create an account and schedule your pickup!  You can also drop off to your nearest UPS location if you prefer.

Your dollar and my dollar are not the same!  I am adding this paragraph in the summer of 2015.  If you are a US seller you need to know that our Canadian dollar is at historic lows.  If your payout from Amazon is $100 Canadian, you will only get $70ish.  Be sure to factor this in to your price. (Update Winter 2016.  Sorry now you only get $60 bucks for that $100 payout)

The ranks are kind of meaningless.  This has been an interesting learning experience.  When I was a newbie to selling on Amazon Canada, I was watching a lot of US based you tube videos and reading US based articles.  So I would make decisions based on their recommendations and the product would sit and sit.  At some point I realized that our product base is so much smaller than in the US.  So a toy with a rank of 40000 might be a good seller in the US, but here in Canada I need to be looking at toys under 4000 rank.

An item with no rank is not necessarily a bad thing.  In the Canadian Amazon marketplace we have so many products without a rank.  When I was new I avoided those like the plague.  But now I know that rank is only 1 piece of the purchasing decision.  Many of these items without a rank have only one or two sellers, usually from the US.  For example a Collector Hot Wheels car was listed for over $2000.  The item had no rank of course because who would ever buy it at that price!  I paid $3 for that car and listed it for $29 and it sold.  Then I sold 2 more at that price and now it has a rank.  This is an extreme example but I run into this issue several times a day and I no longer hesitate to list an item with no rank, as long as it is a product with a solid brand.

You will need to be comfortable creating a listing from scratch.  Again, this is because our Canadian catalogue is so small and we have fewer sellers.  I have to create brand new listings almost every day.  I actually really like doing it because I have more control.  A bad listing might never get seen.  New listings absolutely must have good keyword use in the Title, bullet points, Description and the Keyword tab.  I rely on my keyword tool jaaxy for this, but even some basic common sense is better than what I see on some listings.  For example there was a Valentine Gift Basket that did not have the word valentine anywhere on the listing and did not come up in the search results when I was researching valentine.  I came across it when I searched for chocolate.  Dumb!

What if I am a Canadian and I want to Sell on Amazon.com?

Shortly after I wrote this article about selling on Amazon Canada, I ventured over to Amazon.com and started sellingsell on amazon from canada product there.  I was absolutely blown away by the increased sales velocity!  It’s worth the smaller margins because you sure make up for it volume.  And I have now discovered that if you can source out products are hard to find in the US, the margins are huge along with the sales velocity.

But the biggest hurdle that we as Canadians face is that darn border!  Every single day I get questions from fellow Canadians wanting to know how to get their products into the US.

Luckily, fellow Canadian seller Duncan MacPherson has written a guide for us that has all the information that I wish I had 2 years ago!  He tells you what all the options are and about the forms, really everything you need to know!  All excuses are eliminated!

You can order his book right here!

Other things you can read

I have written other articles that are geared to newbies.  These apply to would be Amazon sellers from any country:

Book Recommendations

I would say that the biggest jump I had in my business is a result of further education.  I am one of those people who is willing to pay for more information/education because I know that I will earn that money back in the form of a bigger better business.  Any time I am stuck I either buy a book, get extra coaching, join a focused group, pay for a course on that subject.

I am most impressed by this series of books written by Chris Green, Arbitrage, Retail Arbitrage and Online Arbitrage.  If you can only get one and money is an issue, then get Arbitrage, it is only about $10.  The insight provided? Priceless.  Then as soon as you are able, buy the other two books.

I can also recommend Silent Sales Machine by Jim Cockrum, having recently read that one.

Best of luck in your new business!


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46 Responses to Things to Know About Selling on Amazon Canada

  1. Milena says:

    Great points! Much appreciate the valuable information for us fellow Canadians!

    • anitabreeze says:

      Milena, you have what it takes to do this because one thing that I already know about you is that you stick with things! Thanks for reading my stuff! 🙂

  2. Joanne says:

    A very good overview of how selling on Amazon Canada is like! Thanks, Anita.

  3. Lesley Stevens says:

    I really should read that book by Chris Green. His personality if I’m being honest really disgusts me. I just cant take a huge ego, but when it comes to retail arbitrage I do believe he is an authority. One of the things I love about Robin from Pajama Affiliates and I know I always say this but its true, is her down to earth personality.

