Ryan Cramer walks through his perspective on where international e-commerce is headed and how sellers can take advantage of the growing seller momentum around the world.
At Viral Launch, we constantly hear from Amazon sellers who want to take their business to the next level. The option to sell internationally on Amazon is a low-risk, high-reward opportunity that’s being underutilized in the seller community.
Why is selling internationally such a promising proposition? Follow the Data host Cam Yoder chats with Ryan Cramer of PingPong Payments to find out!
PingPong helps e-commerce businesses sell worldwide by providing international payment solutions. Since 2015, more than 600,000 e-commerce merchants have entrusted PingPong with their cross-border payments, resulting in more than $10 billion processed for global sellers.
With experience in sales, marketing, and e-commerce, Ryan expertly explains the benefits of going global and how you can take full advantage of growing seller momentum around the world, so you can expand your business as Amazon continues to grow. Don’t miss out on growing with Amazon international!
Get familiar with what PingPong does for sellers and Ryan’s extensive background in e-commerce (0:12)
Ryan lets us in on his professional journey to PingPong Payments and how it fits in with his goals. With a background featuring a steady mix of sales and e-commerce, Ryan provides an insightful perspective on where those fields overlap.
Ryan, on how he sees international fitting into the typical Amazon seller’s strategy (10:39)
Quietly, Amazon has been steadily expanding around the world. As e-commerce continues to grow at different speeds globally, it allows yet another way for Amazon sellers to scale their business. Ryan breaks down why it’s worth keeping an eye on international opportunities, and why it should be on the minds of current or prospective sellers.
With Prime shipping, Amazon changed the way we buy online in the U.S. Is changing the way the world buys online up next? (12:57)
The future of selling is closer than it may appear. Amazon is rolling out programs to provide the same revolutionary two-day shipping program in its international marketplaces. For many U.S. sellers, the idea of selling internationally can seem quite foreign. Ryan lets us know about these programs, what they may mean, and why now may be the best time to take your business global.
So you want to sell internationally. What are the prime marketplaces to target? (15:57)
While selling internationally might be easier than you think, there certainly are important decisions to be made before getting started. We discuss the importance of locating emerging markets, understanding cultural differences, local habits, and more aspects to consider before taking your business abroad.
More money is being poured into buying Amazon businesses than ever. What does this mean for the traditional Amazon seller in the near future? (23:14)
With millions upon millions of venture capital money going to companies that buy Amazon businesses, are the days of the traditional Amazon seller numbered? Ryan doesn’t think so in the slightest and believes it’s actually a great opportunity for more traditional sellers.
Lastly, a huge thanks to Ryan for coming on the show and sharing his knowledge with us!
Check out PingPong to save a LOT of money if you sell internationally!
Don’t be the last to know! Subscribe to our email list to receive the latest Amazon news to stay informed on all things Amazon.
Many sellers have been awaiting the launch of Product Discovery in global markets. Well, the day has finally come! Just like Market Intelligence and our Launch platform, Product Discovery now allows you to find international products in the following countries:
We are also on track to roll out other international markets in quick succession, including:
With international markets now enabled on Product Discovery, you can easily select the market you are wanting to compete in from the top menu. Just look for the location drop-down menu on the top right of the screen, and select your preferred marketplace.
Once you have selected your market, some of the language inside the tool will change. For example, when looking for product ideas in the German marketplace, the category names will appear as they do on Amazon.de. Likewise, if you are searching by Keyword, the keyword results will be in German.
This is where being able to quickly transition to Amazon becomes really handy. If German is not one of your primary languages, you won’t be able to tell what the product is or even what category it is in. Click the View on Amazon button for the products whose metrics look most favorable to you, and give yourself a few tabs to explore.
Validate International Product Ideas
Once you’re on Amazon, use the Market Intelligence Chrome extension to get the most up-to-date star rating for the product as well as historical information about how the market is trending. You can also see sales trends, price fluctuation, and market averages for revenue, sales, price, reviews, and star rating. While Product Discovery helps you find products, Market Intelligence will help you to validate, or invalidate, that market.
Market Intelligence provides data and insights for international markets including the following: UK, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
Launch In International Markets
Viral Launch also offers international launches in the following marketplaces: UK, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, and Spain. Coming this year in 2018, we will also offer launches in Japan, India, China, and Mexico.
The opportunity to expand into international markets at this point in time is incredible. While you can certainly expect the cash flow from these markets to be less than Amazon.com, getting into a market early is a huge advantage. You can begin gathering reviews and building sales history to establish your product as the go-to product for your market before competition increases.
Additionally, we currently offer all international launches for free, with the exception of UK launches.
With Product Discovery, Market Intelligence, and our Launch platform all integrated with international markets, it’s never been easier to expand your business.
Ready to find and source your next international product? Create a free Viral Launch account and sign up for Product Discovery with international capabilities today!
In this episode, we field a few questions from our listeners. Being your own boss and running your own business is an incredible part of being an Amazon seller. But navigating the Amazon space all alone can be hard, and reliable information can be difficult to find. How does Amazon really work? What are the best strategies? Join host Cameron Yoder and producer Becca Longenecker to find out.
Want to be on the show like today’s listeners? Have your own story of entrepreneurial success? We’re working on an episode that features our listeners! Leave us a voicemail at (317) 721-6590 with stories or questions about your Amazon business.
Being your own boss and running your own business is an incredible part of being an Amazon seller. But navigating the Amazon space all alone can be hard, and reliable information can be difficult to find. How does Amazon really work? What are the best strategies? Today we field a few questions from our listeners to help you make sense of it all.
I’m Cameron Yoder, your host for Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success. In this show, we leverage the data we’ve accumulated at Viral Launch from over 28,000 product launches and our experience working with 6500 brands to help you understand the big picture when it comes to Amazon and, more importantly, the best practices for success as an Amazon seller.
In today’s episode, we’re hearing from you and answering your seller questions. There’s an awesome variety of topics and some great content here for those of you who are just getting a product into FBA or who are looking to refine your selling process to make your business more profitable. Let’s jump in.
