Global Selling: 10 Challenges When Selling Overseas

challenges when selling internationally on amazon

With Amazon’s presence in 11 countries worldwide, sellers now have the opportunity to expand their businesses beyond their home markets. Amazon makes it easy for merchants to sell across borders by offering Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) Unified accounts and North America (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) Unified accounts as well as providing Seller Central interface in English for all marketplaces, including Japan. For selling across Amazon European and North American marketplaces, Amazon further eases the process with the Build International Listings tool, which allows sellers to connect and synchronize listings across marketplaces and manage prices using automated pricing rules. While there is sizable financial benefit to gain from overseas selling, there are challenges that merchants must first overcome to be successful.

 

Communication with Buyers

 

1. Language

In online transactions, the only way for sellers and buyers to interact is through written text, which is the biggest barrier to selling abroad for most sellers. Although sellers are able to maneuver Seller Central in English if they are not familiar with the language of the local market, the product descriptions still need to be in their local language. The Build International Listings tool allows users to connect products that already have detail pages in the target marketplace with the same ASIN as in the source marketplace, and this eliminates the translation work. However, for private label owners who need to create listings from scratch in local language, it is highly recommended to have a native speaker write the product description to ensure the description is written well.

2. Cultural Differences

An aspect to translation that is often forgotten is localization. Even though the translation may be correct, it is best to have a native speaker adapt the language to fit the local culture. For example, Spanish is used in both Mexico and Spain, but there may be colloquial differences that may cause misunderstandings if used incorrectly. Other things that may differ from country to country include date format and unit measurement systems. Make sure all of your content, not just the language, is localized to the respective marketplace.

3. Customer Service

And let’s not forget customer service before and after transactions. If you’re selling in Italy, you are expected to provide customer service in Italian. Also, selling in marketplaces in different time zones may pose a challenge in terms of response time. Responding to your customers in a timely manner is just as important since it has great impact on your seller metrics. If you’re located in the U.S. and selling in Japan, be sure you have staff to cover Japanese inquiries outside of your home country’s regular business hours to shorten the response time.

4. Feedback Solicitation

Following up with buyers post sales to ensure satisfaction is critical to a seller’s reputation and success. You may wish to ask buyers how they felt about the transaction by sending requests to leave feedback. To get the best results out of your feedback solicitation email, write in the same language that your buyers will understand to avoid any misunderstandings. To make feedback solicitation easy for sellers who sell in different marketplaces, BQool Feedback Central is equipped with templates already translated into the local languages for their respective marketplaces.

 

Select Products for Sale

 

1. Market Appropriate

When selling in overseas markets, sellers need to keep in mind that not all of your inventory is suitable for every market. Some products may be more popular in certain markets but not in others. Sellers aiming to enter into unfamiliar markets may wish to test out a range of products first and then decide which items meet the needs and wants of the target audience.

2. Meet Local Standards

Sellers should always check that the products they wish to sell meet the local standards. For example, different countries may have different electrical outlet plugs and use different voltages/frequencies. Make sure that your products will work in the target country before creating your listings.

3. Legality of Sale

Another thing to be aware of is that the laws and regulations of selling online may vary in different countries. When selecting products to sell in your Amazon storefronts, read up on the laws and regulations of the country you intend to sell. An item may be legal to sell online in one country, but it may not be in another. Make sure your products comply with local regulations.

4. Shipping

If you are handling shipping on your own rather than utilize Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), make sure that the items you want to sell to overseas markets are easy to ship, durable and lightweight. This will decrease the likelihood of damage during transit, lower your shipping costs, and reduce customer complaints and return rates. Additionally, it is important to clearly state the expected delivery date to buyers in your listings to avoid any confusion.

 

Set Pricing

 

1. Adapted to Local Standards

For Europe Unified accounts and North America Unified accounts, Amazon lets sellers use automated pricing rules to synchronize prices in different marketplaces through the Build International Listings tool. Even though the tool is convenient, sellers should still adjust prices separately by taking into consideration the living standards of the countries as well as the cost of similar items in the same marketplace. Also keep in mind the exchange rates as those may have an impact on your pricing strategy.

2. Other Applicable Costs

Sellers fulfilling their own overseas orders must incorporate shipping costs when setting prices. For certain product categories or high valued items, customs and taxes may also apply. Make sure to take into account all possible costs when setting prices to benefit from selling abroad.

 

Selling Internationally for Amazon Mexico and Japan marketplaces

To help sellers have a greater reach in global selling, BQool is excited to announce the availability of its software suite for Amazon Mexico and Japan. BQool Repricing Central, Feedback Central and Review Central can now cover all of Amazon’s international marketplaces with the exception of India. Our Feedback Central also comes with e-mail templates translated and localized into different languages to help sellers with feedback solicitation. Sign up for a free trial today!

 

 

Learn more about:

How to Sell Internationally on Amazon with FBA Global Export

Amazon Build International Listings

[Video] How to Create Email Campaign with BQool’s Feedback Central

 

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