Five steps to selling internationally on Amazon

It’s no understatement to say that Amazon dominates online retail. With 11 marketplaces spread across North America, Europe and Asia, as well as customers in 180+ countries, the ecommerce giant connects retailers to millions of customers worldwide.
By only listing your products in your native language, you’re limiting your store’s potential for growth. If you intend to tap into Amazon’s other global marketplaces, you’re going to need to translate your listings. Here are our five steps to global selling on Amazon.

1. Start with good product listings

First things first, before you even think about translation, it’s important to have high quality listings. Like any area of translation, content preparation is extremely important. Because translation quality depends on what you put in, ensure all information is well written and presented in the source language for maximum impact.

2. Select your marketplace(s)

Amazon currently operates in 11 online marketplaces, allowing you to grow your business internationally in many different geographic markets.

Amazon Global Marketplaces
Source: Amazon Investor Relations (2015)

Whether you’re selling in Germany or Japan, each Amazon marketplace presents its own unique challenges. You’ll need to do some homework to determine which marketplace is best suited for your business.

Take the following questions into consideration:

  • What does the local competition in the marketplace look like?
  • Are there product specifications that would impact where you sell (e.g. different sizing, voltage discrepancies)?
  • Do your products comply with all taxes and legal considerations?


3. Choose which products to sell

A natural approach is to translate all your bestselling products in your home marketplace. But will this be successful in new marketplaces? There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing your products for international markets. The culture, climate and demographic all contribute to customer demand in any locale.
Consider translating a small subset of your catalog to test out in foreign languages. This allows you to try things out on a smaller scale without making a huge investment.

4. Localize your offering

After you polish your listings and decide which products to sell, you’ll want to get high quality translations. It’s important you work with a translation partner you trust, that will take all cultural differences into consideration when translating your content.

Using the right words means that when customers search in local terms, your products will still pop up in search results. For example, in the UK, athletic shoes are called trainers while they’re referred to as sneakers in the US. If you’re using different words than the end customer, they may never see your products, meaning you’ll lose the sale before you even begin. Terminology isn’t the only thing you’ll want to consider, as sizing standards may also differ between locales. Make sure you have sizes that make sense to the customer.

Essentially, you need to make it as easy as possible for people worldwide to find your products, and quickly understand everything they need to know in order to make a purchase.

5. Iterate and scale

Congratulations—you’re selling internationally! Now it’s time to fine-tune your approach based on your learnings. This is the time to listen closely, and pay attention to your international customer activity. Based on your performance, you may find it’s worthwhile to expand into additional markets, or grow to sell more products in your new market(s).
Selling on Amazon is great, but imagine how you could increase your business if you could sell to customers in other countries. By translating your Amazon product catalog into different languages, you’ll be able to maximize your Amazon store’s potential and grow sales exponentially.

Gengo makes the process of translating and updating multilingual product listings easy and affordable. Interested in learning more? Contact our sales team for more information—we’re happy to help.

Go global with Gengo’s people-powered translation platform.

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Alex Nguyen

The author

Alex Nguyen

Alex crafts and coordinates content for Gengo’s marketing team. Based in San Francisco after a brief stint in Tokyo, she loves all things culture and design. When not at Gengo, she’s likely brushing up on her Japanese, letting loose at indie electronic shows or trying out new ice cream spots in the city.

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