[fade out intro music]
Hey, I’m Becca Longenecker, the producer for Follow the Data, and I’ll be joining Cameron in today’s episode. Before we get started, I just want to give a huge shoutout to everyone who has called in and left us a voicemail, everyone who has subscribed, everyone who has left us a review, and everyone who has listened so far. There are a lot of podcasts out there, and we feel really honored to be one of the ones that you choose to listen to.
Yeah, Becca’s our producer, and she gets to listen to every episode all the time, even the stuff, the content, that we don’t get to put into the episodes. And so I’m psyched to have her on the show, welcome Becca.
Thank you Cam. So at the end of every Follow the Data episode, we encourage you all to call into our voicemail box and leave us a message with your Amazon questions or responses to the show. And we’ve really enjoyed hearing from you, so today we’re going to play a few of those voicemails for you and answer a few of the questions that you all are asking.
So let’s play the first voicemail response.
And then we’ll go from there.
LISTENER #1 JOHN:
Hey, my name is John Farrell. I’m actually I’m new to selling on Amazon. I just listed my first private label product, and I think this is a question for myself, but I think that it could serve well for a lot of people who listen to your podcast and may be new. So basically to get my product ranking—and you’re saying that sales history is so important—so what I’m doing is I just listed my product last Monday, so it’s been exactly a week since I listed it, and I did 3 sales a day for the first week, and now I’m upping it to 5 sales a day for the second week, and then 7 and then I’m going to do a blast on Viral Launch.
But I’m having difficulty in … I’m getting a lot of different answers regarding … because my product isn’t … it’s still too new, it isn’t showing up on any pages of search results for any natural keyword terms. So what I’m doing is I’m having people. I’m I’m sending them to I’m sending them links to the product to buy from the link and hoping that you know one of these days, it’s just going to pop up on one of the pages, and then I can have them buy naturally by sending them the keyword and they can search through pages search for my product and buy it.
I’m not even sure if that’s the best way to do it. That’s what some people are telling me. I want to get your feedback on that as well as I wanted to know when I should expect to start having results as far as all when I should start showing up naturally on the pages for keywords, and if it … taking this long is you know not normal, so that’s that’s the question. I have for you guys. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Yeah, so that’s a good collection of questions and situations from John. And there’s a lot of … there’s a lot there, honestly, to go over. And so starting out, if you haven’t seen the podcast episode where we talk about sales history, I recommend going back and checking that out after this podcast.
So John, one of the first things that he talked about, and maybe one of the first things we should go over is the fact that his listing wasn’t necessarily active right off the bat. And we don’t necessarily have data to show that this happens for every single person that opens a product on Amazon. But from what we can see, that is a normal occurance for you to … let’s say you create a listing on Amazon, right? So you buy the product from like Alibaba, and then you create a listing on Amazon, and you create a listing on Amazon, and then you ship the products into FBA. And once those products get into FBA, a lot of people will think ‘Oh, well I can just start selling immediately and start ranking immediately, but in some cases the … when you search for your product, just through the normal search function on Amazon, it doesn’t pop up. And so there seems to be this period of time where maybe it’s going through Amazon’s system, or whatever, where it takes a little bit of time for it to load into Amazon and for you to really be able to … not even to … you don’t necessarily have to wait for that to gain sales because you can send people a direct link to your product, like John talked about. But when it comes to something like keyword ranking, and you can’t even find your product when you search a keyword, that’s probably not the best time to do something like a launch.
Yeah, um next Cam do you want to talk about the part of his question where he is talking about how he is giving away 3 units and then 5 units and then 7 units, and he’s kind of doing this … like building up sales velocity—a term that we’ve heard people talk about a lot—and in that Sales History / Sales Velocity episode that we did, you guys kind of try to explain that. Maybe you can go over that again?
Yeah, so really when it comes to a brand new seller. This is less important. But when we talked about the comparison of sales velocity to sales history it’s sales history that matters more, right? So if you have been a seller for a long time, and you’ve built up a pattern of a bad sales history, you’re going to have a harder time launching, or ranking on a page for a specific keyword and sticking there. On the other hand, if you have a positive sales history, so if you’ve been selling for a decent amount of time, and your sales have been pretty good, then the … let’s say you launch on to page 1, you’re going to have a little bit easier of a time sticking on there because of your positive sales history. In John’s specific case, he’s talking about a very early strategy of kind of messing around with low numbers of sales velocity and increasing them, like within a week’s period of time. For John’s case, that’s not super important. Like that, honestly it probably wouldn’t make a difference, if you were to space it out like that. What matters more, what matters more in this case, than incrementally spacing out sales from specific people, what matters more in John’s case is keyword ranking, right? Which he might not be able to do yet because his product is not available to see yet to everybody. And more than that are getting reviews, getting his initial reviews. Like if I were to talk, if I were to sit down with John and talk about what to do first, I would say when you’re product goes live on Amazon, you need to get reviews in place.
Well, even before it goes live, right?
Yeah, yeah! Even before. Like in John’s case, he should get reviews.
Even when it’s not showing up in search.
Right, even when it’s not showing up in search. Even when he can’t do something like a launch to increase keyword ranking because he can’t show up in results. Getting those reviews in place is really going to solidify his social proof so that when he does go live, then he can perform something like a launch and get to the front page and have that social proof there and ready to go instead of just having no reviews in place.
Going back to that incremental change. I just wanna make sure this is clear. So I think a lot of people think that the incremental change is what Amazon wants to see—they want to see that you’re sales number, your sales volume is growing. But actually Amazon’s just more concerned with how high your sales volume is. So it doesn’t have to be incrementally changing over time, if you right off the bat can get that sales volume up and you can match the sales volume of your page 1 competitors, you can climb in the rankings.
