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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_1: Welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not and Amy Wiis. Mm And here we go. Andy [00:00:14] spk_0: Fantastic. [00:00:19] spk_1: Hey, what's up everybody? This is Andy or not. Amy is not with us today. She's under the weather. But we are super happy and excited to have uh, Andy Hooper on today. Andy thank you so much for being on. [00:00:31] spk_0: No worries. Thank you very much for having me. Uh, best wishes to Amy Holmes gets better soon. [00:00:35] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like she's, she's just uh, you know, uh, taking care of herself with an abundance of caution, but I'm glad she's doing that. Health is always important. Uh, if you healthy, give thanks for that and if somebody around you is not make sure you're offering a helping hand. Uh, Andy we love to start out with a little bit of background, you know, street cred why, why you are, where you are and what, why you're doing what you're doing. So if you could give us some background, maybe, you know, as little or as much as you like, maybe you know where you're born, if you went to school, if you went to school of hard knocks, kind of your journey to where you are today, [00:01:12] spk_0: wow. Okay. Yes. So for most of you listening, clearly my accent is not a states based accident. So that's the first thing. We should probably resolve straight away. So I'm based in the UK. I live in the UK and live in the UK. Most of my life, I grew up just north of London, which most people will probably be aware of. And I went to school, went to college, typical sort of stuff and left school and went into retail. I went into retail. I was okay at school. Um, you know, I sort of passed my exams, but I didn't really fit with this. Um, I just wanted to be out working in a nutshell. As soon as I went to work, it all just clicked all of a sudden stranger. That happens, isn't it? And um, yeah, when it went into retail work, some of the largest department stores in the country here in the UK, did management training schemes and got on that, then went into cells direct sales And then got a bit bored with that and then went all sailing around the world for 10 years, which was, uh, epic. Well, honestly, so I sort of took my time out when, when I say time out for the first time out or not, I don't know. Uh, but I want to talk sailing around the world. So it gave me a huge opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, uh, in different environments around the world, things, which gave me a unique perspective on life. So not only did I have the retail side and sound site also, then embedded coaching into what I do and how I do it. And I think the thing that I've always loved is coaching people, working with people to develop whatever they're doing. And in the end I then ended up working in sort of the world of sailing. And part of my role was to support people in developing sailing centres, olympic people into olympic sailing and things like that. So that's sort of where I ended up and my role there was to work with small businesses to help them to grow sailing in the country, that was the overall goal. And then I got a bit bored of that and thought, well I'll tell you what, I need to earn some extra cash. I did wedding photography, I did three D printing figures. Um, I set up a sports consultancy. I was selling products on amazon, little silicon watches, flipping stuff on Ebay and you see where this is all starting to go down the route of um, started getting embedded into the world of e commerce, who started selling stuff on amazon. Um, I enjoyed selling stuff on amazon, but I'm much more service focused than products focus. So the only finding new products in china, although I've done it in a really excitement. Um, what excites me, service based things, helping people to succeed, that coaching element and seeing what happens. So long story short, we, we ended up ended up, I ended up with a business where I saw an opportunity to sports sellers, typically us based sellers expanding into europe and you know, it was looking at the struggles they were having and saying, well, hey, you've got some awesome products, Are you not selling them here? There was a case of what, what, what do we need to do to sports centers to get epic products here in europe. And every day I speak to sellers, I'm like, what do you sell? I'm like, oh no, there goes my amazon account, get a hammering again because I get so excited about these products, I've got to have that in my life. Um and basically we went around over the last five years basically solving all of the pines, the seller is expanding into europe. We are essentially what we have now, Which is a one stop shop. So now the ceo of global e commerce experts, we successfully expand e commerce sellers into europe, making them the next category king basically doing everything along the journey. So whether it be shipping, customs, B A. T compliance products, everything, warehousing, UK, europe, we do everything because basically I, I feel compelled to solve the problems so