THE PREPARATION: Point of departure
Merlin’s Amazon business had already been rather successful in Germany. “I always wanted to have Europe as well, but I could never tell how much I would really make with that.” Amazon offered him support in the form of a personal account manager and Merlin started researching service providers for handling taxes in other countries. “Since I’m already storing my goods in Poland and the Czech Republic, I know what it means to register your taxes there, and I have to pay my VAT there every month. This always sounds like not much, but everything you have to do every single month is annoying.”
Service providers for handling pan-European taxes wanted several hundred Euros per month and per country for tax declarations, full commitment to start selling on all marketplaces immediately – and Merlin would’ve had to still do money transfers by hand. This didn’t seem like the right thing to do: “I realized that this is only worth it if I make really big sales, and so I kept putting this off.”
Amazon kept advertising the PAN EU program, however, until Merlin turned to fellow sellers. “I posted in a Facebook group and asked if there was any other option that allows you to automate payments and to also test the waters a bit.” That’s how he got in touch with SPACEGOATS.
“I immediately thought the entry fee at SPACEGOATS was a lot fairer”, says Merlin. Because aside from expensive service providers, as a seller doing PAN EU directly with Amazon, you usually pay 1,000-1,500€ of basic fees from the very beginning – plus you need to put in a lot more effort.
THE TAKE-OFF: Needs and aspirations
Selling his products across Europe was all Merlin wanted – “without having to deal with all the administrative stuff… Five, six tax numbers, tax consultants in various countries, transferring money in different currencies, some kind of problem occurring all the time…”
Just like many other sellers, Merlin refrained from joining Amazons PAN EU program due to these reasons: “It felt like a huge mountain of work in front of me that I really couldn’t be bothered with.”
Another concern arose over time: Securing. “This is now a huge topic for me!”, Merlin says. About two years ago, his account got blocked for a while due to alleged ASIN manipulation – because he sold products as a set instead of individually. “I know how you start sweating when all turnovers are suddenly breaking off overnight.”
THE SPACE(GOAT) TRAVEL: Development at SPACEGOATS
Since his pan-European sales are handled by SPACEGOATS, this risk is non-existent. And what if his German account that he’s still running himself, gets blocked again? “Then I’d just sell everything with SPACEGOATS.”
In any case, PAN EU with SPACEGOATS has become an important part of Merlin’s business. After some initial chaos in the warehouse due to different FNSKUs – the ones for his own account and the ones for SPACEGOATS -, he now uses EAN codes and lets SPACEGOATS relabel his products for the European marketplaces.
Aside from that? “We only have luxury problems such as being sold out or selling too much too well. That’s why we’ve been focussing on stock management for the last year or year and a half.” With that, he’s getting help from a software that he discovered in the SPACEGOATS slack community.
This is his favorite side effect of working with SPACEGOATS anyhow: “I used to be a bit lonely before, I ran my business myself with my wife. My ‘normal’ friends didn’t really understand what I was doing in the first place.”
With SPACEGOATS, he had a real community for the first time. Usually, you’d have to pay several hundred Euro each month for these kinds of closed groups on Facebook or Slack – or you receive access only after a coaching or training that costs several thousand Euro. At SPACEGOATS, access is all-inclusive for customers and everything profits: “If there’s any problems, everyone is helping each other.” Merlin also benefits from the diversity of the group: “There is a huge variety of people, businesses, and age groups.”
THE EXPERIENCE: Satisfaction with SPACEGOATS
“The amazing thing about Amazon or online businesses in general is that you can automate many processes.” With SPACEGOATS, automation became even easier and more scalable for Merlin. “That’s why I can now focus more on the things that really help me get somewhere, which is finding new products, ordering samples and testing them.” The “rat’s tail” of tax regulations, invoices and more completely disappear from his workload.
Every few months, an Amazon account manager will call Merlin again. “Then I decline with thanks and say that I’m already with SPACEGOATS. Then they also don’t have any argument left against this.”