Start An Amazon Store in a

Different Country:

A Beginner's Guide by PingPong

So, you want to start an Amazon store in a different country. Expanding to a new market is a very natural progression for any Amazon seller who has found a decent amount of success in their first region or market that they dove into. Choosing which market to expand to next and seeing whether it’s a good idea is a separate hurdle. 

 

Once you’ve done your due diligence and committed to a market, it’s time to begin with the launching of your first products. The process is very similar to the first time you launched a product on Amazon, with a couple of slight differences. It’s important to keep in mind that while in theory everything should work out, you are still taking a risk. This is the case for any business venture, Amazon related or not. The most important guidelines to keep in mind are:

  • Do everything to the best of your ability. 

  • Minimize your risk by planning ahead.
  • Manage your expectations by setting clear goals.

  • Stick to the country you choose!

Start With Your Best Products

Most sellers who have reached the point where they’re comfortable with expanding to new markets probably have more than just a handful of products. If that sounds like you, don’t commit your entire product line to the new market. Remember, you’re taking a risk. By narrowing your choices down to the best performing products, you’ll be able to determine if your theory works in practice, without substantial risks.

 

You can always add on new products or new variations once the few initial products prove profitable. So, for the purpose of “testing the waters,” you should handpick one or a small number of your top performers to see if you can start generating sales. Also consider products that have had a faster rate of growth than others in your home market—they can be your best candidates. For example, if your product has multiple size variations, make sure you use the most common size or the size that’s most likely to sell the best. Similarly, if your product has variations in color or design, make sure you pick the most popular variation.

Limit Your Inventory

When it comes to how much inventory you should commit to your first batch in the new country’s market, it’s all about weighing the various risks associated and scenarios that might occur. There are generally two unfavorable scenarios:

 

  1. Failing at selling the product and now stuck with inventory that you have to get rid of.

  2. You manage to sell your product so well that you go out-of-stock before you can replenish it.

 

Each risk has a different consequence. If you fail to move your inventory at market value, then you may have to sell everything for pennies on the dollar. In the worst case scenario, you’ll need to have the inventory destroyed in order to avoid increased storage fees. Note that even in those cases, the higher fees would only apply after at least one full year of storage, which means you’d have plenty of time to try and sell or more your inventory.

On the other hand, if everything goes well and you start making sales, you need to have enough inventory available until you can restock. Otherwise, you risk running out of products and losing the organic ranking you’ve built from the initial sales. While it’s not the end of the world if you go out of stock for a brand new product—especially since you’ve confirmed that it will sell well in the new market—you don’t want to lose momentum.

The key to determining the number of items in your initial batch is to have a contingency plan. Ask yourself these two questions:

 

  1. How long would it take for a new batch to arrive at the FBA facility from the moment I make the order?

  2. What’s an optimistic sales estimate for that period of time?

Let these questions guide your plan. For example, if it takes 11 days for a new batch of items to arrive and your optimistic estimate is eight sales per day, then you should ship in 88 units. Combining these two factors will ensure that you find the right balance. 

Optimize Your Listing for the Market

As all Amazon sellers know, you have access to your listing before it becomes active. This means you have to start to create a listing before you can create a shipping plan and start sending in inventory. Use this time to work on the listings for the new market in the country you chose. There are two elements that contribute to a listing’s ability to convert to sales:

 

  1. The presentation and the narrative of the product – This part of the listing convinces a potential customer that buying your product is a sound decision.

  1. The SEO and indexing – This part of the listing is for the A9 algorithm, and its effectiveness is measured by the number of relevant keywords in your title, bullets, product description, and backend. Doing this well will help boost your listing organically for relevant search terms over time.

The art of optimizing an Amazon listing is in finding the balance between the two, writing compelling copy while still incorporating relevant keywords organically into the text. This might pose a unique challenge in a new market, especially one that dominantly speaks a foreign language. The good news is you’ve chosen a product you’re already selling successfully in your home market—you have the first part of the listing figured out the message you want delivered, but it’s not as simple as just translating it verbatim.

