Amazon is making a push to globalize its e-commerce service after it added a new international shipping feature to reach more than 100 countries.
The core Amazon service itself is still limited to a handful of countries — primarily the U.S., Western Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Singapore — but the new feature at least makes its mobile apps usable for those who live in other countries and want to buy items.
Now, by switching to this new international shipping mode, customers in markets where Amazon doesn’t have a local presence, can see products that can be shipped to their location. The app will also calculate additions such as shipping and handling costs and import fees.
This isn’t entirely new. I’ve been buying from Amazon.com since the company launched, first when I lived in France, then, in the past five years, from the UK. I often buy books, which can be a lot cheaper, even with shipping charges, and CDs (though generally only big box sets).
What is new is the ability to pay customs duties in advance; the company has been doing this for a few years, though you can’t ship everything overseas. It can be cheaper to buy from Amazon.com, and pay duties, than to buy certain products in countries where competition isn’t very strong.