We’ve actually seen this and we’ve talked about this. Casey and I talked about this a little bit before. But there’s this small period of time, this grace period it seems like, when your product goes live for the first time. Or actually newer products, if you funnel a certain amount of traffic through it, at the very beginning, Amazon seems to take preference to that. It’s kind of like, Oh, you’re a new product, and you’re preforming really well at the beginning, so we’ll reward you. And in some cases, people can achieve ranking quicker and or stick on page 1 longer if they perform a launch right off the bat. Again, with that social proof in hand though. So with that … that’s a combination of good photos, good reviews, good price, all those things. But all those things combined together, really if you’re an early product it might be good to perform a launch if you have all those things in place right away.
That’s pretty cool.
So I just want to summarize again because there are a lot of points in there that are important. But so when you’re thinking about sales history, it really is not that important if you’re a new seller. It matters if you’ve been selling for a little while and you have bad sales history. That’s gonna negatively affect your ability to rank and stick on ranking. If you have a good sales history, that’s good. If you’re new, you don’t really have a sales history yet. You just need to make sure that you’re not building a bad sales history, a bad reputation.
Alright, let’s move on to the next message.
LISTENER #2 DANIEL:
Hey, my name is Daniel Metz and I’m recent listeners to the show. I just listened to the episode about the Amazon reviews, and what I think is going to probably happen is that the reviews that you see will be weighted. Based on 30 days or 60 days or 90 days something like that, but they will still have access to like lifetime reviews just giving a greater weight to the more recent ones and that the actual star rating in order to be more accurate will reflect a more recent time frame as opposed to all of the reviews over the entire life of the product offering. I’m a recent user. I’m just now doing my first Viral Launch, and I really appreciate the company, just the the way the company is run. In comparison with all the other companies, and so just wanted to call and let you guys know. Thanks. Bye.
Thank you Daniel for that affirmation. We have really tried to differentiate ourselves in the space and to be a legitimate resource for sellers in a market where there are a lot of proclaimed solutions that don’t actually deliver on results. We have been and continue to be super customer-centric, results driven, and innovative, and it’s really encouraging when people recognize that. So thanks.
Daniel’s call was about the episode that we did on the future of Amazon reviews. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, I would definitely encourage you to go back into our feed and give that one a listen. Cam and Casey talk about the way that Amazon reviews are now and how that could potentially be bad for sellers in the future, and what they think Amazon will do to change that.
So the concept is, if you’re new to selling, and you’re trying to sell this awesome new face cream, and everyone else has like 12,000 reviews, it’s going to be almost impossible for you to compete. So we discuss that and what we think Amazon is going to do.
Yeah, so that sounds like a definite possibility, Daniel. Casey and Cam throw out the idea of a weighted system in that episode as well, and it seems like a great way to go for Amazon. I also think you’re right that they’ll probably have to allow sellers to keep the lifetime reviews for their product. I think they would probably get a lot of backlash if they tried to take down legitimate reviews. Although, they have taken down reviews in the past. But yeah, I think you’re probably not far off with your prediction.
Let’s go on to the next question.
Hey guys appreciate you guys doing this. I’m a new seller. My question for you guys is really about launching, so I have a new shipment coming in. It should be within like the next 30 days month or so, and I’ve been reading through Facebook group try to figure out the best strategy to get things started get a launch going. So I know you guys do launches, but I’m also seeing a lot about running sponsored ads doing those at the same time, a little bit confused as to really what I should do, so if you guys could give your best advice on sponsored ads, running at launch, how those compare. Yeah, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.
That’s a question that we see actually a lot. So the question is, basically, how does PPC compare to a launch, or to running a targeted giveaway.
So PPC, or for those … or sponsored ads … payed per click advertising, PPC, is when you see those sponsored ads at the top of a product search, those top couple of products, they’ll says sponsored, and those are a way to get your product in front of people for a specific keyword and drive sales through that keyword. So it’s basically functioning the same way as a Viral Launch. With a viral launch you pick a keyword to target, and then you put that product in front of a buyer group at a heavily discounted price. And the sales that you get from that discounted product promotion are going through a targeted keyword. So with sponsored ads and with a product launch, you are getting those sales attributed to a keyword, and that’s the really important aspect of a launch and for sponsored ads as well.
So they’re both trying to accomplish the same goal. However the main difference for something like an effective launch or PPC is, honestly it’s time.
Yeah, so the reason that we do a launch the way we do, where you’re discounting your product so heavily and putting it up on this buyer site is that we have … you know the buyer site has over 100,000 people subscribed who are checking in daily for deals, and with a heavily discounted product, you can move a lot more product. So you can have, you know, 10 sales a day or something like that whereas with PPC you might see 1 sale per day, 2 sales per day come through a specific keyword. And so the purpose of a launch really is just to get that volume because you can move up through the ranking so much quicker.
A launch is simple. A launch is an attempt to match the sales of top sellers for a specific keyword, right? And with our launch platform and with other giveaway platforms, if you can funnel all those sales through a 7 day or 10 day period of time, that’s gonna be more effective than just throwing money in the air and hoping. PPC just takes so much more time.
And with PPC you’re usually targeting a handful of keywords all at once, and with a launch it’s just really really specific, and you’re just going all after that one keyword.
So it does depend on the market that you’re in and the keywords that you’re kind of trying to rank for. A lot of people also ask if they should do PPC while they’re doing something like a launch, and honestly the answer is … well it doesn’t really hurt. At the same time, I know people who very effectively only run launches. So they take all the money that they would be spending on something like sponsored ads, which can be expensive, and they put it towards a launch, and if they drop in ranking, then they just run another launch. Monetarily for them, just looking at the numbers, it makes more sense with the keywords that they’re trying to target. Some people will do a launch and PPC, but basically a launch is going to be more effective. It’s going to be your base line.
The other thing I guess to say about PPC is, one way that it can be really helpful is to target a whole bunch of keywords or do those auto campaigns through Amazon and then you can figure out which keyword your product sells the best for or converts the best for. And that can be a good way to find a keyword to target on your product launch.
Yeah, that is a good method that a lot of people use. It takes some time to get, but if you’re not sure about what keywords to target, it can be a really good option.
