How to Sell in Europe - Printful Q&A Sessions

Hi guys, my name is Marianna I'm a Content Marketer here at Printful.

And here today with me I have Nora, who’s also a Content Marketer.

And she's going to tell us about

the basics of selling in Europe.

Because as you may know, last year, in the summer of 2017,

we opened a brand new facility in Europe in Riga, Latvia.

And that means a host of new opportunities for us

and a brand new door into the world of European ecommerce.

So Nora, take it away.

Yes, the first thing you want to remember about ecommerce in Europe

is that it's not quite as established as it is in the US.

Right now we have the UK, France and Germany

as the top players.

But other countries are getting there

and their rate of growth is steadily growing across the board.

It's a good idea to get started now

because you can kind of get in on the ground floor

and grow with the trend

before it gets a little too crowded and competitive.

That's kind of what Printful did

and why we decided to open our facility here.

We wanted to help European customers

open their ecommerce stores

and to also give our existing customers access to a whole new market.

First things first, when it comes to selling,

you have to decide on what products to sell.

So let's talk about products a bit.

Does this new European facility mean that everything

that's fulfilled in the States

is also going to be fulfilled in Europe?

Not quite,

although it is our long-term goal

to offer all of the same product categories

in both the US and in Europe.

And we're getting there, in the past year we've added

posters, socks, phone cases...

The product selection is definitely growing,

but for our current products

we won't be able to offer all of the exact same models and brands

that we have in the US.

That's because not everything is available

or reliably stocked by our suppliers here.

So moving forward,

every time we add a new product, like t-shirts, for example,

we want to make sure they're available both in the US and in Europe.

Because we do want to narrow that gap

and we want people on both continents to have access to all the same products.

But for our existing models,

it's just not going to be possible for every single one.

Is there any way to check product availability for Europe?

We have a landing page

where you can browse all of our product categories.

It'll be included in the description below this video, so check it out.

It's updated regularly

whenever we have a new product category added.

We have a team of merchandisers

that every month will look at different products,

that we can add,in new colors and sizes.

If you also look at our

Products & Pricing page for any specific product,

you can filter whether it's stocked in the US and in Europe.

So you can see which colors and sizes are fulfilled where.

Remember that we do ship worldwide,

so even if you do see a model that you want

that's not stocked in Europe,

that doesn't mean you're out of luck.

It just means it'll be shipping from the US instead of Europe.

Okay, so we ship worldwide.

We ship to Europe.

But is there any way I can make sure

that an order, which is meant for a customer in Europe

is also fulfilled in Europe?

Yes you can.

We recognized this was a pretty big need early on

when we launched this location

for customers to be able to use it effectively.

So if you go to your store settings, you can check this little box.

And what that does,

every time you get an order for a product

that we have available in Europe

and it's going to a customer in Europe,

we’ll always fulfill that order in Europe.

So if a situation comes up,

where we would have previously automatically routed it to the US,

instead of routing it, we would put the order on hold.

And then you can decide what to do.

So for example,

if the product is temporarily out of stock in Europe,

we would then hold the order.

And then you could decide

whether you want to switch to an alternative

that is available in Europe,

you could route the order to the US anyway,

you could cancel the order,

you could just wait for the stock to replenish.

It kind of gives you better opportunities

to manage your orders to Europe.

There are two major benefits that we need to talk about

and those are faster shipping times and no customs duties.

Yes, and those are the two biggest benefits to us being in Europe:

no customs and faster shipping.

So previously, before we opened this location,

every time you'd get an order for a customer in Europe,

it would automatically just fulfill in the US.

Because that’s where we were located before.

And then upon arriving in Europe,

it would obviously sometimes incur customs duties,

which the end customer would have to pay and that's never a fun surprise.

So that's why we recommend stocking products

that we have available in Europe

for customers that you're targeting in Europe.

That way the product is fulfilled here in Latvia, in Europe,

and it will not have extra customs duties

when it gets to the end customer.

The second biggest benefit is faster shipping.

So most of our products they all ship between

five and ten business days after fulfillment in Europe,

which is pretty fast but it's actually often a lot quicker.

So for example,

we can ship to Sweden and the Netherlands

in just two business days after fulfillment,

which is a huge bonus.

Because customers these days expect fast shipping,

they want to order their products they want to get them now,

and this helps you better manage expectations.

And we updated our tracking, didn't we?

Yeah, we added International Express Mail With Tracking

So basically

all orders that use this tracking method within the EU have tracking.

We want to expand that to Europe and Asia

so more destinations have tracking with their orders as well,

but for now, it's just the EU.

Do note that the carrier requires a phone number for delivery,

so if you do want to add this to your store

then make sure you have an area

where the customer can fill out their phone number during checkout

or this option won't show up on your store.

Well we've talked about the nice stuff and we’ve talked about the goodies,

but let's talk about something a tad less exciting.

Nora, can you tell us about VAT?

I sure can,

this is kind of the biggest obstacle or the elephant in the room.

When people are thinking about targeting Europe

they don't know how to deal with VAT.

It's confusing, it definitely is.

I'm not gonna talk about what you need to be doing for your store

and whether you should be charging your customers

It's best that you talk to an accountant to kind of sort that out.

But I will talk about how it works on Printful’s end.

So VAT stands for a value-added tax

and it's kind of like sales tax, but in Europe.

So just like we charge sales tax

for orders going to California and North Carolina,

we are required by law to charge VAT on orders that we fulfill in Latvia

and that are going to an address in the EU.

We don't add sales tax to orders that we fulfill in the US,

it's just orders that we fulfill in Latvia

and the rate that we charge depends on the destination.

So we have a 20% VAT rate for orders going to the UK

and 21% everywhere else.

That's because we're located in Latvia,

we're primarily registered VAT payers in Latvia,

and 21% is Latvia’s VAT rate, so that's the default that we charge.

If you are a registered VAT payer and you're charging your customers VAT,

you can submit your VAT ID to us and then we would charge a 0%VAT rate.

Except for orders to the UK and Latvia because those count as domestic orders

and we always have to charge VAT there.

So again, VAT is kind of like sales tax.

A couple of the biggest differences

is that we charge VAT based on our Printful prices

and sales tax is based on the end retail price that you charge.

And VAT is also always added to shipping

and with sales tax, it depends on the state.

Okay got it.

Let's talk money a bit more because money’s fun.

Any other money-related suggestions that you can point out?

Yeah, you'll want to charge your products to Europe

in the currency that you're selling it.

So for Europe that'll probably be the Euro or the British Pound,

but you definitely want to charge your store in a currency

that's comfortable for the end customer.

So that means you want to do your market research,

look up what prices are competitive, what your competitors are charging.

You also don't want to convert directly just from US dollars to euros.

You want to make sure the euro that you're charging is a nice, round number.

Is there anything else you can do to make your life easier in general?

You can, if you're really serious about targeting the European market,

one thing you can do to make your life a little bit easier

is to open a separate store for Europe.

That's because you can sell, for example,

your specific products on this one Europe store

and other products on your USA store.

You can charge the euro currency in your Europe store.

If you're also liable to charge VAT sales tax

then you can charge VAT on one store and sales tax on the other,

because not all platforms let you charge both tax rates in one go.

It's a little bit of extra set up in the beginning

but it'll make your life easier in the long run

if you have a separate store for your Europe customers and Europe products.

Awesome, well thank you, Nora. Thank you very much.

I hope you guys found that useful,

feel free to leave a comment below

and let us know if you'd like to see any more of these lovely Q&As in the future.