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Expanding Internationally the Easy Way - Amazon Business Tips with Kevin Sanderson - Part 2
September 21, 2021
Expanding Internationally the Easy Way - Amazon Business Tips with Kevin Sanderson - Part 2
 Things we discussed in this session:

A. Part 1

B. Part 2

Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table:

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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_0: Welcome to the seller roundtable e [00:00:03] spk_1: commerce coaching and business strategies with [00:00:06] spk_2: and er not and amy Wiis. [00:00:08] spk_1: Mm. [00:00:11] spk_2: Got it, that makes sense. So what should sellers consider before expanding internationally? So for example, should we be at a certain point of revenue in our primary market before we consider expanding? What are those main consideration factors before expanding in your first marketplace outside of your initial primary one? [00:00:36] spk_0: Yeah, Great question. So, um for me I started selling in Canada was probably six months into selling in the U. S. Now, I don't think if you just launched in the U. S. A week later, maybe start looking at Canada spend your time because as we talked about, you know, there's a there's a cost benefit of your time. So you know, if you still can, you know, find new keywords or you know, do a little bit more S. E. O. On your listings to really optimize I would spend time there. But if you're starting to get to a point where it's like, okay, I'm finding maybe these long tail keywords that might get me another couple sales a month. How much time are you spending investing on your US listing now? If you have the money and the funds to purchase more products and launch new products in the U. S. I would say keep doing that. But if you're somewhat of a ceiling where it's like, okay, I can't just keep spending more money on inventory. So I need to kind of widen the net. So if you're at a point where it's like, okay, now it makes sense to widen the net, then I would start looking at Canada and then once you figured out Canada, then I would start looking at to the UK. But I would definitely, the U. S. Is the bread and butter. Sometimes people like send me messages like, hey, the U. S. Just looks super competitive. Should I go into Canada first? No, going to the US first because that's where you going to get the most sales? [00:01:54] spk_2: Got it. That makes sense. And what do you think are the biggest costs, considerations for expanding? What costs the most when you expand? [00:02:02] spk_0: Yeah, great question. And I say it's two things. One, it's going to be, you know, shipping is going to be definitely a barrier when you're going into it. And then some of the cost is the things you just don't know. And so some of the things are like, you know, like we just talked about, you know, what's at the border? What does that mean? How does that relate? Am I able to get credit at some of that back later on which in a lot of countries you actually can, if you're registered for whatever that taxes. Um And then some of it is just you know there's where do you go to get the advice and so you know amazon has some great resources that are very kind of high level and then when you really start getting into the nitty gritty of it like if you really wanted to know like how does this affect things, I would talk to someone you know who's already doing it because that's where it gets to be like okay what is all this information meaning? How does it relate to me because amazon doesn't want to get too deep in the weeds especially when it comes to things like tax compliance. Uh And then another thing is you know who are you taking the advice from? One thing I see mistakes some sellers make is they'll go to their C. P. A. Who does their income taxes and say I have this question about you know doing value added tax or Canadian GST person says I don't do that. So they say oh I guess I can't do that. Well just as you wouldn't say to your dentist hey can you help me get a new prescription on glasses? Well that's not what they do. They're both called doctors. But you go to your optometrist about you know your eyes and you go your dentist by teeth. And so just realizes just because two different people do taxes. Just understand what it is they do and are they qualified or do they understand the type of taxes are doing? Because when you go to another marketplace, just another little tidbit the profits are going to go to your home country. So if you live in the US uncle Sam once the the the property taxes off the profits for your income tax and then generally speaking, whatever the local jurisdiction is is going to want the whatever their sales tax is called. [00:04:08] spk_2: Got it. That is such, it's such an important tip that you just gave there. And I think again another tip that is going to help people simplify this path. So thank you for that. All right. What about fulfillment considerations? So are you just doing F. B. A. In all of these other countries or is there some level of merchant fulfilled or because obviously amazon has inventory restrictions, all kinds of new ones popping up everywhere. So what are this fulfillment kind of logistics considerations in other countries that we should be aware of? [00:04:48] spk_0: That's such a very good point because it almost seems like daily. Like sometimes I'm afraid to go into manage inventory and create a shipment because it's like one day I'm you know 1000 units over and the next day I have 4000 I can send it. And it's like I don't even know where they're coming up with this math and they're constantly changing it. And uh in every marketplace they're coming with different rules. And so one of the