Alright, moving on to our next voicemail.
Hey Casey and Cam, so I’m a fairly new seller in the Amazon game, and I had a question for you guys about selling internationally. I heard that it’s pretty easy to go over and sell internationally because the markets aren’t as strong and developed in the US, but I’m kind of wondering is it really worth it for me to go and sell international because I’m so new and so fresh in the game should I just spoke with my efforts on US or is it worth it to try international right out of the gate? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks guys.
So that’s a tough one. Cam, what do you think about going international right away?
Being completely honest, honestly there are 2 arguments here. I know sellers in both. I know sellers who have succeeded in both. First off, nothing is as easy as it sounds, so people often say, Well yeah, I’ll just start one of those Amazon businesses and launch it and it’ll be just super easy. I’ll make tons of money. But if you as an Amazon seller think back to the first time, whether you were using a course or not, I’m sure somewhere along the line of you starting your first Amazon business, or your first product, selling your first product, you thought: Hey, this is much harder, or some degree harder than I thought it would be originally. But international is a different game than selling on Amazon or is just different than if you were to try to sell outside of the United States. So my first response to this listener is that you need to establish what your goals are. What kind of numbers are you shooting for? How much effort or time or energy do you want to put into this? Because that could determine if you want to stick with your home country, where you’re most comfortable, or not. You also want to do more research on international markets and the US market. So for us, we use Market Intelligence and with that we’re able to look at sales numbers in Europe, sales numbers in the United States and market trends as well, and almost across the board, the numbers in the United States completely beat out the numbers in other countries. Now, you have to keep in mind the barriers too. So one of the biggest barriers in the United States is going to be competition. So just because there are a lot of sellers here. There’s a lot of traffic. So obviously if there’s more traffic, there’s going to be more competition. That’s the biggest barrier. And if you’re going international, then some of the biggest barriers are going to be something like language barriers—the copy for your listing—culture barriers—understanding how people are buying, different selling licenses and laws, transferring money back to your home country.
BECCA: On that topic: we have a podcast episode with World First from a couple weeks back that you should go check out. We talk to Lucy Marshall, and she kind of explains who they help Amazon sellers at World First transferring their funds back home.
If you haven’t listened to that and you’re an international seller, give that a listen. All that being said, there are some barriers to entry to consider, to really consider. And it all depends on what your goals are. Overall, start small, and once you feel confident in your ability to sell, then maybe maybe consider going international. But all that being said there’s still a ton of opportunity here in the United States.
Well hey guys that is all for this week. Thank you so much for joining us here this week. Again, I just want to iterate, we really do love hearing from you guys and all of these were questions that we’ve received from you and that we’ve been hearing in the space, and so it’s honestly just really good to hear feedback, but it’s also good to hear questions that you have at the same time. So I’m gonna give our number here. It’s (317) 721-6590. We absolutely would love to have you call in and give any questions or feedback. We would love love love to feature you on the show.
For more insights and reliable information that will help take your business to the next level, subscribe to the podcast and check out the Viral Launch blog at viral-launch.com. And also check out our YouTube channel. We’re really … we’re shooting for a lot of content in 2018. I’ve said this before, but check out our YouTube channel, we’re doing a weekly walkthrough of Product Discovery right now. It’s kind of like a course. And you’ll see those videos. They’re called Fireside Chats. You’ll see those videos under the playlists that we’ve created. And you will also see my face in those.
Don’t forget to rate the show and leave us a review on iTunes. That helps me out with my job. Your feedback helps all of us here at Viral Launch cater our content for you as the listeners and it helps other people find the show as well. We also want to say that we really appreciate everybody who has left a review and has given us feedback so far, and a special thanks to everyone who we featured on the show today who called in with a question.
Again, thank you guys so much for listening. We are looking so forward to putting out more content for you. Feel free again to reach out in any way. Until next time remember, the data is out there.
Amazon Europe is as big as Amazon US. Could going international be the next great move for your FBA business? Join Viral Launch CEO Casey Gauss and co-host Cameron Yoder as they talk with Lucy Marshall from World First about incredible opportunity that is Amazon international and how to make the most out of overseas earnings.
Want to be on the show? We’re working on an episode that features our listeners! Leave us a voicemail at (317) 721-6590 with stories or questions about your Amazon business.
Hey, everybody. Cameron here with Viral Launch. We’re here in Austin, Texas, recording a special episode. Today we are going to talk about internationalization, and it’s internationalization involved with a company called World First. And we’re going to get into a lot of different things today involved with internationalization. But for now I guess I’ll just pass the mic around the table for some introductions.
Hey, guys. Casey here. Yeah, hopefully we can bring you guys some decent value as you look to expand internationally. Or maybe you’re an international seller looking to sell in the US. Or maybe you already are. We just want to help make sure that you are being as efficient as possible, making sure you have as much capital as possible to drive success behind your business.
And hi, I’m Lucy Marshall over at World First. I work on our e-commerce team here working with sellers directly to help them take advantage of new marketplaces and have worked previously for private label brands, so kind of understanding from both the brand perspective and the payments international end of that, how to make your brand successful overseas.
So like Casey touched on a little bit before, we’re trying to provide value for you, whether you’re expanding into international markets, or you’re thinking about expanding into international markets, or just even with your consideration in expanding your private label business in general. We’re going to talk a lot today about kind of everything having to do with those ideas. Part of that will be really having Lucy here explain what World First is and how sellers can prepare for something like expanding into international markets when it comes to what World First provides. So let’s get started.
Lucy, can you explain, just to everyone, give a basic overview of what World First is, like just simple as that?
Absolutely. So what we are is an international payment solution, and we work with corporations and e-commerce sellers to help them send and receive money globally.
We were founded in the UK back in 2004, and really our founder was working at Citibank and kind of saw an opportunity in the market for small- to medium-sized businesses to get better rates for their FX transfers. And that’s kind of blossomed the idea of World First and really being able to give those businesses better access to better rates than some of the larger banking platforms were. Our e-commerce solution really started coming into play in 2007 and coming truly to support the US market in 2014.