    You are rocking the Amazon FBA Canada girl, you are truly blessed!! I believe that you’re going to be an authority one day in this area. I do believe the Canadian market is going to grow too the more sellers that jump on this bandwagon. I have a nephew in Canada and he always tells me that the selection is limited there but I think that’s going to really change in a couple years.

    • anitabreeze says:

      All that you say is true. The ego is huge but so is his knowledge and the $10 book is worth it’s weight in gold. And your nephew is correct in that the selection is limited, which is exactly why selling on the Canadian platform is so profitable. Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. Love all the great tips you have here.I need to spend some time looking at what I need to know when I want to do US – Canada sales.

  5. Don says:

    Finally someone is writing content about the Canadian market. Great information. I looked at selling in the US but decided since I’m Canadian it would be easier to sell here. You mentioned above that you were able to get your shipping costs down. I’m assuming that you are just selling on Amazon but shipping the products yourself? Or, am I missing something? I’m looking forward to reading your other articles.

    • anitabreeze says:

      Thanks Don for visiting my site and your comments! I am dabbling in products from China as well and plan to write about my experience. My biggest problem is that Amazon keeps me too busy to write as I’m also working a day job! Again, thanks for visiting!

  6. Fred says:

    Hi Anita. Would you recommend Jim Cockrum’s “Proven Amazon Course?” for selling on Amazon Canada?

    …Or should I simply go with the books you referenced?

    Thanks.

  7. anitabreeze says:

    Hi Fred. Actually yes, I would recommend that course. It covers soooo much. I bought it and I still have not even scratched the surface. Pros: Lots of information and they keep adding to it. Cons: LOTS of information, can be overwhelming. So for the money, you keep getting more info. I’m a book person, so even though I have PAC, I also like to read something in my hands, I guess I’m a bit old school!

  8. Kim says:

    hi,

    I am Canadian from BC and I am wanting to sell my handmade crafts through Amazon Handmade. I am starting to second guess this though because it is only in the US and there seems to be alot of headache to the process. So I am now thinking to try out with Amazon.ca and sell as an individual first and see how I do and then switch to the Fullfillment program when it seems worth it to do. Can you tell me if that sounds like a good idea? I have never sold online at all. I am new to all this.

    thank you,

    Kim

    • Anita says:

      Hi Kim, I don’t have a lot of experience with handcrafted items. That program is new and they are doing it to compete with Etsy. You might want to look at Etsy or talk to someone who is using the Handmade program.

  9. Kim says:

    also is insurance needed to sell online?

    • Anita says:

      I think it’s always a good idea to have insurance, but not sure about the rule around handcrafted items. If this is a product that you put on your skin (like a cream) or something injested then more chance of liability.

  10. Lori Lou says:

    Just wondering if you are selling in the Usa amazon.com ….or you just doing Canada?…….. im Canadian and JUSt starting with amazon. i have done some MF for usa and some on canada. ………and just dont know what direction. If i should ship to fba in the states

    • Anita says:

      I do sell in both countries. It just really depends on your goals, how much time, etc. It’s probably easier to talk to me in the Facebook group (the link is at the top right of this blog).

    • anitabreeze says:

      I am selling in both countries! Both have their pros and cons.

  11. Steve says:

    Looking to start an Amazon FBA business and I live in Canada and am contemplating selling on .Com vs. Ca. It would be easier starting with .CA since there seems to be much less competition even though demand is lower. You mentioned the BSR, so are you saying the BSR is not a good indication of how much units/day an item is selling compared to .Com? If so, how exactly would you determine sales without this data, aside from costly trail/error? Thanks!!!

  12. Marcus says:

    Hi Anita,

    Great post. Lots of good info for us Canadians. I recently started a Facebook group for Canadians selling products FBA. Would love it if you – and others – would consider joining this growing community and share your experiences. There have been some great discussions so far. The name of the group is “FBA for Canadians selling on Amazon” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/asdqdqfwdsxsdfvsdf/)

    Cheers!
    Marcus

  13. Corey says:

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for updating this post. I was looking at FBA a year ago but at the time I was discouraged by the barriers that Canadians face while doing business online. I think it’s time for me to get my feet wet.

    • Anita says:

      Best of luck to you! I am selling on both .com and .ca, they each have their good points and bad points, but you just need to start.