that people can expand quicker and faster and he does that give you a very quick five minutes, maybe two minutes maybe. You know, [00:05:44] spk_1: that was perfect. I love it. Sailing. Oh that's, you know, I'm, I grew up in Hawaii and uh, you know, never did sailing. We did a lot of deep sea fishing though. My dad had a boat. I was lucky enough to be able to go out and you know, pulling some pretty large fish. So that was a lot of fun. But I can remember, I mean I was also, you know, it was usually when I was a kid sometimes as a young adult, I enjoyed it, but that kind of boating, you know, I've never really done the sailing thing. I mean a couple of times, you know, like on vacation and stuff, but uh, it looks epic. I just, I don't know if I have the patience for, you know, being out in the, in the hot sun uh like half the day like, you know, doing all that kind of stuff. So I don't know, but one of these days, you know, well maybe you have to give it a try when my kids get older, but right now like I said, I have five businesses, right? I have my three Children and then my my two other businesses, the Children are probably the hardest. [00:06:37] spk_0: Yeah, I totally agree. I mean Hawaii what a fabulous place. And I do a lot of windsurfing as well. The windsurfing is a bit of a mecca for, sorry, hawaii is a bit of a mecca for wind service. I've not quite made it there yet, but maybe one day when I've retired and you know I can chill out. [00:06:53] spk_1: Yeah. Looking back on my childhood I was I was super lucky. I grew up you know like 10 minutes I could walk to one of the best surf beaches in Hawaii and and things like that. So yeah I was pretty spoiled [00:07:03] spk_0: epic. I'm incredibly jealous. [00:07:06] spk_1: Yeah going back to visit is always fun. I I definitely miss it more and more the older I get. Um but we absolutely were in Idaho now we love it here. So we're we we moved out from northern California last year and it's epically beautiful here. So we're super happy to be here alright back to amazon enough about us folks um and what are the biggest challenges one expanding or starting to sell on on, you know amazon outside of the U. S. You know, I know that, you know, that's probably one of them. Uh you know, what are some of the big pitfalls and some of the things when you're talking to clients and people looking to expand that are just like, you know, I'd really like to expand. But you know like what are some of their but [00:07:47] spk_0: okay, so there's a few things to piece together. So you've got business compliance and you've got product compliance. Business compliance is things like The 80, what money have you got paid to the government? And where the next thing is the product compliance? Is the product compliant with the regulations? It's not just the case of get my products and off they go. And that's probably the biggest hurdle people fought into because everyone knows ah rephrase that a lot of amazon sellers know that when you expand into your, is this V. A. T. Thing that they've got to get their head will. Well they fall foul of is the product compliance? Well, I've got the V. A. T. Send the product and off it goes okay. There's like a few things that people need to consider. And you know, to be honest, people overcomplicate it, the charge as much money as possible to solve the problem. Um All of these things are particularly difficult to solve. Obviously if you've got the right partners who know what they're doing and work with thousands of seven. So the V. A. T. Is one thing like the key thing to understand that the vehicle of your business compliance is I don't need to self an entity. You don't need a bank account. You don't even need to come here. Like that's the key thing. And first thing to say, V. A. T register your business, which basically means giving your US based business a ticket that says I can sell here and I can sell their own you legally. And what it means is I'm going to give some money to the government when on the way in and on the way out. Right? And you know, the key thing to think base wherever you fulfill your products from, you need to be V. A. T. V, which in another, there's a whole load of rules around that that get difficult, but in essence, you're gonna need to pay the eight where you fulfill your products from and typically more so, coming out past july in most places where your shipping them to In Europe, right? First of the 18, you know, straightforward, really easy. If you've got the right people to support you, it's easy. The product compliance, though, is much more in debt depending on your product, depends on the on the type of compliance in me, virtually everything the some form of compliance. So let's take some typical products. So a typical set of myself, an electrical product. So they need to see mark or in the UK now U. K. C. A. Mark. So they need some form of compliance and certification around that. They might set a supplement. Again, a supplement. They need a food business operator and that the ingredients of the product are probably very different. The regulations that are in the States, for example, in the States, you