Deciding where and what to sell in another country's marketplace can be similar to making these determinations for your home marketplace. However, there are some added considerations when selling internationally. One way to evaluate an international marketplace entry strategy is to use the "4Ps" marketing framework: Product, Price, Placement and Promotions. Let's review each through the lens of selling internationally on Amazon.
When selling internationally through Amazon for the first time, a natural approach is to think about your best-selling products in your home marketplace. From your previous experience and from data in sales reports, what sells well? It's also important to ask yourself why you think these particular products do well. Will these same reasons hold true for the marketplace you are entering, or are there other fundamentals driving customer demand in the new marketplace, such as culture, climate and demographics, including average age and income? Also think about how differences in marketplaces can benefit you. For instance, do you have seasonal inventory that you don’t know what to do with after the season has passed in one marketplace? You can extend your selling season by selling abroad where the product may find a new audience.
Why? A broader selection of products means higher customer search exposure to your listings overall. This breadth can help you quickly gauge what products can be successful in a particular marketplace.
You can start slow while still maintaining breadth of selection even if you're not ready to commit a lot of your inventory to another Amazon marketplace. If your sales spike, you can adjust your price or remove listings to mitigate stock-out risk, just like in your home Amazon marketplace. If you wish to commit to an even lesser extent, you can start by fulfilling orders yourself rather than sending inventory to another country. Remember selling in another marketplace doesn't mean you lose control over your listings.
In deciding which products to sell in an Amazon marketplace, you of course have another key source of information available to you: observations of the marketplace itself. This sort of marketplace research should be very familiar to you from activities you likely conduct when selling in your primary Amazon marketplace. For this research, local language proficiency is extremely helpful. If you are trying to research a marketplace in a language unfamiliar to you, you may be able get some basic language interpretation from free online translator tools, but beware of relying too heavily on such tools.
In your target marketplace, review the Best Sellers, New Arrivals and Featured Brand selections for your product categories. Read customer reviews to understand your competition's strengths and weaknesses.
During this product research phase, you may find it helpful to broaden your search to e-commerce marketplaces beyond Amazon. Use a search engine to find relevant e-commerce sites by country. Trade publications and online seller communities in each country can also provide a rich source of information as you prepare to list products in their locales.
Some customers in each marketplace may reside in a nearby country, prefer to shop in a particular language, seek products only available in a particular marketplace, or otherwise choose to purchase out of the country. For example, an Amazon.de customer may reside in Austria.
Once you've narrowed down which products you may want to list in a new marketplace, make observations of prices set by sellers of the same or any similar products. Do customers appear to be buying based on price or brand? Do the best-selling products ship for free or for reduced rates? Do your competitors offer specialised delivery?
When you set your prices, build in additional fixed and variable costs associated with selling internationally. The following are potential new costs to consider when selling outside your primary marketplace and may change your profitability calculation:
As you can see, many of the variable costs change based on whether you decide to fulfil products yourself or use Fulfilment by Amazon. Review the Fulfilment options help page for more details.
In addition to growing your international on-Amazon business, you can also consider growing your international business off-Amazon. The following Amazon service may be relevant for you to develop this international strategy:
If you already use Fulfilment by Amazon to fulfil Amazon customer orders, you can manage online sales from other channels using the same inventory pool. Use Multi-Channel Fulfilment—a feature within Fulfilment by Amazon—to fulfil orders that come from sales channels other than Amazon, including your own website, other third-party channels and even catalogue or in-store sales. Learn more about Multi-Channel Fulfilment.
As in your primary Amazon marketplace, Amazon provides tools that enable you to advertise and run promotions for your products. The promotional tools available vary by Amazon marketplace and may include Free Delivery, Money Off, and Buy One Get One (BOGO).
Visit Understanding Promotionsfor more details on the type of promotions available (Note: this feature is only available to sellers with a Professional selling plan). To see the steps to creating a promotion, visit Creating a Promotion.
Another way to increase exposure to your offers is through Amazon Sponsored Products, a cost-per-click advertising service that helps you promote the products you sell on Amazon through keyword-targeted ads.