Lessons Learned In Business

Selling on Marketplaces Other Than Amazon & International Selling – Wholesale Course Module 3 Part 5

Selling internationally for wholesale

This Post is part of the “FREE Wholesale Training Course”.  You can view the entire course listing and introduction to the course here.

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Module 3:  Value Propositions

You can click on each of the links above to go directly to the area of the module the best interests you.  That being said, lets get right into the content!

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Selling on Marketplaces Other Than Amazon & International Selling

Amazon.com is the largest single marketplace in the United States.  But, that’s not even close to the total amount of all e-commerce traffic world wide. There are a lot of other places that you can potentially sell items not only in the United States, but across the globe.   These “selling channels” can bring a lot more revenue to you and brand owners since you are offering products to customers other than Amazon.com customers.

In this section of the module, we will discuss how to setup accounts for other selling channels, along with the challenges with doing so.

Other US Marketplaces

There are quite a few different marketplaces in the United States you can sell your wares on.  Here’s some examples:

  • Walmart.com
  • Jet.com
  • eBay.com
  • Etsy.com
  • NewEgg.com
  • Rakuten.com
  • Sears.com
  • Shop.com
  • BestBuy.com
  • Tanga.com
  • Bluefly.commarketplace logos

The biggest challenge when expanding to other marketplaces outside Amazon.com is the physical location of the inventory.  If you are used to selling only on Amazon.com and using their FBA service, inventory management is extremely simple.  You send product in, Amazon handles the rest.  Once you start adding in other selling channels, inventory management becomes much more of a challenge.  Amazon always knows the inventory levels in their own warehouses, so they always have correct inventory counts.   The other selling channels do not have this information.

In addition to the other selling channels not having inventory information from Amazon, some sites have specific rules that bans you from using Amazon.com’s FBA service to fulfill orders (Walmart.com is the biggest one that has this rule).  How do you handle this problem?

For the physical inventory itself, you will likely need to hold inventory in more than one place – Amazon’s FBA warehouse, and an additional warehouse.  The additional warehouse could be your own, or it could be a prep & pack warehouse.  Once you consistently have inventory in more than one spot, this presents an entirely different problem.  How do you keep track of the different inventory levels, and how do you update the selling channels with this information?

This is where a multi-channel software solution comes into play.  Most good software solutions will do the following things:

  • Work with multiple sales channels (specifically the ones you want to sell on!)
  • Keep track of inventory levels at all warehouses including FBA.
  • Has oversell / undersell prevention (prevention against accidentally having more orders than product you have available)
  • Update inventory levels on all the selling channels on a consistent basis.
  • Order management for all sales channels including:
    • Tools to print pick lists, packing lists and shipping labels for internal warehouses
    • Sending information to 3rd party logistics companies (prep & pack warehouses)
    • Status updates for the orders
    • Handles all drop-shipping ordering
  • Automatically handle shipping products from Amazon’s warehouse to customers when orders are placed from other channels.
  • Gives you multiple reports and analytics

Here is a list of known multi-channel software solution providers:

If you are specifically looking for companies that currently have integration with Walmart, these are the companies that have that ability:

Every company on both lists handle the two major channels: Amazon and eBay.  Every company and situation is different, so I can’t specifically recommend one solution provider over another.  When choosing one, here are the things you should think about:

  • How many channels do you want to sell on long term?  Do they have integrations with those?
  • Which company will likely have access to all the new, upcoming marketplaces you may want to sell on?  Once you are on a platform, you likely won’t want to move away from that platform for a while.  Being prepared for the future is a good idea.
  • Does the pricing structure meet your personal situation?  A lot of these providers are not cheap.  Some even take a cut of your sales.
  • Will you be doing dropshipping at all?  Some companies have the ability to handle this too.
  • Do you or will you have an e-commerce website?  Each company has connections with different e-commerce platforms.  You want to make sure it can work with it.
  • Do they handle repricing on platforms? You can always use an outside service for this, but it likely will make it easier for price parity if one service handles all repricing.
  • Does it have integration with your accounting software?  This isn’t necessary, but it’s a good thing to have.
  • Does it have reporting mechanisms that can help you with reordering?  Tools like RestockPro are great, but they only focus on Amazon. When you are selling on other channels, you need to be able to forecast purchase orders based on ALL of your selling channels.
  • Does it track profitability on the SKU level?  And by selling channel?  This will allow you to truly see all the metrics you need to drive your business forward.
  • Will you be doing flash deals on sites such as Groupon or Living Social?  Some solutions offer this ability.

There are likely other things you’ll want to think about that are specific to your business and situation.  Choosing a multi-channel software solution is a big deal for your company – make sure you think through all the options before you pull the trigger.

Selling International

The overall market for products across the globe is massive.  The United States has a large consumer base, but compared to the rest of the world, it’s only a small piece of the pie.  If you think about any large retail companies with many stores or restaurant chains, they tend to follow this path:

  • Start local with one location.
  • Become a regional player.  Usually starting with a few locations in the local area, and branching out to other states.
  • Become a national player.  This is when they have locations in most states, and are able to advertise on national television.
  • Branch out to other North American locations such as Canada and Mexico.
  • Branch out to other countries in Europe, Asia, and other location around the globe.