Now as we stand about to roll into 2018 we’ve worked with over 40,000 e-commerce sellers with offices worldwide. Whether you’re selling, you know, in China, Japan, Australia, UK, EU, US, Canada, we’ve got someone there to support you and really make sure your business is a success in that market.
So let’s say a – because you don’t only deal with private label sellers and Amazon, right? Like it’s businesses involved with international transactions, in general?
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean outside of Amazon itself, we’re compatible with 72 marketplaces globally, so it’s not strictly Amazon. Additionally, if you’re a company with an entity in the US and EU we’re able to send those funds back and forth. If you have suppliers overseas you need to make payments to, we can facilitate those payments as well. So it’s not strictly online businesses, but truly any business that needs to make payments or receive payments globally in different currencies.
So if a private label seller on Amazon comes to you and says – well, is just interested in what you do, what would you tell them, like specifically for them?
So for them what I would say is we’re an international payment solution that will allow for you to set up receiving accounts worldwide. The benefit of being a private label business is you’ve worked to build this brand. Let’s say you want to take that brand to the UK without actually having to make an entity in the UK. We’re able to set up a receiving solution for you so that that way you can receive pounds or receive the local currency and send it back to your US account at about half the cost of what a marketplace would charge. So we’re automatically adding about 2% to your bottom line without any opening fees, monthly fees or closing fees, and it allows for you to move your money from those global markets worldwide.
So we talked – now that we, I think everyone kind of has a pretty general understanding of what World First is and, or where you guys came from, let’s touch on just internationalization in general, right. So can you tell us from your perspective and World First’s perspective, what are the advantages to selling internationally?
There are so many. I am like the world’s biggest advocate for selling outside of the US right now because I think there are so many fantastic opportunities even just looking at different selling opportunities. Like you’ve got Boxing Day in the UK, and that’s not something we have access to in the States. There is Singles Day in China. If you start selling in the new Australian market that launched you have seasonality, so if you have a summer product in the US and you want to sell that in Australia during the winter you have that opportunity to sell that worldwide. And so for me those are all those advantages, and especially taking advantage of newer markets, it’s less competition. It’s more opportunity. And then even with exchange rates, if you’re selling in the UK it’s often a higher price point, and so you’re getting more return as you’re converting those funds back and those sales back from the UK.
Yeah, and building off of what Lucy is talking about, you know collectively – I think we’ve said this before – but collectively the Amazon EU is just as large as Amazon US. And like Lucy said, so much easier to drive success in these markets because competition is so much lower. Obviously there are some hurdles there, and World First is helping you kind of step over some of those. But there is so much opportunity international. We’re super bullish on internationalization and, you know, making sure you’re selling everywhere as much as possible. Amazon is really pushing Amazon EU markets, and so like, you know, Amazon EU is like getting into Amazon US two years ago, maybe three years ago, where competition is just a fraction of what it is now, and you get to essentially ride that wave of success as Amazon continues to grow their dominance in these markets. And so you know, we actually, here in Austin, at Capitalism Conference with Ryan Moran, we actually just met these two guys. After apparently eight months of taking Amazon successfully these guys just reached the $10 million mark.
They’re killing it.
Which is absolutely insane, while going to college – one of them is going to college. And they don’t sell in the US. They’re only selling an international Amazon markets because there is so much opportunity. You know, one of the guys was saying just by the fact that they have a Spanish speaker write their listings for Amazon Spain they’ll get ranking because their keyword structure is so much better. Their listings are so much better written because they have – one of them is a native Spanish speaker. He’s from Venezuela. And he’s just able to write really great listings, and that allows them to rank. So competition is just like, you know, a shadow of what it is in the US, but the opportunity collectively is the same.
And they have a slight advantage over people in the US having grown up in Europe and kind of understanding the European market. That being said, that – I think their story really shows that’s a very tangible thing to tell you guys that hey, the European market, or the worldwide market is very much alive. Obviously that’s a lot of good opportunity that is there, and they’re not even selling in the US market.
Those guys are super smart guys. Like they were going to Dartmouth, and then now he’s going to Cambridge studying mathematics and finance. So they are very smart guys.
It’s not like you can just pull a trigger and it just like magically happens.
But there’s huge opportunity, for sure.
Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about the UK market specifically. So if someone – let’s say you have a seller in the US who wants to sell in the UK as maybe like their first step internationally. From your perspective and from what you’ve seen, what would be like a good kind of tangible first step leading to that?
So obviously I think first step looking into any market is looking how your product is going to perform in that market and making sure that you’re actually going to be able to make sales from that. No one wants to throw spaghetti against a wall and put their product in Amazon FBA and be like fingers crossed, hope this works. So again, I think that’s such a fantastic thing that Viral Launch can help you with and looking at what your product can do in that market. Next steps from there are a little bit more admin. Like do you have your VAT numbers, which is value-added tax? And Amazon has really been cracking down on that in the past year. I think the stat was they lost out on $1.28 billion in VAT fraud from Amazon sellers specifically not necessarily paying it. And so the UK government has been really upset with Amazon, which means Amazon is like yo, you’ve got to get your VAT numbers in because we will shut down your account. So getting those set up, making sure you have those implications in place ready to pay those taxes. Our service specifically can help you make those payments so that way you’re making a pound-to-pound payment and not having to bring those pounds back to dollars and then send the VAT payment in pounds again.
Next steps from there, shipping, and then translating your labels and your listings if you are private label and selling on those markets. Luckily UK is English-speaking, so not a ton of leg work there. A little bit of localization to make sure – let’s say if you’re selling pants, they become trousers on that marketplace, making sure things are finessed a bit to that space.
I really think – well, there’s one area that I see a lot of people focus on when it comes to money, and that’s tax. Like a lot of people, when they think about expanding internationally they think oh, all I need to do, all I need to do is have my taxes, my tax system set up and set in place. They don’t often think about having like a bank set up –
– right? Or this money transfer system set up in place. Do people need to have, need to have or should have like a bank set up in like the UK, or is that something that –?
