How To Become an International 5-Star Seller
by Carina McLeod, on April 19, 2017
You may be a 5-star Amazon seller in one country, but that doesn’t make you a 5-star international seller. Amazon seller feedback does not migrate over when you open up a new account in another country, even if you have a unified account. Seller feedback remains at the country level, and that is to ensure sellers are providing an excellent customer service at a national level where shipping times and customer expectations vary.
If you are a longstanding 5-star seller on one particular Amazon marketplace and then start selling on an Amazon marketplace in another country, you will be considered a new seller and have to build up your seller feedback from zero. This can be tough at the initial stage when you are gaining customer trust and competing with other sellers in a completely new marketplace. Although one advantage you do have is experience of what it took to make you a 5-star seller in your first marketplace.
Here are some points to get you started when you venture out of your home marketplace and become a new seller internationally:
Request Feedback in Multiple Marketplaces
You should be contacting your customers in all marketplaces and asking them for feedback. If you already have automated emails being sent out, add all marketplaces to this process. (FeedbackFive supports a number of international marketplaces.)
When selling internationally we are faced with a number of challenges, including language and cultural barriers. We can never assume that all customers speak and understand English. For some countries, particularly when you venture into Europe, it is paramount that you communicate with these countries in their native languages. It is also common courtesy to communicate with a non-English speaking country in their native language no matter how good their English is, especially if you want extra points!
Contact customers to request feedback in the native language of that marketplace. (FeedbackFive has professionally translated email templates in 6 major languages to get you started.) This doesn’t mean a copy and paste into an online translator. What seems like a simple typo to you may have a completely different interpretation to a native. Plus, it will look unprofessional and could show a customer that you don’t really care and create a negative customer experience. Human translations will provide the best customer experience, and this doesn’t have to cost much. There are a number of freelancers out there that can translate messages and by only asking for a short message this will keep costs down. Also don’t forget that the UK and the United States might both speak English, but the use of words and spelling does differ. To get extra points with a Brit, don’t assume they speak American English.
Not only is there the language barrier to contend with, but there's also the cultural barrier. For example, the German culture is a lot more direct and matter of fact, so get to the point and keep it simple. On the other hand, the British like some humor and the personal touch. Although you are not going to master the cultural differences in a basic email solicitation, it’s still important to take this into consideration when writing a message for another culture as no one size fits all. A style of message that works in one country, won't necessarily be as successful in another.
Excellent Customer Service
When customers purchase from a new seller or international seller, the lack of seller reputation may cause the buyer to be nervous. Ease your customer’s mind by making more frequent contact with them and ensure you are quick to respond and resolve any issues. If you are selling via the FBA platform in another marketplace this makes it a lot easier. However, if you are shipping products from your home marketplace (e.g. the United States to Mexico) you may be confronted with some shipping delays or upset customers that had to pay custom duties.
While a lot of this is out of your hands, you can help this process by sending the customer a message when the item has been shipped, advising them of the typical transit time and what to do if they have to pay customs, etc. While the customer should already be aware of this, it is sometimes good to relay those expectations as you cannot assume they read the "small print" and that also opens up a dialogue for them to contact you first if an issue arises.
While this article focuses on seller feedback rather than product reviews, the details in the product listing can also influence the seller feedback. It is important that the product descriptions are 100% accurate for that country and focus on key features for that marketplace. Features that may not be important or seem standard in one marketplace might be in another. Again, don’t forget the importance of a good translation.
Packaging & Instructions
For technical or more complex products that require detailed information, it is worth providing some translated instructions or labels to stick over the item to help improve the customer experience. This can help reduce customer dissatisfaction, returns and customer contact. Note that some items will already have legal requirements where certain ingredients and instructions will need to be listed in the native language.
Getting Started in a New Marketplace
If you are testing the water in another marketplace you may be hesitant to invest so many resources into translating and adapting products and detail pages. However, if you want to guarantee a 100% excellent customer experience in another country, it is worth considering these points. After all, you are probably already doing this in your own country and regard it as a basic necessity.