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Should Your Amazon Business Stay Local or Go Global?

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by PingPong Payments

You’ve found profitable products, mastered the art of creating an eye-catching listing, and spent the last year or two selling on Amazon US Marketplace successfully. Now you’re feeling a bit stagnant and wondering about your next steps to continue growing? If this sounds a lot like you then perhaps you should consider taking your e-commerce business to the next level-expanding globally. Expanding your Amazon business globally isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. So before you take the plunge to sell globally here are a few important differences between selling domestically and selling globally that you should bear in mind.

It’s like running multiple businesses

The first and most important thing sellers need to understand is just how much extra work it can be to run a global business. Expanding your product line to a new Amazon Marketplace in a new country is not as simple as adding a new product listing to your existing business. You’ll need to prepare for additional operational work such as setting up a legal business entity, paying regional taxes, and revamping your existing listings according to the laws and expectations of a new consumer base. If you’re already using Amazon US Marketplace, there are built-in tools that can make this easier for you, but at times it can still feel like you’re starting your business all over again. It may even feel like you’re running two businesses at the same time.

During these moments, it’s important to remember that it is possible to grow too fast, and overcommitting before you have some experience in the global market can negatively impact your expansion efforts as well as your existing Amazon US Marketplace business. You shouldn’t feel discouraged from expanding, but start small until you’re comfortable with international business affairs. Just like your first business, you should have a business plan that reflects your goals for global expansion. Pick one or two products to start with overseas (don’t try and bring every product at first), and plan for a slow 2+ year expansion. It might feel like your first day on the Amazon US Marketplace all over again, but you’ll quickly find that your existing experience as an e-commerce seller allows you to grow more rapidly than before.

Different day-to-day operations

Time is one of your most precious resources when operating both a local and global business. You’ll find that it’s important to begin automating or streamlining day-to-day processes in a way that lets you scale. The easiest way to start improving the efficiency of various aspects of your business is to look for experts who specialize in managing those parts. Whether it’s product listing optimization, foreign currency exchange, supplier quality assurance, or VAT payments, you can save a lot of time and money by looking for a service that regularly handles these issues. Again, Amazon offers a variety of services that can help you get started, but they’re usually not comparable to the vast array of third party options available among the various marketplaces.

Like the many Amazon US Marketplace business owners before you, you’ll also likely incur unforeseen expenses when starting out in a new marketplace and country. This is another reason to take it slow at first so that you can catch potential surprises early and prevent it from impacting larger-scale shipping, storage, or sales operation.  Here are several important things you need to consider when going global:

  • Currency conversion rates and & fees
  • Increased inventory and storage locations
  • Additional customer support
  • Value-added tax (VAT) or regional taxes
    • Seller Identification Numbers and Tax ID Numbers might also be required in many countries.
  • A local return or payment address
  • International business incorporation
    • You will likely operate as a separate business from your local US business.

To avoid stress and time while setting yourself up for success, it’s recommended that you look for a service provider who is an expert in foreign e-commerce and business transactions.

Marketing to a different audience

Besides operating in a new country from a legal standpoint, you should be aware of the fact that you’ll be serving a consumer base completely different from the one you’re already familiar with. A new Amazon marketplace in a foreign country is going to come with new languages, consumer trends, and cultural expectations which will require some research before crafting the ideal listing.

First, you’ll need to conduct market research to figure out which of your products will perform the best in the marketplace you’re expanding to. What does the competition look like? What are customers looking for most often?  You can find a brief overview of the “Big 5” Amazon European Marketplaces here.

Next, you’ll need to translate your listing if the primary language of the new Amazon marketplace is not the same as your local marketplace. You’ll find a few services that use automation to translate listings (including Amazon itself), which can promise fast turnaround but the quality just isn’t there. The true impact of your words and tone may not be captured appropriately with these simple 1:1 word translation services. You’re better off finding a real expert to translate and localize your listing. They’ll be able to will make your message come across more naturally and help you with cultural “do’s and don’ts.”

Finally, have an exit strategy for your initial global expansion plans. Making a significant change to your business is always going to be somewhat of a risk, but you can give yourself some peace of mind and minimize that risk by having an exit plan.. Taking a step back after a less-than-ideal attempt of expansion will reduce your stress. Don’t let the perception of a sunk cost push you to additional and unnecessary bad decisions. Stepping back at one point in your business doesn’t mean you can’t try again later.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t dive into a global expansion with the same mentality as running a local business.  By understanding the hurdles and adjustments you need to make differently will help you succeed in your expansion.

In your global expansion journey, you should always do your research to avoid unnecessary fees! Expanding your Amazon business globally shouldn’t be costly! A payment service such as PingPong is designed for global e-commerce merchants to make global selling simple and cost-efficient.  With a free PingPong account, you can lower your Amazon currency conversion fees, make free payments with your stored currencies to global suppliers, settle foreign tax obligations (VAT/GST), and more.  Backed by a team of live support experts to support you through your global journey, check out www.pingpongmayments.com

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