You don’t necessarily need to have the banking account in the UK, and this is truly where our service comes into play, right? Like if you’re opening a physical bank account you have to pay fees, you have to have a business over there. You have to have a physical entity and then be paying taxes to that country and paying taxes on your business there. If you’re opening an account with us the beauty is we’re able to collect those funds in one of our virtual accounts. You have the banking and routing number and everything that goes along with that. And if you’re choosing to just use a marketplace to manage your FX transfer, they’re typically transferring that at a much higher rate, and they’re doing it biweekly, so that’s not giving you any control or transparency as to how or when to move your funds. If you’re using a platform like ours we can collect the funds, and then you have access to a platform much like your online banking platforms where you can facilitate a trade. You can watch the rates, be aware of what rate exactly you’re moving your funds at, and then we’re usually coming close to cutting those rates in half, so saving up to 2% on your bottom line. So if you are selling, say, 10,000 pounds a month, that’s saving you $200 on your transfers coming back. So that’s not a small fee by any stretch. And again, as you continue to grow your sales that becomes a much bigger chunk of your sales that you should be getting back because you’ve put in all this hard work to get to new markets. Make sure you’re taking the most home from those markets.
Is there a simple way to explain like, okay, let’s say we have a seller in the US again who sells in the UK. What does a simple process look like to get that money back into the United States? Like can you break that down a little bit?
Yeah, the flow of funds you mean?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, so what – right now if you were a US seller selling into the UK you would be putting your US bank account into that space. You would put our routing account numbers in there, and that’s in the name of your business. So Amazon now deposits funds into that account, and then we move that back when you’re ready. It’s either an automatic transfer, or you can transfer that online when you’re ready to. If you are a rate watcher and want to see, hey, I saw this go up to, you know, 1.3 today. I’d like to do it at that rate. So there’s really no difference in terms of timing or flow of funds. It’s just Amazon deposits to us, and then we move that back to your US account.
Okay. What do you see as like maybe the number one or maybe even top couple mistakes that people are making when it comes to like, I don’t know, money transfer and/or sales internationally?
It’s a complete lack of awareness. I think really one of our biggest hurdles as we’re talking to new sellers is they’re not aware that this FX transfer is occurring, and they’re not aware of what rate that that’s happening at. So to me if you’re not watching your bottom line as a seller, like that’s a problem. You need to be making sure that you are getting the most of your sales home. So we’re able to kind of calculate that, and you can look at, say, a daily rate of when Amazon’s transferring your funds and then you know, dividing that by the amount you’re getting back. And usually you can figure out what that daily rate is and through a percent change calculation see, oh, that’s roughly maybe like 4% of my bottom line. And that’s not necessarily super competitive. And also you have no control over it, so that stinks, too. Like you should be in charge of your own money and how and when that’s being moved back.
Talking about like money saved, right, because this – so this whole process, the goal is to really help sellers save money through a process that maybe they’re not even aware of.
How – do you know how much a typical seller will save after like becoming aware of something like this and getting involved with these transactions?
Yeah, and typically that depends on size of the seller, how much you’re moving back. But I would say on average, again, if you’re at that 10,000 pound mark we’re saving about $200 on every transfer. So that’s kind of our best rule of thumb. Obviously if you’re selling like 10 million pounds or something in that range yearly that’s a much, much bigger number. So that does vary depending on the size of the seller and how much you’re bringing home.
Yeah, and so how long does it take to set up this whole World First process?
It’s super easy. It’s really only four documents that we need to get you set up. As long as those come in we can have your account set up in a matter of hours, and then the accounts are able to allocate immediately. We have RMs, relationship managers, in-house that can walk you through where and how to put this in on Amazon so everything is done correctly, it’s Amazon-compliant, and then they will walk you through your first trade as well. So it’s really helpful to actually have a voice on the phone and someone to actually talk to rather than, you know, screaming at a computer. I feel like we all do that enough in our day-to-day lives that don’t have to do it on the banking end of things as well.
Yeah, so I mean just to break it down, I know everybody’s always so crunched for time. I mean apparently, you know, this is something that you can do in a matter of hours, let’s say, at the most, and you will save hundreds to thousands of dollars a month, which just really adds up over the course of a year, especially when you’re talking about being able to purchase more inventory, get a little bit cheaper rates on your inventory, so you save more money there. And you can – it really just compounds. And so as long as it’s quick, 2% really adds up, especially when you start getting into volume and you add that up over time.
Right. This is something that not many people know about, especially when it comes to international stuff. I think one thing that is kind of at fault with US sellers is just awareness with all the systems in place, like in VATs. And the story of the guys that we talked about before, the thing about them is that they, again, grew up in that area. And so they definitely have – they’re smart guys, number one, but number two, they do have a pretty good understanding of the space and the area that they’re in, which is Europe. And that definitely has an advantage. And so being aware of something like this, as well as being able to save money to put towards your other resources, like something like this is something that not a lot of people are aware of that we want to provide value to you by making you aware of or having you be aware of it. So Lucy, talking specifically about World First, what unique perspective does World First offer sellers on Amazon?
It’s really the perspective of smartly managing your finance. I mean we are – we really focus on that payments end of it and making sure we’re creating a solution where not only if you’re selling on the UK, but if you’re selling on China, if you’re selling on Japan, if you’re figuring out how to take advantage of that new Australian market, we want to put the pieces in place for you to be able to manage those different aspects of your business and be smart about it financially. In addition to that we do have a very vast partner network. So if you do need help figuring that out we’re kind of a jack of all trades, masters of none outside of that payment space. So we’re really able to figure out where to connect you there, and I just think there’s so much opportunity outside of the domestic US market to go take advantage of that and then really make sure you’re savvy with both your receiving payments from Amazon, but also paying for, and suppliers paying for, and employees, and making sure you have a frictionless way to move your money globally.
