Your thriving Amazon enterprise has made substantial headway, generating substantial revenue. It's high time to consider: can you transition from a successful domestic operation to a dominant international Amazon brand?
Many Amazon sellers confine themselves to their home market, bypassing the immense potential of global markets. It's like leaving money on the table.
Amazon Global and FBA have paved the way for sellers to transition from domestic to international, but the perceived complications—language barriers, compliance issues, and more—deter many. Statistically, about 80% of Amazon US sellers have less than 10% international sales.
However, here's the twist: traversing the global market could be simpler than you assume. Ecommerce Masterminds brings you a comprehensive 5-step checklist for global domination via your e-commerce venture.
Step 1: The Preliminary Stage – Analytics and Patterns
Hold your horses! Before progressing further, conduct a thorough market analysis of your product's demand in foreign countries.
Market Size Evaluation
Suppose you're a beauty and personal care brand and planning to export your Vitamin C Serum. It's crucial to ascertain the market size of this product in other countries on Amazon—a basic yet crucial step many sellers often overlook.
Next, evaluate the competition you'll face in these new markets. It will provide a realistic revenue projection and allow you to compare your ratings and reviews with competitors to gauge potential market share. It'll also provide a benchmark for your pricing. Remember, each market's competitive landscape will differ.
The recent Amazon algorithm change, which now considers star ratings along with written reviews for ranking, works in your favor. It means your reviews and ratings can transcend national borders, retaining their impact, and meaning for your listings, despite language differences.
Market Trends Consideration
Before venturing into international markets, assess the market trends. Despite favorable numbers and market size, various factors can affect your return on investment.
Consider your product's relevance in these locations—is there a demand? Your bestseller in the US might not resonate in another market. Conversely, a mediocre product in the US might become a sensation elsewhere. Conduct a thorough regional market analysis and understand your competition.
Step 2: Regulatory Compliance: Necessary Yet Daunting
Regulatory compliance might seem overwhelming, but early research can save substantial time and stress later. Understand the local regulatory prerequisites for your business and ensure that your products are compliant.
Ensure your product is permissible for sale! It's essential that your products meet local regulations—it's not as simple as attaching an international shipping label to your US products. This is particularly important for cosmetics and consumables. You might need to create market-specific packaging or even reformulate the product to meet local regulations.
Sellers must comply with local laws and regulations, which include:
- Packaging: Different markets have varying legal requirements for product details, logos, certificates, etc. The claims permissible on a product in the US might not be valid in EU countries and might require modification or removal.
- Product Ingredients/Contents: Especially crucial for cosmetic sellers, as ingredient restrictions vary by region. It's worth researching if your product ingredients are permissible where you intend to sell.
- Legal: Local legal representation is crucial, particularly for certain product categories like cosmetics, electricals, or consumables, which require local representation to address consumer issues or requests from authorities.
- Business Insurance: Though not mandatory everywhere, the US marketplace requires sellers to carry business insurance.
Step 3: Creating Your International Account
Setting up an international Amazon account is surprisingly simple. Before you begin, get all your documents in order and ensure you are compliant with any territory-specific additional requirements and regulations.
For a seller account in the relevant country or region, you will need:
- A valid credit card
- Phone number
- EU VAT number, if applicable
- Bank Account (valid in a country and currency in line with Amazon’s policies)
- Your EIN number (for US sellers)
With a North American Unified Account or European Unified Account, you’ll be able to manage the Europe and North American regions all from one account.
The tax registration varies with the region:
- Europe: VAT Number
- US: W-8- BEN (Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for U.S. Tax Withholding)
- Canada: GST/HST Registration Number
Remember to check the specifics in other countries!
Step 4: Logistics Planning
While planning your global expansion, do not overlook the need for a storage facility. Even if you opt for an FBA model, you need to plan the product's journey to Amazon before fulfillment.
Consider the following options:
- Direct Shipping to Amazon: This cost-effective method involves shipping directly from your manufacturer to Amazon, though it risks compromised quality control.
- Warehousing: Although pricey, this option offers flexibility and might be worth considering for larger businesses.
- Third-Party Logistics: A popular choice for multi-market Amazon sellers, this option provides flexibility and cost savings with the right shipping partner.
Step 5: Tailoring Your Product Listing for the New Market
Success in an international market hinges on tailoring your product and listings to each territory.
It's worth investing in a professional translation service for your listings, including the title, description, images, and packaging. Consider local search terms and employ market tools to analyze customer keywords in your target market.
Terminologies vary, even among English-speaking territories. For instance, a 'dish-soap' in the US might be 'washing-up liquid' in the UK.
Step 6: Augment Sales with PPC & External Advertising
After the initial groundwork, it's time to ramp up your sales.
Leverage Social Media
Engage with local influencers and communities to build brand recognition. Consider platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Collaborate with local influencers for product promotion. Positive reviews on social media can boost traffic to your new listings and increase your rankings.
Support your listings with proven optimization tactics like driving external traffic through paid ads, optimizing Amazon Ad campaigns, continuously refining your keywords, and more. In essence, replicate successful practices from your home country in the new market!
Mastering the international market is a recipe for success. It requires thorough research and a robust expansion strategy from launch to sustained sales.
Taking your Amazon brand international isn't a decision to take lightly, nor is it a process to rush into. It requires careful preparation, extensive research, and strategic planning. As you delve into new markets, remember that each brings its unique challenges and opportunities. Understand the consumer behavior, market trends, and regulatory landscape of each territory you enter, and tailor your products and offerings accordingly.
This comprehensive guide provides the foundational steps towards making your Amazon brand an international success. Though there might be unanticipated hurdles along the way, the potential for growth and the promise of global brand recognition makes the endeavor worthwhile.
Here's to your global Amazon success—good luck on your journey to new horizons!