  14. Khaled says:

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for this post! very helpful!
    I saw your March update about the UPS discounted shipping in Canada, and couldn’t find more info online so I called seller central Canada, and they told me that there is no such thing.. Do you have any reliable source for this info?

    Thank you again

    • Anita says:

      LOL, yes my reliable source is the UPS box located right on the Seller Central shipping screen that I have used now several times. Costs me about 80% less than what I used to pay! Get your shipment ready and as soon as you approve the shipment and are ready to select how you are shipping, there is a new box there now called UPS Discounted shipping, just click the box.

  15. Jim Walker says:

    If a product is purchased from my Canadian Amazon affilliate website by an American in the US, (my ads are seen in the US) is it fulfilled by Amazon Canada or Amazon USA? I am not talking about FBA. Just the Amazon affilliate program. I am signed up as a Canadian Amazon Affiliate. Does some how the order go through the US affiliate network and I get paid in the Canadian affiliate network?? OR do I need to be signed up with the US Amazon affiliate network? To be clear does that mean I can ONLY sell to Canadians and should not advertise in the USA?
    Thank you

    • Anita says:

      This is an interesting question. Because the majority of my traffic across all my websites is from the US, I signed up as an Amazon affiliate for the US market. My understanding is that I will not get credit for any sales outside of the US unless I use a link localizer plugin. I am just researching this issue now. If I find an answer, I’ll update my comment here. In the meantime, I suggest you analyze your traffic and see where it’s coming from.

  16. Maya says:

    Hi Anita,

    Great articles, I took some tutorials on how to sell on Amazon, but it’s USA based. I am just wondering does Canadians need to have a business license to sell on Amazon.ca? How would I claim my Taxes?

    • Anita says:

      No you can sell as an individual and just be sure to declare all income from all sources on your Canadian taxes.

  17. Kami says:

    I already have a sellers account on Amazon.com and noticed my product being sold on Amazon.ca at a ridiculous price. I want in. So I went to Amazon.ca and went to add the product. When I did, it brought me back to my normal Amazon.com screen.

    • Anita says:

      Ask Seller Support to set you up with the North American unified account. Keep in mind that difference in the dollar however and also Canadian shipping costs. Might still be worth it.

  18. Kami says:

    I forgot to mention, I am a US citizen, wanting to sell on Amazon.ca

    • Kami says:

      By contacting Amazon, I was able to easily figure out (tiny flag icon on s USA seller homepage) how to change to Canada or Mexico to add product.

      • Anita says:

        oh great, that means you already had the North American Unified account. Just be sure to calculate in your exchange rate and the higher Canadian shipping costs. Good luck!

  19. Montaser says:

    Hey Anita, great article. I’m glad I found this. I’m really keen on becoming a seller on amazon. I was wondering if it’s possible for you to offer a course. Sometime in the future.

    • Anita says:

      well thanks, but I’m a little busy being a seller. Which is why I took so darn long to find comments here and answer them. Sorry about that!

  20. Xandra says:

    Hi Anita,

    I’m from Quebec, I was wondering if selling on Amazon.ca is worth it for me since our taxes are so high in our province ?! And do I really need to purchase a course to proceed ?! Btw, I did alot of research lately and I randomly saw your post, it’s great. Thank you for sharing your knowledge ! – Xandra 😉

    • Anita says:

      Sorry, I somehow missed this comment! No, I’m guessing you can find lots of free info on youtube and blogs out there to figure it all out. Selling on .ca is not as lucrative as selling on .com for anybody really. If I could do it all over again I would head straight to .com.

  21. jon says:

    Hello I am an international seller, I want know if there are any services for International Amazon sellers that deals with product returns?, such as items that are return back to Amazon.com from Customers. Is there any service that can help inspect the returns, and list items on Ebay and sell it for me as a service? As of now our return inventory is sitting at a U.S. warehouse. Thank you.

    • Anita says:

      Most of the prep and ship companies will receive your returns and inspect them. Not sure if they would list on ebay. I would love to find a company with this service myself!

  22. Barry says:

    Which hot wheels car did you buy for $3 and sell for $29?

  23. Barry says:

    Shipping in Canada is brutal! I just paid $16.82 to ship a book from NS to Ontario!

    • Anita says:

      I know, this is why I prefer FBA. We get those nice cheap UPS rates from Amazon and they worry about shipping it out.

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