things I personally think is because they keep changing the rules is another reason why you should go into other marketplaces. Uh So I would have said just send everything in the FBI and figure it out there. But I'm starting to create more relationships with third party warehouses just because there is that dynamic of amazon keeps changing the rules. And you know like I've got uh inventory literally on a train from china to the U. K. Right now which, believe it or not, there's a train that goes from point A. To point B. There. Um And I'm gonna have to figure out what to do with it because now I'm over my allotted inventory even though my I. P. I. Score is great and I before could have sent in thousands more units but I'm going to have to figure it out. And so just when those little things come up you know I think now having a relationship even if you're not using them but having a relationship with a third party warehouses going to be more important, [00:06:16] spk_1: amazon is laughing all the way to the bank with with those inventory limits. Right? [00:06:21] spk_0: Well sometimes I don't understand like they not have space for this. [00:06:25] spk_1: Well that yeah I think that's true. I think the I mean really looking at the wider picture it's that you know because of covid so many more businesses got on the amazon in such a short time, they just could not handle it. So I'm sure they're expanding. But Yeah, it's insane. I mean like, you know that that's why I made that joke in terms of like, you know, Amazon probably the biggest beneficiary of COVID-19 was Amazon right? Without a doubt, who are buying masks. And I mean, whatever it was was coming from Amazon, they were afraid to go to the grocery store. It was coming from a small food, you know, like so yeah, so the evil one is now laughing all the way to the bank [00:07:05] spk_0: and people like that convenience. And you know, it's one of the reasons to sell internationally because people in other countries also like that same convenience that [00:07:12] spk_1: yeah, yeah. We were, we were uh on a previous episode, we were discussing that how that was one of the biggest things we noticed when we went to the UK and and to uh we went to the UK. Um We went to italy France in those countries. People don't realize it's way different than the U. S. In terms of commerce. Right? There's very few stores. The selection is minimal. I mean absolutely minimal. Most things closed on Sundays. My wife broke her um her curling iron, I think it was or straightener and nothing was open. We had to go to a train, like one of their main train depots in the U. K. That had like a little corner store that had one, you know, because of course my wife can't go out with her hair looking pretty. Um so so that was a track over there but it's pretty interesting. Uh you know, I'm sure it's changing but that was about 10 or 12 years ago now or something like that. It's changing. But yeah it's it's completely different there so I could see why they love that convenience to the doorstep. [00:08:10] spk_0: Well you think about here in the US as we're recording this things are opening up a lot more than they were even just a couple months ago in a lot of states where as you know as we record this, you know I was just talking to somebody yesterday and he was in the UK and he was talking about how they just extended their lockdown. And Canada I know in Ontario they have a very strict lockdown. Us some of the challenges they're having an amazon right now is because they can only have so many workers in the warehouse. And so you know the rest of the world isn't as open as the U. S. Is. And so what that means is there's more demand because you can't leave your house or there's restrictions on going to the store. You're more likely to just say well you just pull out the phone and press a couple buttons and like magic things just show up on my doorstep. And so people like that convenience as opposed to you know your example, we're like okay there might be a train station down the street with a little corner store and you know it's probably not going to have the selection of the curling iron I want. But you know, or I can just magically have it appear you know pretty soon with Prime. [00:09:14] spk_1: Exactly. So um you know one of the things that is a little bit different and uh you know I would love if you can get some insight here is um you know what type of products might be a little bit harder to sell, you know in in the U. K. In the Euro zone. You know like here if you're selling a pesticide, it's a major hassle or baby formula or you know, what are some of the kind of the things to think about depending on the type of product that you sell? [00:09:40] spk_0: Yeah. One of the things I tend to use this example of, I like to oversimplify it because I think people in our minds we create this border which is more complicated than it really is. But to your point, there are still things you have to consider in most countries. You find especially anything that's ingestible or makes any sort of claims that or even if it doesn't make claims and it could be related to health, you are probably going to have some heightened responsibilities. Um amazon is now being forced to have people in europe, especially in the UK have what's called a responsible person, which is basically a company in the U. K. If you have a product that might be ce related meaning it's an electrical um device and has a ce certification. Um and just like with pesticides was in the U. S. A couple years ago were like, wait, I'm selling shirts and you're requiring me to get this pesticide thing. Um people are starting to see some of those type of weight. There's nothing electrical about my product that you want me to have a