Private Label Compliance for FBA Sellers: Going Global

There is a huge opportunity globally to expand into private label in new marketplaces.

First, CA and the US are only 24% and 17%, respectively, in percent of private label market share. That is a HUGE opportunity, when compared with locations in Europe, which are 32-46%. But, much more exciting is the very low private label penetration in other very large and up and coming markets where Amazon’s FBA program can help you take your products global.

While it is relatively simple logistically to take your products global, there are a few compliance issues that you will run into that you will need to keep in mind. Product packaging and labeling, local certification and testing requirements, and maintaining customer safety records when the complaints come in in the native language of the country where you’re selling. There are, of course, other legal considerations such as local trademarks, differences in duty rates and Customs paperwork, and ensuring you meet local liability and warranty laws, that are outside of the scope of this blog post. Working with a professional who can pull all these details together for you, taking care of the translations and interactions with local agencies can help to greatly simplify your way to going global.

Product Packaging and Labeling

The US has one of the simplest mandatory labeling requirements in the world. Also, if you’re reading this, you speak and understand English, and packaging for the US is thus relatively simple for you. If you take your product to China or to Europe, or even north or south in North America, you will need to have your product packaging and any inserts translated.  Packaging is required to meet toxic chemicals regulations in Europe, and there are also recycling fees you are responsible for as an importer. Ensuring that your packaging is made of recycled cardboard is the best way to reduce your eco-fees.

Local Certification and Testing

Other regions often have not only more stringent regulations than the US, their regulatory agencies are often much better funded to enforce their product compliance regulations. Products that have wireless functionality, for example, only need to have the certification number on US Customs paperwork, but you may be required to provide a copy of the actual product testing for an import into France. Some toys going to China can take 3-9 months to get certified. Some locations have strong enforcement at the local level as well, such as Ontario, Canada – you can get your products into Canada, but then the Electrical Safety Authority can order you to remove your goods from sale unless you can prove that the product is certified for sale in Canada.

Customer Safety Records and Reporting

If you’re going global with Amazon, then you have a built in benefit, which is that Amazon has a great community program to collect customer feedback. However, you will need to work with a professional to report customer problems to regulatory agencies in the appropriate locales where you’re selling your goods. Additionally, you may be proactively contacted by regulators and need guidance in how to respond to those regulatory bodies. In most locales, you are required to report whenever there is a reported problem from a customer (such as exploding glass vases, or adapters lighting on fire), and this is made more difficult when the review is in another language. You can have these reviews monitored for you by an experienced person who knows which kinds of issues should be reported and which issues only need investigation.

If going global is the next step for your successful private label products, contact me to get started!

About the Author
Rachel Johnson Greer is a global business strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs increase their internet product sales, curate their brand image online and avoid catastrophic legal threats. After getting her MBA in international business at Seattle University, she spent nearly a decade at Amazon working in product development. Since then, Rachel has founded companies that reached both multi-six figure and multi-seven figure growth in under three years.

As a business coach, she supports clients in everything from international product expansion to 4x-ing their sales through online retailers. Rachel is frequently sought out by the media and has appeared on the Today Show, CNBC, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. When she’s not working with clients, she’s scaring friends at parties with stories about the most problematic online products she’s found in their homes. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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