Currently, British tabletop publishers and board game companies can send a stock of their products to a warehouse in the UK and use the retail giant’s Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) to ship sales of those books and games to customers anywhere in Europe.
On the 1st of January, 2021 Amazon will prohibit the practice and require British sellers to also use a warehouse in Europe.
As a result, British games companies will incur costs and will have to split their stock between the UK and mainland Europe, meaning that a game can be sold out in the UK but still sitting in a warehouse across the Channel.
The changes are happening because of Brexit.
David Jinks of delivery company ParcelHero explained;
On 1 January, the UK will leave the EU’s 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 has to plan its systems months ahead and has obviously opted for the worst-case scenario and decided EU and UK sales need to be kept entirely separate for now.
Amazon will be highly reluctant to see a build-up of UK sellers’ stock in Europe during December. That will present a red tape nightmare in January, when some stock is inevitably returned.
The e-commerce giant says crisply: ‘FBA offers using EFN will not be fulfilled across the UK-EU border.’ EFN is Amazon’s European Fulfilment Network; currently, it’s the Amazon easiest service for UK sellers to use in order to reach EU customers. EFN allows UK-based sellers to fulfil orders from any Amazon European marketplace using just one Fulfilment Centre, such as the UK. UK sellers can create listings on Amazon’s EU marketplaces but fulfil those orders using UK stock. Items are shipped directly from the seller’s UK warehouse. 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.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.