responsible person. So just know there are some of those things. But to keep it very simple, I tend to use the philosophy of if others are selling it, it can be done. And so one thing you could always do is look at the labels, to the labels look the same, especially if you're talking about something. In the supplements category supplements categories are going to be a little bit more challenging because again it's ingestible but if it's not ingestible if it's uh I use this example cause it's always in front of me a dry erase marker it's probably going to be fine everywhere. Most products that people private label are going to be fine from one market place to the other. It's when you start getting it's whether it's gonna be ingested by a person or even a pet. Um You may want to start looking into that. Uh There's usually a host of services that will help you jump through hoops with the health Canada's or you know the U. K. Government or whoever it is that oversees it. Um amazon will usually have some resources that again or high level by pointing in the right direction. But um it's definitely one of those things where if you even think, hey, maybe we should look into my product first, look into it, see what look at similar listings and see what disclaimers they're putting on, what are their labels look like. And that could put you in a good start as to what you might need. [00:12:04] spk_1: Awesome. So the other thing that I love to uh, you know, talk about in terms of selling another marketplaces is like logistics, right? So like just cost, you know, majority of people still getting their products from china, which, you know, if if the world continues the way it is, that might not be the case for very long. All these people never find right now, Amy and I've been talking about this for, you know, since the trouble with china started the tariffs and things like that, you know, the people who, who diversify now we're going to be the ones who win once that that relationship continues to sour. But you know in terms of today people are still doing china you know what should they expect differently in terms of logistics or shipping costs a like going from china to the U. K. [00:12:47] spk_0: Yeah I mean one of the things I tend to find is it tends to be a little bit more expensive. Um You know per kilo per pounds. I don't want to say numbers because they're just gonna be so off the top of my head. But it tends to be a little bit more expensive. But it's And some of it is because you're sending in smaller quantities. Oftentimes if you're sending more you get a little bit more of both discounts. So if you're gonna do 1020% of the sales are probably sending 1020% the amount of inventory. So that could have an effect on it. Um But the way I look at it is you know if your margins are the same or even close to the same or somewhat that somewhat where you're still putting a dollar in an inventory and getting more than a dollar out on the other end, you know is it worth your while? And for most folks I would challenge that in a lot of cases it really is worth the while to do an international market place. Especially compared to trying to figure out Ebay. Now maybe you have a product that really is going to do great on Ebay but it's just one of those things to keep in mind and with logistics, you know going back to the whole PPC thing, I don't remember if I said this before. You know if you have, let's say 10 20% of the sales, you probably have 10 20% of the impressions. Which means you could probably get away with optimizing it 10 20% of the amount of time what you do in the U. S. So that's another savings on some of the logistics because you don't usually have to put in the same amount of work. So you may go to another marketplace but you, some people may find they check their PPC, you know, a handful of times a year just to make sure it hasn't gotten out of hand. [00:14:22] spk_1: Yeah, don't do that. Folks try to check at least, you know, once a week at a minimum is my suggestion. Um [00:14:27] spk_0: I can't [00:14:29] spk_1: know for sure. No, no, for sure. Yeah, no I get it. But yeah. Um I know I forget to go check my other marketplaces on PPC for sure. But yeah I try to do it every week, folks on Tuesdays my recommendation because you get the previous week's data kind of all caught up by then. Um What should people expect when they're selling it in, you know, a place like Canada or I mean Canada is probably pretty similar to the U. S. But like the U. K. Or say Germany. Um You know, how should people expect the shoppers there to respond differently or act differently shop differently? What are there any major differences in the expectations of the of what kind of shoppers you're going to deal with? [00:15:09] spk_0: Yeah. Great question. I would say. Generally speaking in Canada um They're very nice. Uh They tend to be very polite even when they're upset if they're sending you messages, they tend to be just worded a lot more politely than we would in the U. S. Uh Sometimes people in the U. S. Like she's never stereotype people but like in Canada it's like a pride thing. Like and I've had people actually send me messages like thanks for pointing out the fact that we're really nice here in Canada. Um because they take a lot of pride in that. And so uh that's one thing, the UK, they tend to be very friendly, it's a little bit more business in the way that they communicate. Everything tends to be a lot more just bureaucratic in general with how things operate. Uh The words they are going to use in the U. K. Kind of like to Amy's point earlier are going to be a little bit different. So you might have to do a little bit different keywords, although you can always start with the same ones you had bollocks. Yeah. Exactly. exactly. Just