No matter if you are a brand company or an e-commerce company, Amazon should be on your watchlist. Amazon is the world’s biggest online retail company and hosts the leading platform for third-party vendors to reach customers. While Amazon has been dominating online retail in the USA for a long time, for us in the Nordics Amazon is just going to be making its mark. Amazon is no stranger to European markets. After all, it has been in the UK and German markets since 1998, but its first store in Nordics has just been confirmed to be opened in Sweden. Needless to say, the Nordic e-commerce landscape is going to be radically shaken.
While Amazon will undoubtedly be seen as a threat and will be taking market share from a lot of companies, Amazon isn’t a traditional online store. Amazon’s Marketplace enables anyone to sell on Amazon, right next to Amazon-branded products. In fact, Jeff Bezos revealed already in 2017 that third-party sellers were selling more than half of all units sold on Amazon. In other words, Amazon Marketplace is bigger than Amazon by itself.
Going international with Amazon
Selling on Amazon is not easy, but when done properly it will ease your internationalisation efforts. After all, you can place your wares and manage your operations on all Amazon’s Europe stores with just one account. Amazon will take care of the placement problem, and if you use Fulfilment by Amazon, a lot of your logistical hurdles are solved as well, with a price attached of course. Selling in Amazon includes a lot of strategic choices, and using an experienced consultancy will help you to kick-start your efforts. We have only good things to say about Dash Retail and its founder Markus Varsikko, who is truly an expert on Amazon.
While selling via Amazon will enable finding customers and gives easier access to the market, to truly succeed in one or many markets you must offer unbeatable customer experience. As is the case with any webstore, your product descriptions (or listings in Amazon terms) must be compelling and sellable, your advertising (yes, Amazon has ads!) must be properly targeted and interesting, and your customer service must be top-notch quality (no, Amazon will not handle all of the customer service tickets for you). The last one might come as a surprise, but it is essential for selling in Amazon. In fact, if you choose to use your own warehouses and logistics to fulfil the orders, Amazon requires you to answer all customer support messages in 24 hours.
Plan your multilingual customer support
The requirement for 24-hour reply-time might not seem to be that big, but it can be challenging when you expand to new marketplaces. First of all, you need a dedicated customer support tool, such as Zendesk, to handle the messages and to collect best practice answers ready to be used again. Forwarding messages from the Amazon to the Zendesk will enable you to use Zendesk’s triggers and business rules, as well as create a transparent view for your whole organisation about customer support issues. Connecting Amazon to Zendesk is easily done with f.e. ChannelReply service.
But just connecting a better tool will not solve all the issues. Handling customer support in German and English is one thing, but adding French, Dutch, Spain and Italy will mean a whole lot of complications if not properly anticipated. Hiring personnel just to answer support messages in the correct language is often not a feasible way to operate, at least when you are just starting with a new market. Transfluent’s Zendesk App will be helping you there. Just plug our service into your Zendesk and you can enable multilingual customer support for all markets, even if your customer support staff only speaks one language. This will help you to focus your effort on truly outstanding customer support, not on how to deliver the message in the customer's language.
Focus on growing, not maintaining
As the legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once said: “do what you do best and outsource the rest”. Using supporting services will definitely enable you to get where you are going faster and more reliably. One way of doing that will be to use Amazon to reach the customers and to handle the needed technical infrastructure, let Dash Retail to figure out how to get the most out of the Amazon platform, use Zendesk to organise and automate your customer support, and let us on Transfluent figure out the proper languages your customers will want to communicate with you. You focus on selling your products, we help you to reach your targets.
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