Three Tips for Getting Started Selling Internationally

by Carolyn Lowe

In this guest post, Carolyn Lowe of ROI Swift discusses three things to consider if you are thinking about selling your products internationally.

You get the calls and emails all the time about selling on other Amazon marketplaces. For years now, Japan, Canada and Europe have been pinging sellers in the US to expand globally. Wondering if you should do it? Here are some things to consider when weighing the opportunity.

How Big is Your Amazon Market and Is it Worth It?

The first thing we recommend doing is seeing how big your Amazon market is in the other countries. Use Jungle Scout or another Amazon sales estimating service to look up the US market versus the market you are evaluating.

For example, in the US when you search on “garlic press”, the first page of results with 15 products sells an average of 1022 units a month. (Source, Jungle Scout Chrome Extension, 1/9/19.) In the UK, that same search for the first page products only generates 222 orders per month.

Also look at search volumes. In the US, according to MerchantWords, the term “garlic press” has over 379,000 searches a month. In the UK on Amazon, that same term has only 125,000 searches a month. So you could reasonably expect ⅓ of your US sales in the UK.

Selling in the UK and other markets also comes with higher fees if you have US warehouses. In addition, there is the value-added tax (VAT) consideration. Make sure you adjust your prices up 25-30% to cover higher inbound shipping and VAT in the UK and EU.

Understand Market Nuances

For those who have sold clothing on Amazon France (, you know the struggles of working with the templates and how Amazon ignores the bullet fields and pulls your bullets from other random fields. Material and product care instructions get used in the bullets in France.

Translation is also another thing to consider. Amazon will do a machine translation which is okay, but it is worth considering a human translation service. For example, you don’t want your listings to read as though they’re in broken French. You want your listings to appear as though native to build trust and help conversion.

Things in other countries are also referred to with different words. Take, for example, diapers. In the US, there are 506,000 searches for “diapers” yet in the UK, there are 73,000 search for “diapers.” However, there are 164,00 searches for “nappies” which is what diapers are called in the UK. (Source: MerchantWords, January 2019.) Knowing language nuances and what things are called in other countries will help improve your listing quality as well as your Sponsored Products campaigns.

Know the Rules and Navigate Effectively

Amazon restricts certain products and the EU has more stringent rules in some categories, such as Vitamins & Supplements. Familiarize yourself with labeling requirements and claims, as well as ingredients and other legislation before deciding to jump in to global markets.

Yet, along with all the rules, Amazon wants to help you succeed. Typically for the first year, you will have access to an Account Manager in an Amazon US office to help you navigate the waters of Amazon’s global marketplaces. The account manager can help you with everything from setup to listing translations to understanding the competition and helping with Sponsored Products suggestions.

A reliable freight company who knows the rules is also a must! Our clients have a great company in Houston, TX that reliably delivers and takes care of the logistics. Find one you like and it will make your life easier. There are some hoops to jump through to sell on other marketplaces, but if you have done your research correctly, it can add a good amount of additional revenue.

Originally published on March 29, 2019, updated April 1, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.