With 13 Amazon marketplaces available to sell on, the potential is there to tap into a huge audience and expand your ecommerce business. But one of the key things to success is knowing how to corner the nuances of each market, whether it’s with the copy you write for your listings or how you communicate with foreign buyers. FeedbackExpress has what you need to know to get started.
Amazon’s influence can be felt across the entire world, with marketplaces in the following locations:
- United States
- United Kingdom
And within those 13 marketplaces, there are close to 200 fulfilment centres, more than 180 countries of Amazon shoppers, and over 30 categories. Those are big pies to get a piece of! Here’s how to do it.
Research Local Cultural and Buying Habits
To be able to sell to foreign buyers, you need to understand how they think and what they want. Research the local customs, whether it’s something as broad as the popular TV shows or slang or something narrower, like how the Japanese, Swedes, Finns, Germans, Canadians, Middle Easterners and Muslims remove their shoes before entering a house.
Once you’ve got a decent idea of what each marketplace entails, it’s time to start thinking about your inventory. Are you going to go with your existing line, or introduce new items? Do you want to dip your toes in with just one product, or many? What is the popularity of your product ideas in each marketplace, and how do they relate to cultural/political norms? Do your products fall within each marketplace’s regulation guidelines? And are your items compatible with each marketplace’s electrical requirements?
With a product list in hand, your next step is keyword research. For example, ‘sweaters’ and ‘sneakers’ are popular North American keywords, while ‘jumpers’ and ‘trainers’ would be your UK equivalent. Using the right words can help create a better selling relationship with foreign buyers.
However, that being said, it’s a good idea to stick to simple, professional language and skip the slang in your product descriptions. Unless you’re 100% confident that the idioms you’re using are correct, you risk a cultural blunder and buyers not taking you seriously.
And if you’re not fluent in another language, avoid the temptation of using Google Translate. As good as it can sometimes be, it’s not yet perfect. You’d be better served by hiring a native speaker to do the writing for you.
For your product descriptions, stick to the same basic formula:
- Keyword-relevant titles
- Bullet points for easy readability
- Longtail keywords/keyword phrases in the product description, whether you choose to briefly talk about the product or go into greater depth
- Miscellaneous keywords in the search terms
- Excellent, high-quality photos
Getting Set Up to Sell Internationally on Amazon
Here’s where the technical part comes in: actually being able to sell in different marketplaces.
Step 1: Register a New Seller Account in Each Marketplace
There are two approaches:
- North American or European Unified Account: This type of account lets you register in just one participating country, then grants you access to the other marketplaces at no extra cost. For example, if your seller account is in the United States, you’ll get access to Canada and Mexico at no extra cost, only having to pay referral fees on each sale.
- Individual Marketplace Account: If you’re not ready to branch out just yet or if you want to go the other way and sell in countries not included in a unified account, then you’ll have to set up a selling account in those countries.
Step 2: The Information You Need to Register
- Business name (in Japan)
- Phone number and email address
- Tax information (it’s also a good idea to read up on tax and import regulations of each marketplace)
- Bank account information
- Valid credit card
With that in hand, you can either manually create listings or use the Expand Offers Internationally (EOI) tool for batch uploads. It’s also a good idea to use the Building International Listings (BLI) tool on Amazon so you can manage offers across marketplaces. It links the home SKU with the target SKU so you can automatically update prices based on the settings you input. Another integration that can really help you is RepricerExpress, which will put in place pricing rules across 11 Amazon international markets.
Step 3: Inventory Management
You’ll need a way to keep track of what’s in stock across each marketplace, with two different approaches you can take.
- Marketplace-Specific SKUs: If you use FBA for order fulfilment, use FBA in one marketplace and FBM in another, or manage warehouses in each country, then inventory management with marketplace-specific SKUs is the way to go.
- Global SKUs: Although you can’t use global SKUs with FBA, they’re good to have for North American or European Unified Accounts. They show you how much stock is available through the entire unified marketplace, such as 500 t-shirts in Canada, United States and Mexico (this means 500 t-shirts in North America, not 500 for each country). When you sell one unit, the total goes down, giving you 499 t-shirts to sell in Canada, United States or Mexico.
Step 4: Currency
It’d be great if the whole world had one currency, but they don’t so you’ll need to make use of Amazon’s Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS). This allows you to receive payments from foreign buyers in their native currency, but have it deposited in your account in your own currency. Keep in mind that Amazon takes about a 4% fee for this service.
If you think the fee is too steep, you can either set up a bank account in individual countries or hire a third-party service to convert currency for you.
Step 5: Taxes, Customs and Duties
Different countries have different taxes, customs and duties, and it’s really important to get everything right. This is something that’s learnable on an individual level, but we recommend hiring a professional in the field. There’s so much technical and specific information that the chances of getting something wrong or taking time away from other areas of your business are just too high.
Deciding to sell internationally on Amazon will be a little bit easier than when you first got started because you already have selling experience under your belt. And because you’re at the step where you’re thinking globally, you already know how important reviews are. Using FeedbackExpress gives you the best chance of success. If you’re not already using it, sign up today and enjoy a free 30-day trial.