You need to identify the proper keywords that are relevant to the new market and begin to incorporate them into your listing. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a professional who is also a native speaker to translate your content. Handing this task to a pro ensures your keywords aren’t missed, your intention comes through, and subtle language nuances aren’t missed.

 

If you want to start an Amazon store in a different country where language is not a barrier, you still need to optimize the listing for that specific marketplace or region/language. For example, if you’re selling on Amazon.com and you decide to launch on Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk, you cannot simply copy and paste your listing. Though they technically share a language, each market is different enough that various connotations and colloquialisms have developed over time. Even if you end up using most of the same keywords, there will be differences in the monthly search volume for each word, which can affect where you place them in the listing.

Take “mom” for example—a common term for mother on Amazon.com. Across the pond, UK consumers would type in “mum.” This means products in the baby or maternity category have a big pool of entirely new keywords to index on. These are little things to think about before settling on which country to choose.

PPC Launching Strategies

It’s no secret that PPC is what makes or breaks your product launch. This is why you need to be extremely strategic about the way you handle your initial PPC structure. Keep in mind that a PPC strategy for launch has one objective—to answer the question “is this product viable in this market?” This is different from the more standard approach of trying to discover new potential avenues of growth with more aggression, loosely related keywords, auto campaigns, aggressive bidding strategies, etc.

 

So, what is the best way to answer this question? It all depends on accurately identifying the keywords that you will use in your campaigns. Rank them based on relevance and then split them into three:

 

Group 1: Highly relevant – These keywords most accurately describe the product you are selling. Let’s say that you’re selling a silicone baking mat. Your Group 1 keywords would be anything containing the terms “silicone baking mat” or  “baking mat.” The keyword could also refer to the dimensions or the color of the mat, as long as it’s unmistakably describing the product in question. Consider these the keyword targets that have to work. Your product is failing if it’s not getting clicks or sales from these search terms. 

 

Group 2: Somewhat relevant – Using the same example as before, the keywords that fall into this category describe substitute products, such as “baking trays” and “baking dishes.” Consider these keywords that will work, but not reliably or consistently. 

 

Group 3: Potentially relevant – If you are selling a silicone baking mat, you can try and advertise on search terms that are generally related to or complement baking, such as cookie molds, rolling pins, oven mitts, etc. This group of keywords can work, but not necessarily. You can expect an unpredictable number of sales from keywords like these. 

 

The keyword research you do beforehand should result in you compile your keyword research into a long list and categorize them into the three groups as shown above. Of course, the keywords may not always fall perfectly into  a group, you should still make an effort to sort them in the most sensible and logical way. 

 

 

Initially, you’ll want to begin to focus only on  keywords from the first group. Remember, the first goal is to answer the question “is this product viable in this market?” You answer that by establishing whether or not the shoppers searching for your product will find your listing. The keywords from your first group have to work in order for the answer to  be “yes!”

 

The other keywords that you’ve gathered will come into play later if your initial efforts prove fruitful. You may have noticed that we’ve not mentioned using ASINs to product targeting (PT) campaigns. This is because PT campaigns are not really a good measure of the initial viability of a product and scarcely produce consistent results.

 

Before constructing the campaigns and launching them, you should first set your goals to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and in turn the viability of your product on the new market. It’s important to keep in mind the real cost of launching a product. Most sellers only think about the cost of the inventory they plan on shipping in. The real cost of your product is the cost of inventory in addition to  advertising costs.

 

In order to be diligent and practical, you must determine how much you’re willing to spend on PPC beforehand. You need to define two goals:

 

  1. The amount of money you’re willing to spend on Amazon ads to determine if the product is viable. 

  2. The number of sales required for the endeavor to be considered a success.

If you’re willing to spend $500, you need to also establish the minimum number of sales that budget must bring in for you to continue spending.

Once you have your primary keywords picked out, your budget set, and your  target sales count established, you can move onto creating and launching your new campaigns. 

 

 

  1. In a single manual campaign, take all the keywords and create three ad groups with the match types: one exact, one phrase, and one broad campaign. 

  2. Set your bidding strategy to bid up and down. Start with a relatively conservative default bid. Remember, your initial goal is to make sure that the budget gets spent and to see how many clicks and sales you can get. 

