How to Expand Your Amazon Sales to International Markets with Kevin Sanderson
Hey. There everybody welcome back to another episode of the bright ideas podcast, as always, I am your host Trent dear Smith and this. Is the podcast where, I'm here to help you discover what, is working in e-commerce, by shining a light on the tools the tactics, and the strategies, in. Use by today's most successful. E-commerce entrepreneurs. In. The, private at prior episode, you. Heard, me talking, with, Taylor, Smits who. Advises. Sellers. On how to choose prep centers and that was episode 291, in today's. Episode -, 90 - I am joined by Kevin Sanderson. Kevin is a full-time private, label seller on Amazon who. Sells on nine, count'em. Nine of Amazon's, marketplaces. And his. Private label brand generates, approximately. $400,000, a year in revenue so a very very nice business and Kevin. Also enjoys, helping others, to expand, their businesses, internationally, which is why he's on the show with me today and I'm gonna welcome him in just one moment. We. Do have a sponsor for today's message this podcast, episode is. Brought to you by my FBA, prep. If. You are you an Amazon seller are, you tired of prepping your products at home or they're having the headache of running your own warehouse my. FBA prep is a network, of commercial, prep centers with locations, in every, region of the country for Amazon sellers just like, you they'll. Save you time and money when you ship into them and you. Will be working. With real, people who have experience, inside. Of seller central, checkout. Prep topia their proprietary order, to order tracking platform, so. You know where your inventory, is and when it's been sent into amazon's fulfillment, center my MVA my FBA, prep provides. Prep logistics. And fulfillment. Services for all types of e-commerce sellers, put, in my FBA prep, comm, to sign up or get a custom quote for any of your prep or fulfillment needs and when you do you, can enter a coupon code bright ideas that's all one word and I. Think you have to put it in all caps as well and that, will just sit - you'd be to save $30, off your first month subscription. Gang for what it's worth for, those of you who've been following me for a while you know that I've had a warehouse for years we, shut it down and we are now using my FBA, prep. So. Kevin, welcome to the show, Tran, I'm excited to be here I'm, excited, to have you here alright, so, let's start off with the easy one and then we'll okay they're, really tough questions, the investigative. Journalism, that's gonna pin you down, but. Before we could meet down, in. Your own words who. Are you and what do you love doing. Yes. My name is Kevin, Sanderson and I love growing businesses, I I. Guess, you could say I started. Off as someone, who was a mantra, preneur for many years and eventually, got into the e-commerce game and became, an entrepreneur and, now a full-time entrepreneur, as of last December when I left my full-time. Job I fired that boss of mine who. Actually is a friend of mine still keep in touch to this day but he's. No longer my boss now he's just my friend. Probably. A much, better relationship now, huh oh yeah. Oh yeah yeah sometimes things, do get a little muddy when you're. Your. Boss is your friend but I'm, glad to be where we're at now yeah. Well think of my poor wife her bosses her husband off she listens to this episode and hears me say. The. Other way around so, that reporting, relationship, could be a little depends. On who you ask, nobody. Email, is and Fink on me if you do I'll send, you bad karma. So. So. You saw a nine, different, marketplaces I've, heard of people selling on one or two but you're on nine so. You, know is it really worth it it must, be you put all this time and effort into it, yes. So it's one of those things like I started out as you mentioned and more. The private label game and I. Had, one product and I was launching, another forum this was like let's say three years ago and I. Was, just looking at how do I start expanding. My business so I started looking into other marketplaces, you. Know like eBay Etsy etc. Opened, a Shopify, store I was. Like let's throw, these. Products, that I have on Canada. This is right before the holidays yeah. Maybe, a little bit before that in about, three years ago, and I. Started. Noticing of, all, those things I'm trying the. One that was actually the simplest, it, may seem, like there's some hoops had to jump through once I jump through those hoops like, running it was the simplest and that was, selling. In Canada, and so, I replicated, that and when it's a Europe started. Off in the UK and. Started. Then going in to, some other market, places in Europe now. And also in Japan and, recently, started in Australia. And. I would say it's definitely worth someone's wild I don't have to do everything all at once you know but it's starting.