Being an internet business, we are able to side step the first two steps of the path above.  As soon as you start selling on Amazon, you are selling as a national player.  By selling on Amazon.com, you also open yourself up to customers from outside the US that happen to shop on Amazon.com.  Selling on Amazon.com isn’t the only way you can expose yourself to international customers.

To get the most exposure possible in other countries, it’s wise to start an expansion plan to international marketplaces.  Here’s some different international marketplaces you can expand to:

  • Other Amazon sites, which include Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.mx, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.cn and Amazon.in.

Amazon international 600

  • Other eBay sites, which include eBay.co.uk, eBay.ca, eBay.au, eBay.ie, eBay.de, eBay.in, eBay.fr, eBay.sp, eBay.it, and multiple others.
  • Alibaba’s sites, which include Raobao, Tmall, and Tmall Global.
  • Mercado Libra, which is popular in Latin America.
  • Ozon, which is popular in Russia
  • Rakuten is a marketplace you can use in the US, but it has a lot of Japanese customers.

When a customer places an order on these marketplaces, there are many ways to set up shipping options.  Here’s some of them:

  • Ship to the customer directly from your warehouse.  You will use international shipping services such as DHL, UPS, FedEx or USPS.  There are different regulations depending on the country you are shipping to.  UPS has a tool on their website to find some of those regulations and guidelines.  DHL also offers “Trade Automation Service“, which helps you estimate total landed cost for your international customers.  You will need a DHL account to access this tool.
  • You can work with a 3rd party to ship your international orders.  In most of these cases, you’ll ship all your outgoing international shipments to a US based address.  The 3rd party service provider will then forward the order to the international destination.  They take care of the complexities of customs, duties, and other regulations.  Here’s some companies that do such services:
  • Sign up for Amazon FBA services in Europe.  If you are selling on the Amazon Europe sites, you can ship your products to Amazon’s warehouses, and they handle everything just like Amazon does with their FBA service in the US.

“Great, Chris.  But where should I get started?”

Wow, you ask great questions.

Personally, the first place I would move to internationally would be the Amazon Europe marketplaces: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es.  The easiest one to start selling on is Amazon.co.uk, mainly because it has a decent size audience, and the website is fully in English.  When you move to non-English speaking websites, you’ll likely want to have listings translated by a human.  Using the Amazon.co.uk marketplace, you can use their FBA service.

Here’s the basic steps you’ll need to follow to sell on Amazon.co.uk utilizing FBA:

  • Register for VAT.  VAT is equivalent to sales taxes in the US.  But, it’s different because it is baked into the prices customers pay.  An example: A $20 item purchased in the US may have a 7% state sales tax added, which makes the final price $21.40.  In the UK, VAT is 20%, and is included in the final price. If the end price you want out of a sale is $20 as a seller, you would increase the price by 20% to cover for VAT, which would make the final asking price on Amazon $24.  You can find out more information about VAT here.
  • Register for EORI.  An EORI number is required to import or export items to or from the UK.  You can find out more information about the EORI here.
  • Open a bank account for the UK.  You will need documents to open a bank account in the UK such as a passport, drivers license, FEIN registration, and US Bank statement or utility bill.  You can use Amazon themselves for this, or a company such as WorldFirst.
  • Open shipping accounts to be able to ship product to the UK warehouses.  DHL and UPS are the best companies to work with for international shipping, unless you are sending pallets or containers.  If you are sending large amounts of product, you’ll want to use a Freight Forwarding service such as FBA Forwarding or Flexport.
  • Setup your Amazon.co.uk account.
  • Once you start selling, you’ll need to file tax returns with the UK.

If you would like some hand holding on the process, Avask is a company that can take care of the entire process of filing forms and tax returns for you.

Other Marketplaces and International As A Value Proposition

Once you have the ability to sell on other marketplaces and internationally, you can now use this as a method to land wholesale accounts.  Instead of just saying “I sell on Amazon”, you can say “We can introduce your product to Walmart customers, and to customers in the UK and other places around the world.”  One thing to note – if you are selling licensed products, make sure you get permission from the brand owner to sell the items overseas.  In a lot of cases, the brand owners will only have licenses to sell a specific product in the US.  A hypothetical example could be that company A is licensed to make Disney sunglasses for the US.  Disney may license out Disney Sunglasses to a totally different company in the UK.  The assumption is that Company A can only market their Disney sunglasses in the US, and the other company can only market theirs in the UK.

Now that you know about other marketplaces and selling internationally, let’s move on to bundling!

Need help expanding?  We can help with our Mentoring Program.

Continue on to Module 3 Part 6: Bundling Products on Amazon

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Chris Potter

Chris Potter is an internet entrepreneur that loves working on businesses and helping others with their businesses. He has operated businesses that have sold over $25 million in retail sales, bought and sold a blog design business, and started websites from scratch. Skyrocket your business by joining his Mentoring Program!

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