Why, How and Tips to Kickstart Your Global Selling Journey

Seller Interview with Debbie and Clarence: Why, How and Tips to Kickstart Your Global Selling Journey on Amazon.com

icon: listing
How do you become a successful Amazon seller?
Clarence (Co-Founder of YumOmNom) & Debbie (Founder of Rui Smiths) share their selling experience so you can learn how to kickstart your Amazon Global Selling journey.
Those who love the destination usually will not reach the destination. But those who love the journey will find themselves reaching multiple destinations.

– Clarence

Amazon: How easy was it to get started selling on Amazon.com and are there any tips for new Amazon sellers?

Debbie: When I started in 2014, it was relatively difficult as I had to figure everything out myself. There was no community based in Singapore. But the reason why I still wanted to start a business on Amazon was because I felt starting a business via ecommerce was going to be easier to start compared to a brick-and-mortar store.

Clarence: All business is hard, so why not invest my energy and effort into something that will last for many years to come and grow my assets? It’s not just about selling products, but also building my brand. I have also heard of many founders who sold their brands to investors for a handsome exit too. Therefore, the landscape is not very easy to start in, but it’s totally possible. You just need to put in the work and be committed to this journey.
fb icon

Amazon Global Selling
Facebook Community Group

New to selling on Amazon.com? Join the group to ask any of your questions, network with other sellers and gain tips.

Amazon: What do you enjoy most about being an Amazon seller and what keeps you motivated?

Clarence: Living in Singapore and selling on Amazon.com, because when you are sleeping, your US business is making money for you and sales are coming in!

Debbie: I get full control of my time; time with my family and pets – and living a life with more freedom. I like that I can take my laptop to the beach on holiday, still be making sales, and talk to my supplier from literally anywhere.

Amazon: What are some of the misconceptions of selling on Amazon.com (e.g. do you really need the find the perfect product before you start selling, when is “ready” being truly ready)?

Debbie: A few months ago, I picked 3 new products to launch for my brand. In my mind, I thought I knew which products would do better, but when I put these products out, the product I thought would do the worst actually did the best. So, when it comes to choosing products, you don’t actually know what people like until you try and sell to them. Hence, there is no “right” time to start selling. If you have a product, start selling and iterate from there.

Clarence: I don’t think you will ever be ready, and that’s entrepreneurship. You won’t really know how customers will react until you put your product out there, get feedback from your customers, and improve on that process. In fact, many businesses test their products in the real world, and that’s how they gradually refine their way to where they are today. That doesn’t mean that product research is not important, but you shouldn’t let product research and finding the “perfect” product paralyze you from starting to sell on Amazon.

Not sure what to sell? Check out our resources on product research and Product Opportunity Explorer:

Amazon: When it comes to product sourcing, are there any pitfalls to consider?

Clarence: There are different mechanics to how different sourcing agents work. For example, a sourcing agent I used to work with did not release the information of the factory. They didn’t tell me the name, email, WeChat ID, etc. so I had no way of contacting the direct supplier. Whenever I wanted to make an order, I had to go through this agent. However, I found out later that the agent marked up the price per unit. Since then, I make sure that any agent I work with provides me with the direct contact of the supplier.

Amazon: What roles do branding and customer experience play in your success as an Amazon seller?

Debbie: When I first started out, I focused more on putting the listing out, as well as reviews and trials, instead of logo, packaging, or brand voice – since I thought most people online wouldn’t be able to see or feel the actual product. Later on as I started to make some profit, I then focused more on branding, such as registering for Amazon Brand Registry to get my brand trademarked and to enjoy brand benefits.

On the other hand, customer experience was extremely important to me, even from the start. Whenever customers had issues or questions, I made sure to respond with very detailed emails. My responses were very generous and friendly as these customers don’t get to see my face or touch my products before they buy it. If they have any issues, I would try and solve it for them or give a full refund if needed, to maintain customer trust.

Clarence: Amazon is a very customer obsessed company. Hence, that is the mindset you need to have going in as an Amazon Seller. When you give good customer experience, Amazon treats you better and your customers will treat you better as well! They will come back to buy from you again and again.

Branding is also very important to me, which resulted in us having 52 sales in my first 7 days of a new product launch, despite having only 2 reviews. We enrolled under Brand Registry, decked out our product listings with A+ content, used Vine Voices, differentiated, and were able to beat other competitors – even those with thousands of reviews. In my opinion, other branding elements like logos that do not directly affect a customer’s experience are not as important when starting out.