With Small increments, and you. Know for me it's about a 30% increase on. The sales I make on Amazon in the US I make internationally. Really. Just by copying, over listings, and sending over inventory I'm kind. Of simplifying. It but most people tend to overcomplicate the process yeah. So, asmath many things in life the devil lies in, the DJ so. And. I'm, sure there's a reasonable, number of details so let's kind of go down that rabbit hole which which of the markets let's keep it relatively simple for, the purposes of our discussion today is the, EU mark of all of the extra markets, outside of the US out of the dot-com, which. One generates, the most for you you. You. Generates. The most, sales. As, a number of sales. But. I would say. Profit. Is actually. Not. Too far off in Canada, just. Because you tend to have to have pay VAT which eats up into your selling price because in Europe, there. Their. Sales tax which is called value-added tax is included, in the selling price whereas in candidates, like in the US where they added on yeah, so it's just you're just passing it along basically, okay, well let's talk about Canada first and I'm sure we can dive into some of the other markets because. Canada's it's pretty close and I'm Canadian so you know let's talk about yeah let's do it what, what was involved walk. Us through the process what you have to do yeah. So the, thing about Canada, is its, english-speaking. You know technically. You have to. Theoretically. Have like a, french-speaking. But here's the thing amazon.ca, is all, in English. I, anecdotally. I can't say that like it's a hundred percent what, you're supposed to do but everyone. I know just uses their English listings, their English whatever I don't even know where you would put French into, amazon.ca. In. The products itself everyone, just uses their normal, inventory. And from my understanding everyone. In Canada is okay with that because generally speaking it's. English speaking people that are on Amazon thought CA so you. Don't have to worry about foreign. Languages really is my point, and the. Nice thing is with Canada to get started. You're. Really just filling out one form, to the federal, government and you're, filling, out basically get what they call a business number and, with that business number you want to get two programs, one is called import-export, which sometimes people refer to as non-resident. Importer and then, the other program, is.
GST. HST and, that alphabet, soup is basically sales, tax we'll just go it and the nice thing is it's. All at the federal level so you, don't have to worry so much about. You. Know, 50. Different states or however many states we have to have sales tax and what their rules are you're really just going into one state are sorry to the federal government in Canada, and you only have to file if you have less than a million and a half Canadian, dollars in sales, once. Per year which makes it super, simple, are. You saying that the lovely, Canadians, are making it easier than the Americans, oh my. Gosh yes, they make it's. Amazing, like, and the funny thing is like if you were to call. Because. I've done this before for people that I've helped with the process. If. You were to call Canadian Revenue Agency, and ask. Them questions it's like they're super nice they're really, friendly and. You'd. Be shocked they'll, ask you questions in return like is this for FBA, or FBM and they actually know what the, 200. Yeah, Wow, go. Canada oh yeah. They, do a good job there okay, so that is becoming. What. You've described, as the very very first steps in becoming eligible. To. Sell your product on Canada, yeah. But you've got to get a I'm assuming another seller central account for dot CA, right. Yeah. So basically if you just go into, inventory. Sell. Globally you can just turn on to. Sell, okay. In Canada it's really. Simple and in fact you're actually logging in with, your North American, account in Canada. So, it's a there's, a drop-down and people probably don't even notice it let's you know let's say your brand name or your company name whatever it is at the top and it's probably like a little American flag next, to it yeah, you could click the little drop down. It. Might already even be there but, you could click Canada, you go into Canada add whatever. Listings, you want to add and. You. Add whatever inventory. My. Recommendation. Is is where it makes sense send, it in as FBA, inventory. Because it's gonna be a better experience, for the customer, and a better experience for Amazon and you'll. Get more sales as long as your margins make sense okay. So you're, not shipping. To. The, warehouses in the States you actually have to earmark some, inventory and ship it to Amazon's, fulfillment, centers up north of the border, yeah. And they force you're, a hundred percent correct unfortunately Amazon. Doesn't want to get involved in the the. Process, of giving goods, across a border. So, you, have to be the one responsible for it so it's. Not as complicated, as it sounds, depending, on your product you want to look into like you know what are the weights and you know how big. Is your product but, you're really just talking about sending it across the border you can use UPS you can use a freight forwarder here's a little ninja trick if you're using UPS. Promo. Code easy or promo code fast, those. Are two different promo codes that if you have an existing account generally. Speaking you. Can save 40% and, I literally just helped someone with this two days ago and those, promo, codes work so they could they could get rid of that at any time but they seem to always work mm-hmm. We. Like saving 40%, yes. It's, not as good, as sending, it to like let's say Charlotte. Or you know whatever. Amazon, warehouse, but. You. Know the nice thing is these. Are new. Customers, and new, sales that you're accessing. That you wouldn't access, here, in the States, and, so.