If your campaign, or individual targets, do not have enough impressions, keep increasing your bids until they do. 4. Increase the bids gradually by $0.1 every one or two days until you’ve spent all of your daily budget. 

 

  1. During the course of this campaign, you may want to extract a search tremor reports to see if there are any search terms that the broad and phrase match groups have hit that are irrelevant, and put them into the negative keywords for the ad group.

 Keep going until your budget reaches zero or until you notice strong indicators that this is a failed effort. For example, if you’ve spent $300 out of your $500 budget without getting a sale, you should cut your losses and end the campaign.

 

During the start of the campaign, you should not be focused on the average cost of a sale (ACOS). This can be calibrated later. Your goal is to get sales, not lower the cost of your bids. The sales you generate through PPC will positively impact your organic ranking. Even if your initial PPC efforts are not cost-effective, the sales will still count as organic sales, increasing your profits across the board in the long run.

Getting Reviews

It’s never easy starting with zero reviews. We know that the number of reviews and the rating has a great impact on both the customers’ interest in a product as well as their willingness to purchase it.

 

There’s one advantageous circumstance, you can synchronize your reviews from Amazon.com to other Amazon marketplaces. If you use the “Build international listing” tool, your Amazon.com reviews will show up for listings you have in other markets. Additionally, whenever you get a new review on Amazon.com, it will reflect across your associated listings in real-time.

 

Keep in mind that synced reviews are not as powerful or as visible as “original” reviews that come from the market your product is listed in. Synced reviews will show up above your listing’s review section (which will be empty at the start), and it will temporarily help legitimize your listing until you earn your first original reviews.  Synced reviews will not show up in the search results. Instead, they show up once someone opens your listing and scrolls down.

 

It’s obvious that this is not as good as an actual review from the market you are selling in, so how do you get those?

 

Since the great Amazon purge of unverified reviews, you can only get reviews the old fashioned way— politely asking for it.  Or, by using some of Amazon’s built-in review requesting services.

 

Amazon’s system allows you to contact your customers to ask for feedback. You can use this opportunity to provide even more value for them. However, you have to follow a set of rules—the most important one is to not use any external links.

 

You can send the e-mails manually, but it’s much more efficient to use one of the many e-mail automation tools that are available and designed specifically for this purpose. You can send out a series of e-mails simultaneously and even attach files. Use this as an opportunity to further educate your customers on the product and your brand.

 

You can set up and personalize the e-mails and send them in series. One common approach is to send one e-mail letting the customer know that the order has been received and that it is on the way. You can also attach a file in this e-mail to continue engaging them. You can then set up a timed e-mail to arrive a few days after they’ve received the product to ask about their experience and request a review. This is not the only approach and you can be as creative as you want to be, but remember to avoid annoying customers with too many emails or you may get reported for spam, which can get you in trouble with Amazon.

 

If you’re already using automated e-mails to get reviews on Amazon.com, doing the exact same thing for other English speaking countries may work. For non-English speaking markets, you will need to hire a native speaker. The person you hire to optimize your listing can likely lend a hand here.

 

Lastly, when you look for automated e-mail software, make sure the software can serve the new market you want to sell to.  Start your search even before you begin selling in the new market. 

 

Getting reviews quickly can impact the performance of your initial PPC strategy. PPC ads can bring people to your listing, but they can’t make anyone buy your product. As the old saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Reviews can make the water look more refreshing and tantalizing.

 

In conclusion, to start in a different country and in a new market is all about establishing viability first, and that starts with three main guidelines:

 

Diligently gather relevant keywords and use them to optimize and customize your listing. These keywords can also contribute to your PPC efforts. Set up an automated e-mail system for getting reviews before you start selling.  Do everything “right” to the best of your ability.

Pick your very best products to ensure the highest probability of success. Carefully plan and calculate your inventory, keeping in mind that you’ll need to maintain the momentum if you succeed and minimize your losses if you fail. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

Before launching your product, establish clear goals you need to reach in order to determine the viability of your new expansion and to continue committing to the new market. Manage your expectations by setting clear goals.