know something you may just, especially if you have some big keywords, you might just want to look them up on amazon just to make sure it's not happens to be offensive, which you know right now and then there's going to be uh like the uh somebody told me one time, like you know here in the US talk about fanny packs, whereas that has a whole different connotation in the UK, although I think they're probably more sensitive to or more open to U. S. Versions of word usage is then we are vice versa probably. Um So that's just something to keep in mind. [00:16:40] spk_1: Yeah, I think that our our world domination in terms of media, right? Entertainment, everybody watching movies and things. So yeah, I think they definitely understand that a little better. Uh A word of warning, never scream out after a meal in Australia that you're stuffed just f. Y. I don't do that. [00:16:58] spk_0: Um [00:16:59] spk_1: My mom was a flight attendant, she has a really funny story about that but going back to uh the subject at hand, [00:17:09] spk_0: okay [00:17:12] spk_1: amy knows I digress a lot, I'm sorry. Um And generally my you know I have potty potty humor so pretty badly. So I have to try to keep myself in check and I apologize to the audience for that uh never escaped 12 years old in terms of my um my comedy. So uh sourcing locally. Um you know Germany a lot of people don't realize Germany is a major manufacturing hub. Um You know some of these other countries are starting to just like the U. S. Has gone back to trying to bring a little bit more manufacturing local because they kind of see the writing on the wall in terms of china, you know, with, with being kind of the, the juggernaut in terms of, I think it's like, I think I read it was like 90 or 95% of manufacturing in the world happens in china, which is an insane number. Um, you know, do you do any sourcing locally in terms of like, you know, if you're selling in the U. K, do you do any try to source in the UK or Germany, et cetera? And if so, any tips on how people can, can go about doing that? [00:18:10] spk_0: Yeah. Generally I don't, and I generally don't see that with much with private label sellers. Oftentimes wholesale sellers we'll utilize because wholesale is a whole different Ballgame. I'm not sure how familiar audiences with the wholesale model, but it's all about getting counts. And so sometimes, uh, to go to a company or brand and say, hey, I want to sell on amazon in the US like calls for this all the time. But if you say, hey, I can get you into europe, that might be beneficial. And then flip side too, there's not as much competition to get, you know, distributors and suppliers in europe as there would be necessarily in the U. S. So oftentimes um, wholesale sellers might leverage local suppliers a little bit more than private label sellers do, but not to say you couldn't. [00:19:02] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. There I, I need to dig it up. But there is a website that I found in Germany, that's really cool. And, and they also do kind of like a sourcing fair everywhere, similar to what they do in china. Um, I can't remember the name right now. But anyway, I never source there and I, but I, I kept reminding myself I need to come back to it because it was pretty interesting, forget who even pointed pointed me in that direction. But anyway, I'll try to get it to the show notes. Um All right. So the other thing that we kind of like to wrap up with [00:19:31] spk_2: is some [00:19:33] spk_1: kind of, you know, personal uh growth in terms of, you know, are there any podcast, movies, books, anything that you've done along your journey that you feel like has really pushed you forward uh, to get to, you know, some business goal or some, you know, profit goal, something like that. Anything you can share with the audience in terms of, you know, moving stepping back from the amazon world, just kind of, you know, personal growth or you know, epiphanies anything like that. [00:19:57] spk_0: Yeah, yeah, great question. And um, you know, as far as let's see, uh books and things like that, I would say the compound effect by Darren Hardy was pretty beneficial early on about, you know, just small steps over time to make, you know, huge impacts. Uh, you know, far too often. We just want the overnight success, the overnights, you know, weight loss, the overnight business, whatever, you know, most results don't come from one action that comes from a series of actions over time is basically my butchered synopsis synopsis of that book. Um but then as far as other ones founder, actually, if you ever saw the movie founder about Ray Crock, who is the uh, I wouldn't even call him the founder of Mcdonald's, he's just the guy that, you know, basically took it off into what it is today. Um you know, that was a really interesting one probably because my first job in high school was at Mcdonald's. Um, so it was interesting to see kind of the back end of it, but like, you know, the systems he created and just the mindset to just keep pushing forward and what he did with that company, um, was I thought really influential and uh, you know, as far as like mindset and stuff like that, I think some of it was like initially it was the mindset of getting out of the head of an employee and going back to my original story of, you know, 15 years before I got started in e commerce, um, I bought products to sell and then I didn't do anything with it. Whereas if I literally just said, I'm going to figure it out, you know, there's, there wasn't podcasts and Youtube and all these other things we have today, but there still was articles, there were message boards, there were places I could have gone to figure out the information and I would have figured