Now, So we've got registration. We were listed, we've got sales happening, we've got fulfillment, happening but now what, about the money so. There's a currency difference obviously yeah. And that's the thing that I think people get kind of freaked out about is really, there's two things I've, noticed people really kind of or apprehensive, about one, government, stuff which. We just talked about a big portion of it another part of the government, stuff is taxes, which we can go into a little bit in. My non tax professional, understanding of, it all and then. The. Other part as you mentioned, is the currency, so here's the interesting thing my. Sister is a 6th, grader so I shouldn't say 6th grade my, sister, is a, elementary. School principal K through 6 school. And I asked, her okay let's say somebody had. You, know let's say we're telling someone a dollar in the US is equal 1.33, Canadian dollars so. Twenty US dollars is how much in Canada. What. Grade level would figure that out and she said oh that's 6th grade level math mm-hmm. So, it's. 6th grade level math to figure out the currency, differences, so that's. One of those things that people do tend to overcomplicate, now. Some of it is you. Can't just take, Canadian, dollars and put it into Bank of America, if you're in the u.s. so. There are some things that you got to know about foreign, currency so just to give everybody a little bit of a background. Let's. Say you google. USD. To see id US dollar Canadian dollar to get the exchange rate so whatever, you see is that exchange rate whether it be on Google or X EECOM or some sort of site like that, those. Are what are called mid market rates the. Only people to get mid market rates or banks so it's what banks charge each other so you're always gonna lose a little something, anytime currency, moves. So. What. You want to do is work. Out how you can do it the most favorably. So, if, you. Put in your US, bank account into your Canadian. Seller. Central. Settings. Amazon. Will be more than happy to move there, your Canadian dollars that you've gotten minus fulfillment fees and whatnot, and put it into your US bank, account. What. They are not telling you is if you were to compare that to EXCI calm or Google's not as good it's. Not as good it's about three four percent you're losing, and they don't itemize that, it's just baked into their exchange, rate. So. What. You could do is save, a little bit on that so one, way you could save on that is. You. Could get a company like Payoneer, or ping. Pong payments, there's a few different companies they'll basically, let you hold that money in a Canadian, dollar account or whatever foreign. Currency, Amazon, will move your Canadian dollars without them. Changing. It into US dollars move. It over into an account, with that. Company let's, say Payoneer, for example just because that's who I use and then.
When You're ready to transfer, it into US dollars you can move that and only say I only lose two percent so you're, gonna save, about one to two percent which over time that adds up and, then another couple ways you can save money is if you're, running PPC. Don't. Run PPC, in a foreign market place on a credit, card, because. You're. Going to be paying off that credit card with money that you repatriated. Over lost, a little bit in the exchange, and, then. You're. Also going, to lose a little bit on the credit card when they pay because, they're, gonna have to switch from US dollars until let's say Canadian, dollars and so they're gonna bury in their exchange. Rate a little something to make it worth their while which, makes. You lose money so I would always recommend in other, marketplaces, run. Your PPC to come out of your disbursements, even. If you're getting you know one or two percent, from Capital One or whatever your credit. Card is yep. Okay, and, then. How, what, effects on my, US, taxes, is this going to have. That. Is a great question and, think. Of it is to, keep this is extremely. Simple as possible and this is where people I think kind of get like the most apprehensive, you. Have two buckets of taxes one, is sales tax which, that's, going to go to the local government so in Canada it, would be the Canadian Revenue Agency. You can file there's a lot of services it can help you relatively. Inexpensively. And. Then. For. Your, us you have to pay. Uncle. Sam what. You made, in Canada, if you're registered, let's say with your us-based LLC, which is what most people do when you say what you made you're talking about profit you, have to pay taxes in profit, yes, so, whatever your profits were so sometimes. People like well I don't I'm not hundred percent sure the nice thing is as long as you have, I believe its twenty. Thousand. Dollars in sales in Canada whatever, the magical, number is to get a 1099 though. It'll give you the 1099. For. Canada and it's, in US dollars, you just hand it to your accountant, and then, whatever else your, expenses. Are and it's, all figured out and my accountant, is not, somebody that some big international, firm I think. I'm the only person. He deals with that doesn't have local, that, not all my customers are local so he's.