just put a dietary supplement. Think that's why amazon Street that you can't say that in the U. K. Has to be a food supplement. Now, actually, there's a very small difference, but it would mean the difference between amazon pulling all your products off the shelf and making them unkillable infantry and removing that skew and we all know the hassles that comes with. When was that? Um Then you've got cosmetics, then you've got you've got medical products, then you've got general product classification toys and the list goes on [00:11:16] spk_1: alright. People know like some of the hardest products are of course anything you put in your mouth, right? Like any consumable medication uh supplements. Uh And then also kids write anything involved with kids is usually pretty hard. Um Or anything that's dangerous, you know fire knives, lithium batteries. You know those are seemed like correct me if I'm wrong. But those are kind of the big ones that are people are going to have the hardest time with [00:11:41] spk_0: definitely. And there's certain things that can be sold in one country but they can't in another. So we've got a client I was talking to the other day, they sell three products. They sell stun guns, pepper spray and the baby product of some sort how those how the baby is in there. I I don't have no idea uh [00:12:03] spk_1: the same brand. [00:12:04] spk_0: Yeah. But nonetheless, so for example, you know the stun guns and pepper spray can be sold in the U. K. But it can be sold in Germany. So there are walls, the regulations are european regulations. There's a Brexit implication there there are some anomalies like in the UK you can't sell real fur but in France you can now there's not a lot tell us that sell rule for these. Uh huh. There are anomalies too though and you need to know what they are because you want to make sure before you expand you can expand to and that's the critical party, where can you actually expand your products to and where does that make the most sense? [00:12:49] spk_1: Yeah those are those are a lot of good points. Um So when I looked into it, you know I expanded into the U. K. And and a few other markets in europe and for me it was one of those things where I was like you know the the effort didn't seem like it would uh scale for us, right? So but back then you know we didn't this was years ago, you know we didn't have somebody like you to kind of guide us through that that whole journey and maybe make some things easier. But um in in dabbling there I did notice some some you know there are definitely more opportunities there if you know what you're doing in terms of you know a lot less uh you know amount of seller's a lot less, who know what they're doing in terms of like S. Ceo. And things like that. So um what are some of the opportunities that you know, sellers can find in in some of these alternative markets? I'm calling them alternative, even though they're not just outside of the US because most of our audiences us uh a lot in Australia and all over. But anyway, um what are what are some of the opportunities that that sellers will find in those markets? [00:13:50] spk_0: I think that there's a range of different areas. So you're the great thing is because they're they're different countries, you know with the with europe you've got, who counts the numbers in which way you count the number, you've got between 5 to 700 million people that you can expand to in europe. Now, when you compare that to the north american market, that's a lot more. But that number one, that's the first thing The downside today is 27 countries, Therefore is brutally 27 languages. So there are some issues with that alone that people have to result. But what it comes with that is the opportunities because if you if you're selling a product, what might sell well really well in the UK might not sell as well in Germany, there might be more um might have more seasonal products that might be better for the french and the german market and not the english market. So their their their opportunities with those different areas of those different markets. And the other thing off the back of is that the people, they expand just on and on are just one type of center. The people that actually succeed are the ones that taken on the channel approach and things like, you know, when you're expanding into into the UK, amazon is the biggest marketplace, but there's several others and every other country is exactly the same. So what happens is everyone's that will have expanded to europe, where have you expanded on amazon? Okay, so you haven't quite expanded, expanded, You've reached a new audience and you've reached a new market totally. Unless, let's be honest, when you're doing that to straight to start away Going from Amazon two, Amazon is the best way of doing that because you know, it simple is home from home. Alright. Yes, there's a few tweaks, right? Still essential isn't quite the same, but broadly it's the same thing. And what comes off the back of that is that okay? I need to actually launching other markets. The opportunity is also the other marketplaces that you're involved in. What it