Need help launching your brand on Amazon.com?

Amazon: What mindset should new Amazon sellers based in Singapore have prior to selling?

Debbie: “I’m in it for the long run. I’m here to learn, whatever comes up I’ll take it as a learning for the future.”

I make sure my capital does not run out by not spending unnecessarily too early in the game. I try to buy products in small quantities and I try to source for lower priced Service Providers. I gave myself the space to fail, where let’s say a product does not sell, I still have enough capital left over to try something else.

It's also important for new sellers to consider the different business models that is best for your business e.g. do you want to be a brand owner, reseller or dropshipper, before starting their journey to sell on Amazon.

Clarence: There’s a saying that comes to mind: “Those who love the destination usually will not reach the destination. But those who love the journey will find themselves reaching multiple destinations.” Really be passionate about selling on Amazon and never give up until you get that no. 1 position on Amazon.com. That “gung-ho” spirit is what will get you to your business success.

Amazon: How do you obtain trademarks for your brand? If you’re looking to sell in the US, do you need to register your trademark in Singapore or the US?

Debbie: I hired a trademark lawyer through Amazon’s Service Provider Network and registered my trademark in the US in about 8 months. This trademark then allows me to be brand registered in most stores around the world. However, the main reason why people obtain trademarks is to protect their intellectual property and brand. Thus, ideally, you should be trademarking in every country you want to sell in, if you have the money to.

Learn more about trademarking by watching our previous livestream where we got a US lawyer to dive deeper into this topic:

Amazon: Which store would you recommend Amazon sellers to start selling in?

Debbie: I approach my business very differently from other Amazon sellers I’ve met, as I sell in 13 Amazon stores, including the US, UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Singapore. I started out in the US, but I wanted to learn more about international business. So expanded to the UK, and it got me a lot more sales. That was the catalyst for me to continue expanding globally.

Amazon: How do you decide which product category to sell in?

Clarence: I started out in the baby lighting category, and I also had products in lighting, home and kitchen, and more; before finally achieving business success with YumOmNom (selling tamagoyaki pans). My approach is very data-driven where I look for opportunities to enter into a product categeory. So, if there is a need or demand, I will try to go for it. That’s why product research is so important especially for new Amazon sellers.

Amazon: How do you address compliance issues when selling in difference countries?

Debbie: I try to avoid products that require a lot of compliance, such as food products due to their expiry dates, products with chemical compounds, and products that need batteries or plugs. Hence, when I decided to start selling on Amazon, I wanted a product that was lightweight, easy to pack and ship, with no expiry date. This allowed me to store a lot of inventory at one go without taking up too much storage space and hence less cost. However, I have met a lot of successful Amazon sellers selling products like teas or electronics, so pick the one that you feel for and learn all about it to avoid compliance issues.

Amazon: Do you need to open bank accounts in every country you’re selling in?

Debbie: The good news is that a lot of online digital banks allow you to collect your profit in whatever currency they come in, so you do not have to open local bank accounts everywhere you sell. I personally use a few multi-currency accounts as I found out that banks have different fees for different types of transactions. Some rates are better when you receive money, others have better rates when you remit your earnings back to your local country. This allows me to have the flexibility in comparing prices to choose the best one for me.

Let us help you learn more about selling to Amazon.com

Access hundreds of millions of customers around the world with Amazon Global Selling!

Note: The information contained in this guide does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your legal, financial, tax, or other professional adviser. In addition, the content in this article is for information only and must not be construed as a guarantee of future results. Many factors influence the demand for a seller’s products, including price fluctuations, consumer demand shifts, and sellers remain responsible for determining the products they sell and their prices.
Quick Survey
Let us know if you found this article useful.

Begin your seller journey with Amazon today.

New to Amazon.com?
Professional Selling Plan Fee Promotion:
Pay USD$1 for 6 months instead of USD$39.99 a month*. Learn more.

Download our step-by-step Registration Guide.

Other topics you may want to check out

For selling on Amazon.com
Common Seller Registration Issues on Amazon.com
Have any issues during the registration process? From SIV to IPV to OTP, let us help you get registered as an Amazon Seller now!
For selling on Amazon.com
Brand Building Tips: How Singaporean Brand Aerospring Hydroponics Built their Brand on Amazon.com
Chief Operating Officer of Aeropsring Hydroponics, Mark Newton share some brand building tips on how he grew his humble Singapore brand to global success on Amazon.com.
© 2024, Amazon.com Services LLC.