Fascinated, By what I do but, bottom, line is it's, it's just basic math so, he's able to figure it out okay. So. The, next most popular market, for I think most folks here in America. Would be to look at selling on in Europe yes. What. Walk, us through what. That looks like is there some differences obviously there's. In. Amazon, I think also has free. Consultants. That will help you to deal with all this. Yes. Now my. Maya. I love. Amazon and my. Suggestion to people is anytime a Masonic all's you you pick up the phone because you want to know what they have to say so. I'll walk through a couple different, ways you could do Europe and one. Of which is Amazon's, preferred, method and one is the. Way I would suggest which, is a little different because. The end of the day no one really knows what it's like to, sell. Internationally like, another seller so you know the people in Amazon they're, well-intentioned but, they only know what they only know because they know their piece of the silo, so to speak that they're it. So, if you're going, into Europe, you. Can basically look, at the European Union almost. Kind of like the, United States where, each country, is like a state, but. Just a little different than that so. Europe. Once. You kind of figure out the VAT structure, the value-added, tax it. Starts, to make sense but there's a lot of landmines if you're not sure so, the. Simplest way to look at it is wherever. Inventory. Gets, imported into a country. You're. Responsible, for that is because. If you're gonna hold it in that country you're, responsible for that so, what. I recommend doing is you do what's called the European fulfillment, Network so you start into the. UK. You. Register, for VAT you. Register for what's called a Iori number, which. Is basically their importer number which is the same thing as your bat number with, like three zeros on the end and then. You will, be able to sell to Germany. France. Spain. And Italy the other four marketplaces, now in those other marketplaces you, do have to get your listings, translated, which, is another level of complexity, which is why I recommend starting, off just in the UK because, it's at least english-speaking, a lot of times people they, really want to do Germany, because sales, oftentimes. Are higher in Germany but, the issue with that is. You. Have to. You. Have to get your listings translated. It. Sounds like you're suffering from the same cold I yeah. You. Now hold the world record for the most number of coughs, and. It's wonderful my episodes for, those of you who aren't watching video poor kevin is coughing. Up along in his office and has, been kind enough to mute his microphone. Hopefully. It will be back. From the nearly dead here in just a moment. All. Right so I put in my Ricola. I think. Is a German or Swiss or something so it's from Europe and it's got looks like it's the letters are kind. Of German so hopefully that helps but. Anyway yeah. So bottom. Line is. Start. With what's called the European fulfilment, Network if you, talk to Amazon they're gonna want to suggest. You do what's called, European. Fulfillment, Network because as I was mentioning before if, you house. Inventory, in the country so if you store it there you're responsible, for that so if you have inventory in Germany you're responsible for Germany they. Want you to do what's called panty you where. You're responsible, for v80 in. Seven. Countries the five countries they have. Marketplaces. And then the Czech Republic, and Poland the. Issue is it's, extremely. Expensive and, time-consuming to. Be, compliant. On that now Amazon, likes that because, it's. Almost kind of like in the US, where. You have. Let's. Say Amazon to move your stuff from, Illinois. To. Nebraska. And they'll just do it, whereas. In. Europe. They will only move between countries. For. Storage, purposes if you, let them because now you're on the hook for VI T I, would. Just stay with the UK. You'd. Have to sell a lot, of units to make it worth your while. To. Do pan-european. Even though you do save a little bit on the. Fulfillment, fees I would avoid it like the plague okay. So you so you're, not selling in, Germany. And you're not selling, in France and the other markets in the e you're just selling in the UK do they understand, that oh no no sorry let me let me rephrase that I'm actually in all five marketplaces. But because.