Psst…More Amazon Guides where that came from. Always be updated with the latest tips!

 

Starting An Amazon Store in an

Different Country

A Beginner's Guide by PingPong

Expanding to a new market is a very natural progression for any Amazon seller who has found a decent amount of success in their first region or market that they dove into. Choosing which market to expand to next and seeing whether it’s a good idea is a separate hurdle. 

 

Once you’ve done your due diligence and committed to a market, it’s time to proceed with the launching of your first products. The process is very similar to the first time you ever launched a product on Amazon with slight differences. It’s important to keep in mind that while in theory everything should work out, you are still taking a risk. This is the case for any business venture, Amazon related or not. The most important guidelines to keep in mind are:

 

  • Do everything to the best of your ability. 

  • Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

  • Manage your expectations by setting clear goals.

 

Choose Your Best Products

Most sellers who have reached the point where they’re comfortable with expanding to new markets probably have more than just a handful of products. If that describes you, you should not commit your entire product line to the new market. Remember, you’re taking on a risk. By narrowing your choices down to the best performing products, you’ll be able to determine if your theory works in practice, without substantial risks.

 

You can always add on new products or new variations once the few initial products prove profitable. So, for the purpose of “testing the waters,” you should handpick one or a small number of your top performers to see if you can start generating sales. Also consider products that have had a faster rate of growth than others in your home market—they can be your best candidates. For example, if your product has multiple size variations, make sure you use the most common size or the size that’s most likely to sell the best. Similarly, if your product has variations in color or design, make sure you pick the most popular variation.

Limit Your Inventory

When it comes to how much inventory you should commit to your first batch in the new market, it’s all about weighing the various risks associated and scenarios that might occur. There are generally two unfavorable scenarios:

 

  1. Failing at selling the product and now stuck with inventory that you have to get rid of.

  2. You manage to sell your product so well that you go out-of-stock before you can replenish it.

 

Each risk has a different consequence. If you fail to move your inventory at market value, then you may have to sell everything for pennies on the dollar.. In the worst case scenario, you’ll need to have the inventory destroyed in order to avoid increased storage fees. Note that even in those cases, the higher fees would only apply after at least one full year of storage, which means you’d have plenty of time to try and sell or more your inventory.

 

On the other hand, if everything goes well and you start making sales, you need to have enough inventory available until you can restock. Otherwise, you risk running out of products and losing the organic ranking you’ve built from the initial sales. While it’s not the end of the world if you go out of stock for a brand new product—especially since you’ve confirmed that it will sell well in the new market—you don’t want to lose momentum.

 

The key to determining the number of items in your initial batch is to have a contingency plan. Ask yourself these two questions:

 

 

  1. How long would it take for a new batch to arrive at the FBA facility from the moment I make the order?

  2. What’s an optimistic sales estimate for that period of time?

Let these questions guide your plan. For example, if it takes 11 days for a new batch of items to arrive and your optimistic estimate is eight sales per day, then you should ship in 88 units. Combining these two factors will ensure that you find the right balance. 

Optimize Your Listing for the Market

As all Amazon sellers know, you have access to your listing before it becomes active. This means you have to create a listing before you can create a shipping plan and start sending in inventory. Use this time to work on the listings for your new market. There are two elements that contribute to a listing’s ability to convert to sales:

 

  1. The presentation and the narrative of the product – This part of the listing convinces a potential customer that buying your product is a sound decision.

 
  1. The SEO and indexing – This part of the listing is for the A9 algorithm, and it’s effectiveness is measured by the number of relevant keywords in your title, bullets, product description, and backend. Doing this well will help boost your listing organically for relevant search terms over time.

The art of optimizing an Amazon listing is in finding the balance between the two, writing compelling copy while still incorporating relevant keywords organically into the text. This might pose a unique challenge in a new market, especially one that dominantly speaks a foreign language. The good news is you’ve chosen a product you’re already selling successfully in your home market—you have the first part of the listing figured out the message you want delivered, but it’s not as simple as just translating it verbatim.