So if, let’s say some of our listeners are even just a little curious about what you’re talking about. What resources would you have for them to even just point them in a specific direction or to get in touch?
Yeah, and there are a couple of different ways. You can just go sign up online. I mean I will give you all my email to post after this. Please reach out directly. I’m more than happy to field calls or answer questions about something. Really our biggest resource are our people. Everyone’s highly educated, not only in the world of FX, but in e-commerce, as well. So I would put ourselves forward as our best resource to do that in addition to, you know, the content we’re putting out on our blog, as well.
Recently we’ve been working not only with sellers that have already expanded to the international markets, but really looking at how we can support those that want to take advantage of it as well. And so we’ve really relied on partners in the field of VAT, shipping, logistics and translation to help kind of those admin pieces of like where do I start to figure out to get my product overseas and get my listings set up and make sure you’re government-compliant with everything that’s happening in the UK and EU as well. So truly I feel like you all are the best first stop for our clients because you’re able to figure out where in the market does someone’s product fit, and will that be successful? And then we can kind of help through the nuts and bolts in terms of figuring out VAT, shipping and the payments piece of it as how you figure out how to manage your global payments.
Thank you guys so much for tuning in. Again, if you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email. We’ll provide all of the content from this podcast in the description.
Savvy Amazon sellers have been taking advantage of Amazon’s global marketplaces for years. With marketplaces in 11 regions, and customers in over 180 countries, Amazon makes it easy to get in front of fresh markets and new consumers. Retail, as we know it, is rapidly developing as consumers purchase more products online rather than in-store. eMarket shows that Amazon is responsible for 44 cents of every ecommerce dollar spent, up from 38 cents in 2016. With this increased growth, more sellers are expanding beyond borders to find less saturated markets and take advantage of exchange rates. The opportunity to sell globally? Massive.
We are now seeing more private label brands and resellers become global market leaders. Brands like Anker manage their own eCommerce storefronts and are relatively unknown in the brick and mortar space. But, by optimizing their listings and expanding their brand across multiple channels, they’ve become a titan on global marketplaces. On Amazon, the UK/EU are collectively the same size as the Amazon.com market. In China, it’s projected that more than a quarter of the population will be shopping for foreign products on eCommerce platforms. For those of you counting at home, that’s roughly 455 million potential customers.
That said, opening your business to new markets means learning how to navigate cross border payments, transactions, and how to bring your international sales home effectively. Not to mention you will have to pay VAT, the equivalent of sales tax in the UK / EU, to the international governments in which you’re selling. It goes without saying, you need an effective strategy in place to manage all of your different currencies, tax payments, and supplier payments to protect your margin selling globally.
Money Forward Contracts
So what do you do? Setting up in-country bank accounts requires an entity in that country, and the process to set it up can be lengthy and costly. Not to mention, the currency exchange rates that you’re getting may still not be competitive. While most marketplaces have a currency solution, you have zero control over when they move your funds and no transparency to the trade rate of their funds. You need a solution that both allows you control over your foreign exchange, and protection against potential volatility in the rates.
Take Brexit, for example. We saw the rates move 10% in a matter of hours, and those using a marketplace solution were at the mercy of the markets. Those who were working with a solution like WorldFirst were able to work with their relationship managers to protect themselves against market movement by booking forward contracts or setting rate alerts. This helped them move their funds back home at a rate they budgeted for. By giving our customers the ability to control their money, we were able to provide peace of mind and the ability to protect their rates.
Amazon International Money Transfers
As global eCommerce becomes more accessible to sellers, it’s becoming easier to make cross border distribution a reality for your business. The only consistency in the currency market is that it fluctuates. While you may never be able to predict which way the market is going to move, World First can help you protect your margins and grow your business globally. We have had sellers experience their business grow between 5-10% in the first year of expanding internationally, and then reinvest the profits in your business to promote continued growth in the international space.
World First USA Inc. can help you pay suppliers, vendors, and taxes overseas. We can set you up with local receiving accounts in the countries where you’re selling, allowing you to collect funds in the local currency and take control of when your funds are transferred. The marketplace transfers your earnings to your in-country account and you can transfer your funds back home. We’d love to help you take hold of the global markets. Register here to get started.
So you want to grow your business internationally, and you think selling on Amazon Germany could be the way to go? You might be right.
Amazon.de is the second largest Amazon marketplace behind the U.S. with about 15 percent of the Amazon international market and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The overall German online market is growing by about 12 percent annually, and cross-border e-commerce sales are growing as well, meaning Germans are warming up to the idea of purchasing from the U.S.
You’re probably thinking Germans are ripe for the picking for a savvy seller like yourself, but before you take the plunge into Deutchland, consider these helpful tips about Amazon Germany buyers and how they differ from their American counterparts.
1. Germans are highly focused on security and avoiding risk
German buyers want to avoid wasting time and money on low quality products, so they will likely do much more research before buying compared to Americans. Not only will they research the product they are interested in, but they will generally research brands, their quality and their reliability. And, if you don’t have a local address associated with your account, German consumers may assume you will be difficult to contact or returns will be burdensome, which could deter them from purchasing.
2. German buyers want to know your credentials
An Amazon Germany customer is searching for more than your statement of reliability and quality. They want factual evidence from 3rd parties, such as reviews from fellow Germans, or certification compliance with German or EU-based institutions. So while your FDA approved product might win over buyers in the U.S., it will mean virtually nothing to most German buyers. That’s not to say you won’t sell anything without a local certification, but depending on your product, your chances of increasing sales with a local certification is high.
3. Germans aren’t interested in your showy marketing lingo
In the U.S., many buyers like to be wowed and dazzled with pretty marketing language when looking at a product. They want to be told yours is the “best”, “greatest”, “most effective” or “the only one of its kind”. Germans are more detailed and fact-driven. They want to know why your product is better than someone else’s with honest, modest facts. So if you think you can simply translate your U.S. listing copy with Google Translate, think again. Not only will the translation likely be poor due to language and phrasing differences, but it may not resonate with German buyers.