Goods. Can move around the European, Union freely it's. Just the storage, of them is where you have v80. Requirements. So, if somebody from Germany is placing, an order and, your goods are stored in the UK are they being shipped from the UK to Jersey it's. Almost like as if I could say I only want my goods to be stored in Florida, and if you wanted to sell, people. In. Excuse. Me Georgia you. Could do that and it's. And, it's still prime. Yes. It just takes maybe a day longer or something okay. But. That's uh that's. The best way I suggest, doing it because you at the end of the day it's not worth it to have be on the hook for vit in a bunch of different countries but. The nice thing is in Europe. You're going to get more sales than you would in Canada. But. The issue with going into Europe. Is that you're now v80 gets kind of complicated so there's a few things you could do with vit that you might want to look into no again I'm not a tax professional here, but. The. Nice thing is in the UK they have what's called a flat rate tax so. Generally. Speaking if. You. Are selling, in. The. UK you're. Your. Responsibility. For VATS twenty percent which. It's. Not 20%. Of the selling price it's actually, the selling price includes, the 20% above it so just to walk through that math if. You sold something for let's just say twelve pounds, in. The. UK you know that, 20% is actually. Ten. Pounds, is the selling price and two pounds is fat. But the customer, it's twelve pounds, total because two is twenty percent of ten and they just add it on top exactly. Exactly, so, you, could subtract, out what. You paid at the border any other VAT, you paid into the system but. One. Thing you can do is called the flat rate scheme now, here in the US if we think about taxes, and the word scheme, we tend to think oh I'm going to go to jail, there, it's just their methodology. So basically, the way it works is. You. Could register for what's called a flat rate scheme as a online retailer. And you, only pay seven, and a half percent no the math is, not the same ratios, but let's just use the twelve pounds, it would be seven, and a half percent of twelve pounds, and seven ten. Pounds but. The bottom line is you're, saving money and you don't have to worry about saving. Receipts. And invoices and, whatnot, you only pay, the government seven. And a half percent of your sales, quarterly. Okay. So. In terms of getting so, I want to sell in the in the in the UK so I going on a u.s., seller central I turn on the UK just like I turned on Canada I then. I'm gonna create. Listings. And they're gonna be in English so that's pretty straightforward if you're gonna be in the other markets I'm assuming it's on you to come up with the translations, for your listings.
Yes. And that's where it gets a little tricky, because I. Speak. English I know a little bit of Spanglish, from growing up in Texas, and. Living, here in Florida, but I don't know enough to be able to proofread something so it's a know the quality of, my. Translations, and I've, even had Amazon, do translations, for me and they even admitted they were not the best translations. Yeah. So that's another one of the dangers of like how do you think would be good so I, would go with a reputable translation. Service. Sometimes. They can be a little bit more expensive but, on, that note. Its, it could be worth it now sometimes. It's worth it just to start, out, with. Like let's say. Google. Translate, I wouldn't, use Google Translate long term mm-hmm. But having let's say your your your, product available in Germany. Is. Then. Having. Your product. Available. In Germany is better than not, having it available in Germany so if you had to at least put it in Google Translate to at least get the listing up yeah you could do that yeah. Okay. So by. One way or another we're, now creating listings, that are in the native language for the countries that we are selling in you're. Now creating an inbound shipment, for the inventory that you want to send which is going to all go to the UK and I would imagine creating, that inbound shipment is probably, not a lot more complicated than creating an in mount shipment to the US fulfillment, centers. And, if. It is or isn't like is, it gonna be on the air or is it going to be on the boat like how are we getting across the pond, you. Could do it however you like to do it so this is a general. Philosophy, I have with, international, is, whenever. You're ordering for, the. U.s. assuming. The u.s. is where bulk of your sales is just. Split. Up portions. Of your order to, go to whatever. Country. So. If you're going to. The. UK. You. Know tell, them to send a portion, of it into the UK. Though. Your supplier supplier in China okay. Your supplier in China or, even if you're you know wholesaling, maybe you have wholesale. Goods that you can send across the pond or whatever the case is whatever it makes sense. But. The nice thing is seller. Central, in, the other countries, looks, almost. Identical. To what it is in the u.s. except, maybe the money, symbol, looks different, okay. So. The mechanics are all the same so, not, not an insurmountable, challenge, by, any stretch of the imagination. Is. There anything that I have not yet asked, you before, you and I COFF ourselves, into oblivion. Deaf and our listeners is there anything else that I have not asked, you about, selling, internationally. The. Big thing I would say is that a. Lot. Of times people have this opinion that oh I need to wait until I'm a seven or eight figure seller to do it but think about this it's a it's a snowball effect, so, as you, cast a wider net you catch more fish and as you catch more fish you can reinvest those fish and two other things so, basically if you think about it is you. Can grow your business faster. By selling internationally and, you can put that into other things you want to do in your business so if somebody wants to let's. Say. Send. Traffic to a Shopify, store or something they could do that by selling internationally and/or. They want to let's say grow new products they.