 

You need to identify the proper keywords that are relevant to the new market and incorporate them into your listing. This is why it’s recommended that you hire a professional who is also a native speaker to translate your content. Handing this task to a pro ensures your keywords aren’t missed, your intention comes through, and subtle language nuances aren’t missed.

 

If you’re launching in a new market where language is not a barrier, you still need to optimize the listing for that specific marketplace or region/language. For example, if you’re selling on Amazon.com and you decide to launch on Amazon.ca or Amazon.co.uk, you cannot simply copy and paste your listing. Though they technically share a language, each market is different enough that various connotations and colloquialisms have developed over time. Even if you end up using most of the same keywords, there will be differences in the monthly search volume for each word, which can affect where you place them in the listing.

Take  “mom” for example—a common term for mother on Amazon.com. Across the pond, UK consumers would type in “mum.” This means products in the baby or maternity category have a big pool of entirely new keywords to index on.

PPC Launching Strategies

It’s no secret that PPC is what makes or breaks your product launch. This is why you need to be extremely strategic about the way you handle your initial PPC structure. Keep in mind that a PPC strategy for launch has one objective—to answer the question “is this product viable in this market?” This is different from the more standard approach of trying to discover new potential avenues of growth with more aggression, loosely related keywords, auto campaigns, aggressive bidding strategies, etc.

 

So, what is the best way to answer this question? It all depends on accurately identifying the keywords that you will use in your campaigns. Rank them based on relevance and then split them into three:

 

Group 1: Highly relevant – These keywords most accurately describe the product you are selling. Let’s say that you’re selling a silicone baking mat. Your Group 1 keywords would be anything containing the terms “silicone baking mat” or  “baking mat.” The keyword could also refer to the dimensions or the color of the mat, as long as it’s unmistakably describing the product in question. Consider these the keyword targets that have to work. Your product is failing if it’s not getting clicks or sales from these search terms. 

 

Group 2: Somewhat relevant – Using the same example as before, the keywords that fall into this category describe substitute products, such as “baking trays” and “baking dishes.” Consider these keywords that will work, but not reliably or consistently. 

 

Group 3: Potentially relevant – If you are selling a silicone baking mat, you can try and advertise on search terms that are generally related to or complement baking, such as cookie molds, rolling pins, oven mitts, etc. This group of keywords can work, but not necessarily. You can expect an unpredictable number of sales from keywords like these. 

 

The keyword research you do beforehand should result in you compile your keyword research into a long list and categorize them into the three groups as shown above. Of course, the keywords may not always fall perfectly into  a group, you should still make an effort to sort them in the most sensible and logical way. 

Initially, you’ll want to focus only on  keywords from the first group. Remember, the first goal is to answer the question “is this product viable in this market?” You answer that by establishing whether or not the shoppers searching for your product will find your listing. The keywords from your first group have to work in order for the answer to  be “yes!”

 

The other keywords that you’ve gathered will come into play later if your initial efforts prove fruitful. You may have noticed that we’ve not mentioned using ASINs to product targeting (PT) campaigns. This is because PT campaigns are not really a good measure of the initial viability of a product and scarcely produce consistent results.

 

Before constructing the campaigns and launching them, you should first set your goals to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and in turn the viability of your product on the new market. It’s important to keep in mind the real cost of launching a product. Most sellers only think about the cost of the inventory they plan on shipping in. The real cost of your product is the cost of inventory in addition to  advertising costs.

 

In order to be diligent and practical, you must determine how much you’re willing to spend on PPC beforehand. You need to define two goals:

  1. The amount of money you’re willing to spend on Amazon ads to determine if the product is viable. 

  2. The number of sales required for the endeavor to be considered a success.

If you’re willing to spend $500, you need to also establish the minimum number of sales that budget must bring in for you to continue spending.

Once you have your primary keywords picked out, your budget set, and your  target sales count established, you can move onto creating and launching your new campaigns. 

 

  1. In a single manual campaign, take all the keywords and create three ad groups with the match types: one exact, one phrase, and one broad campaign. 

  2. Set your bidding strategy to bid up and down. Start with a relatively conservative default bid. Remember, your initial goal is to make sure that the budget gets spent and to see how many clicks and sales you can get. 