it out best if I had actually jumped in the pool, so to speak and actually started swimming. But because I just, you know, walked around the outside of the pool and you know, I didn't even bother asking Michael Phelps or whoever it was the time to, you know, how do I jump in the pool and start swimming? I, I just did nothing. And so I lost 15 years of what I could have done and I'd be at a whole bigger spot that I am today if I had actually done something with those and so we can't go back and change up the past. But what we do moving forward is where we are. So just that mindset of constantly, where can I move forward? What are those little things I could do each day and what are the systems I can put into my business to cast a wider net and make more sales whatever my result call is. [00:22:28] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. One of my big things is, you know, looking back was the fact that, you know, I didn't take bigger risks when I was younger, right? Once you have a family, I have three Children now. So I have to be a little more reserved in terms of, you know, my, my risk tolerance. But you know, back in the day, you know when I first started selling on amazon even was right before our first child, if I would have gone, you know, quit my day job and gone in full blast, I would have, you know, instead of being a million dollars. So I'd be probably, you know, $100 million seller. You know, if I really got into, you know, scaling and things like that. So, uh, definitely, especially if you're not to say that the old dogs can't jump into the game, but if you're younger and you, you have a, you know, the ability to not only have high risk tolerance, but you know, back then I was working, you know, I'd work my day job and then work all night work, you know, fueled on Red Bull. Um, you know, if you get focused and, you know, like you said nowadays, it's a lot easier because you have some guidance from people putting out content that you can actually learn from. You know, I always tell people learn from our mistakes, so you don't have to make those, we've already done it. Uh, so I love that. And you know, that's one of the main reasons we ask this question because I feel like people really learn a lot from the failures of others, right? I think that's a huge part of of the bonus of listening to podcasts like this. So thank you so much for being on kevin, let people know um how they can get in touch with you, but you know, let them know how they can listen to the podcast, all that good stuff. [00:23:49] spk_0: Yeah, awesome. So I do have the maximizing e commerce podcast and Youtube channel. Uh Amy has been a guest which has been uh had a lot of great feedback from uh Andy will be a guest in the future, we'll make sure of that. Um as well as uh I you feel free, actually, I'll just say this, feel free to email me kevin and maximizing e commerce dot com. Sometimes you feel like, you know, why would you give your email address? Whatever, Like the reality is most people don't follow through on that. So if you're listening to this and you're like, I got a question was to reach out to just reach out to me and I didn't come up with this phrase, but if you email me a thoughtful question, I'll give you a thoughtful response and so we'll do that. And then if you're like, okay, I want to go internationally, I want to learn more about this. You can go to international checklist dot com just like it sounds and you can download a checklist right about the steps of how you can create your own international selling empire. [00:24:38] spk_1: Love it, awesome, Kevin thanks so much. Yeah, I give my email address like, like crazy too because uh, exactly what you said, most people will follow through and uh, you know, my, I'm the same thing. My only request is like, hey, if you email me, make sure that it's, it's clear, concise and quick because, you know, I get literally hundreds of emails and linked in messages and all this stuff that I, you know, I try to sift through it. You know, sometimes I go back through and it'll be like two weeks later and I'll have to apologize like, so sorry, I'm getting back to this late, but I, you know, I get so much daily. Oh yeah, it's short and sweet, you know, like get to the nitty gritty, you know, we we won't think you're rude if you don't give us the whole backstory. Uh so I love that, Kevin, thank you so much for being here and everybody who's who joins us live in in the zoom meeting. We really appreciate you guys were kind of a small group today, but we're looking to you guys next week to do better. Um and I think Amy, we're bastardizing our our audience by by broadcasting live. So we might have to, we might have to, you know, take that back a little bit again to uh make sure we get we get those people in the zoom meeting. But thank you everybody who is watching a live. If not, join us, uh sell a round table dot com slash live every Tuesday one PM if you want to be in the meeting, if not, you can subscribe to the podcast around table dot com. We're on all the major podcast platforms, please rate review, subscribe otherwise, I'm gonna send Amy to your house, she's gonna be angry, she might spoke coffee on your doorstep, yell at your dog. So thank you so much guys for being here. We'll see you next time on the sill. A round table. [00:26:12] spk_0: Thanks for tuning in, [00:26:13] spk_2: join us every [00:26:14] spk_0: Tuesday at one PM [00:26:15] spk_1: pacific standard time for [00:26:17] spk_2: live Q and A. [00:26:18] spk_0: And bonus content after the recording [00:26:20] spk_2: at cellar round table [00:26:21] spk_1: dot com, sponsored by [00:26:23] spk_0: the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller S c o dot com and amazing at home dot com.