Could Take the money they made. From selling, internationally, and put that into other things in their business to grow faster. Because. If you look at we do all these different things to grow our business and, sometimes we. Forget. The things that are right there in front of us and I say, selling. Internationally for, me is one of those things that was right there in front of me and I'm glad I did it early on now. If someone's been selling for years and they're not in an international, marketplace now. Is the time to start but don't feel that you have to go into nine market places all at once you can start with you know one like Canada or UK well. I got to think that in some of these marketplaces, that are much less developed, in the US the, the, competition, and the number of reviews that the the. Incumbent sellers have the. Gap isn't, gonna be nearly so big as it, would be in the US simply because the markets haven't been around for as long in competitions, less, yes. Absolutely, the competition, is less and because. Let's. Say you know in Canada you can expect generally about 10-15, percent of your sales it could, be more it could be less, people. Are generally other sellers are not as aggressive you. Know we're not doing a lot of giveaways and. The nice thing is to when you take your product from the US if you're, let's say you're doing private label, your. Reviews. Will carry over to the new marketplace, so. You're not starting over from scratch. Y-you, mean if you've got you reviews on.com and, you decide to start selling in the UK they when, you create your listings, there you're gonna take those reviews over with you yes. Because all everything, matches up either to the UPC code or the Aysen so. What's. Interesting is let's say you go into UK. On. The search page if you search for let's say you're selling yoga. Mats if your. Yoga mat is on there and you. Have a, hundred. Reviews. In the US it, might show that they're on the. Search. Page or you might have to click into the page for, the listing itself to be able to see those reviews, now. Once you get reviews. In that country, those will take precedence. However. Your. Us reviews, will show up underneath that so. Thanks, I, my. Anecdotal, belief is. Customers, in the other countries, are used, to looking at okay what do people in dot-com say because they know there's generally more reviews, so. You're not starting over from scratch so you have some social proof going, into it which, is also one of the benefits, that makes it less risky than starting. Out with new products. Which I think people should always be looking at what are my new products but, this is another way to grow without. Creating. New products just using the ones you already have yep. Okay and. One. Of the things I think we probably should add to make sure this is everything that you've talked about today is for non ingestible.
Products, If you're talking ingestible it's a whole different. Deal right. Yes. So if you're doing let's say supplements. You have to get what's called an npn number in Canada, for example which, is a, natural. Product, registration. Number I forget the exact what that stands for but like there's, a whole process, you'd. Have to get new labels, you'd have to get everything, is new the, government has to do a lot, more so anything that's ingestible, gets a lot more complicated, yeah. Topic. For another episode so, oh yeah that could be a whole other episode but I do have some in case someone is selling adjustables, I, do have someone for at least Canada, that, does the process, of getting them approved through, Health, Canada okay. So. Before we conclude today. I know, that you prepared, a freebie, for my audience so why don't you tell us what it is and, where, they can get it absolutely. So, I know we just threw out a lot of information and put together a. Checklist so. If you go to maximizing, ecommerce com, forward slash brights I put together a checklist and then, also in addition to the checklist which I will send them I also, put. Together a free flow stirrer so. They can make an SOP in flow stirrer where, I walk through these things as well so we can get a, paper. Checklist, that they can print, out as well as have the digital SOP. And flow stirrer to walk through these steps because, at, the end of the day the. Process, of doing this is one of those things that is not as complicated as, we may think as, long as we have all the steps in front of us it, could be another you, know six-figure. Revenue, stream for your business just like it has been for mine mm-hmm. Wonderful. Well Kevin thank you so much for coming on to the bread ideas podcast, to shed, some, light on, how. To expand, your sales internationally. So that when people ask you what. Do you do for a living you can say I am. An international. Seller. Exactly. -. All. Right thanks for much Kevin there's. Been lots of fun.