If your campaign, or individual targets, do not have enough impressions, keep increasing your bids until they do. 4. Increase the bids gradually by $0.1 every one or two days until you’ve spent all of your daily budget. 

 

  1. During the course of this campaign, you may want to extract a search tremor reports to see if there are any search terms that the broad and phrase match groups have hit that are irrelevant, and put them into the negative keywords for the ad group.

 

Keep going until your budget reaches zero or until you notice strong indicators that this is a failed effort. For example, if you’ve spent $300 out of your $500 budget without getting a sale, you should cut your losses and end the campaign.

During the run of the campaign, you should not be focused on the average cost of a sale (ACOS). This can be calibrated later. Your goal is to get sales, not lower the cost of your bids. The sales you generate through PPC will positively impact your organic ranking. Even if your initial PPC efforts are not cost-effective, the sales will still count as organic sales, increasing your profits across the board in the long run.

Getting Reviews

It’s never easy starting with zero reviews. We know that the number of reviews and the rating has a great impact on both the customers’ interest in a product as well as their willingness to purchase it.

 

There’s one advantageous circumstance, you can synchronize your reviews from Amazon.com to other Amazon marketplaces. If you use the “Build international listing” tool, your Amazon.com reviews will show up for listings you have in other markets. Additionally, whenever you get a new review on Amazon.com, it will reflect across your associated listings in real-time.

 

Keep in mind that synced reviews are not as powerful or as visible as “original” reviews that come from the market your product is listed in. Synced reviews will show up above your listing’s review section (which will be empty at the start), and it will temporarily help legitimize your listing until you earn your first original reviews.  Synced reviews will not show up in the search results. Instead, they show up once someone opens your listing and scrolls down.

 

It’s obvious that this is not as good as an actual review from the market you are selling in, so how do you get those?

 

Since the great Amazon purge of unverified reviews, you can only get reviews the old fashioned way— politely asking for it.  Or, by using some of Amazon’s built-in review requesting services.

 

Amazon’s system allows you to contact your customers to ask for feedback. You can use this opportunity to provide even more value for them. However, you have to follow a set of rules—the most important one is to not use any external links.

 

You can send the e-mails manually, but it’s much more efficient to use one of the many e-mail automation tools that are available and designed specifically for this purpose. You can send out a series of e-mails simultaneously and even attach files. Use this as an opportunity to further educate your customers on the product and your brand.

 

You can set up and personalize the e-mails and send them in series. One common approach is to send one e-mail letting the customer know that the order has been received and that it is on the way. You can also attach a file in this e-mail to continue engaging them . You can then set up a timed e-mail to arrive a few days after they’ve received the product to ask about their experience and request a review. This is not the only approach and you can be as creative as you want to be, but remember to avoid annoying customers with too many emails or you may get reported for spam which can get you in trouble with Amazon.

 

If you’re already using automated e-mails to get reviews on Amazon.com, doing the exact same thing for other English speaking markets may work. For non-English speaking markets, you will need to hire a native speaker. The person you hire to optimize your listing can likely lend a hand here.

 

Lastly, when you look for automated e-mail software, make sure the software can serve the new market you want to sell to.  Start your search even before you begin selling in the new market. 

 

Getting reviews quickly can impact the performance of your initial PPC strategy. PPC ads can bring people to your listing, but they can’t make anyone buy your product. As the old saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Reviews can make the water look more refreshing and tantalizing.

 

In conclusion, launching in a new market is all about establishing viability first, and that starts with three main guidelines:

 

Diligently gather relevant keywords and use them to optimize and customize your listing. These keywords can also contribute to your PPC efforts. Set up an automated e-mail system for getting reviews before you start selling.  Do everything “right” to the best of your ability.

Pick your very best products to ensure the highest probability of success. Carefully plan and calculate your inventory, keeping in mind that you’ll need to maintain the momentum if you succeed and minimize your losses if you fail. Minimize your risk by planning ahead.

Before launching your product, establish clear goals you need to reach in order to determine the viability of your new expansion and to continue committing to the new market. Manage your expectations by setting clear goals.

Psst…More Amazon Guides where that came from. Always be updated with the latest tips!