4. If a German buyer doesn’t like your product, they will return it
U.S. buyers may return an item if they are unhappy, but if the item was low cost or they think the process could be lengthy, many will just keep the item or throw it away. In Germany, if a buyer is unsatisfied with your product, they’re much more likely to return it and get their money back. And, unsatisfied German customers are much more likely to contact sellers about their unhappiness and/or leave a negative review. In many cases, there’s a greater chance that Germans will leave a poor reviews if they are unhappy than positive reviews if they are satisfied.
Speaking of reviews…..
If you’re thinking about using the same email marketing tactics as in the U.S. to help generate reviews and client rapport, think again. Germany’s email marketing laws are some of the strictest across the globe, and ignoring their regulations won’t just land you with a slap on the wrist, but a fine from the German government.
The bottom line with Amazon Germany and interacting with German consumers is this: do your research and don’t just assume that buyers have the same expectations cross-culturally. Every Amazon marketplace is unique, but if you’re looking for a thriving online market to grow your business beyond the U.S., Amazon.de is a great starting point as long as you take the time to do it well and consider cultural differences.
If you’re concerned about your product selling well on Amazon Germany and are searching for a better grasp of market trends overseas, check out Market Intelligence International to evaluate the market, validate sourcing ideas and provide sales estimates. When you’re ready to take the leap, check out our international launches to get your product visible and sales up and running!
“Going global.” We’ve all heard it right? Maybe one of the biggest buzz phrases in today’s technological world, especially for those in e-commerce.
Although Amazon US is without a doubt the largest, most profitable Amazon market, there is still a wealth of opportunity to be had on Amazon’s international sites, especially in Europe. Below are the top 5 reasons why you should be considering internationalization to Amazon Europe:
1. Expand Your Sales Potential
For starters, expanding into other Amazon marketplaces, namely the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, puts you in front of more consumers. Simple as that. In fact, it puts you in front of potentially 230 million more consumers.
While there are additional costs associated with selling internationally, the doubling in customer exposure and potential increase in sales is undoubtedly worth the price.
Since Brexit, Amazon UK sales have actually increased, and retail sales overall in European markets are on the rise, whereas US retail sales growth has been declining in recent years (more on that later). And, the average UK online shopper actually spends more annually than the average US online shopper, while German online shoppers are only marginally behind the US.
2. Smaller Markets = Less Competition
Another positive of Amazon Europe is smaller markets. You might be asking, doesn’t that mean fewer consumers? While all 5 European markets combined have about the same consumer base as the US alone, the undeniable benefit of each country’s smaller market is fewer sellers.
Of the approximate 2 million active Amazon sellers worldwide, only around 200,000 are in Europe, meaning you will have significantly less competition for the products you sell in each market.
Sellers should consider if their product is one that will sell well in each market. Due to cultural differences and expectations, an item that might be a high seller in the US may not translate as well in Germany or Spain. Or, your product may be called something completely different in another market. For example, in the US, we say “oven mitts,” but in the UK, they say “oven gloves.” So do your market research before you list, but if it’s right for the market, the potential to thrive and make it to page 1 is much easier than in the US.
3. Grow as the Markets Grow
As mentioned earlier, the European online sales market has seen significant growth in recent years. Western Europe has seen a steady average of 12% growth in online retail sales from 2012 to 2017, and Southern Europe has an average of 18% growth each year. The US, on the other hand, has seen a decline in growth in the last 5 years, from 14.8% in 2013 to 12.8% in early 2017.
Sellers have the potential to enter in now as the market across Europe is quickly expanding, allowing their products and their brand to grow as the markets grow. For example, review quantities are extremely low compared to the US.
Back when reviews were this low on Amazon.com, many sellers were able to get into the market early, generate tons of reviews over time, claim market share, and heighten the barrier to entry for new products. As the Europe market continues to grow, market competition will increase, so it’s a perfect opportunity to start building your reviews now. Basically, get in early, before everyone else does.
4. Many Sellers are Afraid of Internationalization
While potentially very profitable, internationalization is a daunting prospect for many US sellers. There are language and cultural barriers, market variations, differences in consumer expectations, extra shipping costs and local taxes, exchange rates, customer service barriers and local regulations.
These factors can seem extremely intimidating, but Amazon is working to mitigate challenges, making it easier for sellers to cross the ocean into Europe, even going as far as allowing certain sellers to apply for an Amazon account manager who can help with European expansions.
Since many are still avoiding the jump across the pond, sellers willing to take the chance have the opportunity to establish their brand and product now, solidifying a buyer base before other sellers land on the market.
5. Amazon is Seeking to Grow International Markets
In efforts to encourage sellers to go global, Amazon has significantly boosted their EU marketplace services in the last several years. While you do not have to be an FBA seller to sell internationally, Amazon makes the process incredibly streamlined if you are.
Anyone can sell across all 5 EU marketplaces under one single seller account, but non-FBA sellers must handle their own shipping and customer service. If you sell internationally as an FBA seller, you can send your products to an Amazon EU fulfilment center for storage and shipping, your products are Prime eligible, and you have access to each of Amazon’s language-specific 24/7 customer service platforms. Sounds like a pretty good gig if you ask me…
Need Help With International Launches?
Whether you’re looking to grow into just the UK market, or you’re interested in all 5 Amazon Europe marketplaces, the rewards have great potential if you have a product that will resonate culturally.
Lucky for you, Viral Launch is already offering product launches in Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. And, they’re discounted (for now, anyways)! So when you’re ready to cross the pond, Viral Launch is ready to get you ranking and launch you to Amazon Europe success!
Bonus:Market Intelligence, Viral Launch’s Amazon product research tool is now available for international markets! You can validate your Amazon Europe product ideas, see accurate sales estimates, and understand market trends in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, India, Mexico, and China. Start researching today, both for the US market and internationally, with the most sophisticatedAmazon product research tool available!