means is that with your product there are certain products they're going to sell really well in some areas. But seasonal products him to do really well because the season slightly extended in certain areas and then you've got hold, you've got much colder areas but warmer areas and you can be really, really key with your products. The other thing is that there's not as many centers, not as competitive. That's the first thing with the influx of the way that um the government are taking V. A. T. What they're doing is they're taking V. A. T. S. Source. Well that means is is if I sell my product on amazon That the products 10 lb, Amazon's taking the 20% and giving it to the government straight away. Now, what was happening was there were lots of sellers from further away in different areas of the world. Should we stay the sentence that we all struggle with in certain places That perhaps weren't as compliant as what they could be. They were V- 80 registered. They were never given the 20% back to the government. So what it means is prices in the UK and Germany have shot up broadly 20% overnight with Brexit. What's happened is all of the people in the UK have gone, it's too difficult to sell in europe. Everyone in europe has gone, it's too difficult to sell in the UK because that cross border, that everyone in the States that's listening to this has done it. Lou retton. No one in the UK and europe have done it because it was just too difficult for the religious can fathom the mistakes. They just have to switch what they're doing slightly. And it's on overnight. So not only have you got a reduction of sellers from the Far east, you've got reduction in the cellars from the UK and europe And the prices have gone up broadly, 20%. All of a sudden you got less sellers, 20% more margins broadly. Not in every category, but in some, uh, and all of a sudden you got less sellers. So actually the opportunity straight away, only in his first six months of the year, been happy, [00:18:06] spk_1: interesting. So, so I didn't know this unless I'm understanding you wrong. So has Europe done something similar to like in the us? I know here it was it was such a headache because you had 50 states with 50 tax rules and well, you know, you know, all this crazy stuff. And they finally, after, you know, years, we're doing the marketplace facilitator where, you know, majority of states now just tell amazon you take it off the top and you pay us, right? So is that same kind of policy happening in europe right now? [00:18:35] spk_0: In some areas? So not in everywhere. Not yet. It will. So your nexus type approach, you know, if you for US sellers nexus, he's a little bit like having all the different countries doing, they're all different, their own VT, right? It's probably the same thing. It's just do something different. So amazon is doing that in in the UK, They are doing that in Germany. It will start to happen in France italy spain as we go down. They're not doing it yet. It does still mean you need to be the 80 registered because you need to reclaim your import VAT and everything else. And if you sell off of Amazon then they meet additional stuff as well. Um, but yeah, in answer your question, yes, they are doing it. Um it's not everywhere, it's not perfect yet, but it is moving in that direction, so it does mean everyone's compliant because it's taken its toll. [00:19:34] spk_1: Yeah, I love that. I think that was one of the other main issues uh you know that it was like I said, just like here in the U. S. I mean I saw so many different facebook groups, things like that, being like, you know, I you know, I have a uh you know, I'm from Missouri, but you know, some of my products are f being to California, you know, it was just an epic mess. And so I'm so glad that here they finally uh you know, made it easier on everyone really when you were in the grand scheme of things just collect directly from the marketplace. So I'm really glad to hear that, that's kind of where that's trending over there in europe. The other thing that I'm interested in, which I did, I have seen uh quite a bit of is you you alluded to the fact that um you know, there's a lot of products that you're not able to sell overseas in certain markets that you are in the U. S. Vice versa because there's just so many different, you know, intricacies and things like that. Um What are there any other major terms of service? I know that each country is different, which is a whole another, you know, issue in itself. But are there any major differences in amazon terms of service? Um if somebody is expanding to these markets that they should be aware of? [00:20:44] spk_0: Not really in all honesty, the terms of service, whilst they're slightly marginally different in each country. Thank you. Its terms of service in the terms of service. Like, you know, the things that you and I would expect in a state of the same in the UK. You know, if you go and get unless talk about fake reviews because it's topical and it's happened recently. If you go and do reviews like that, you're gonna get pulled down. You know, if you're putting inserts into the product and you're selling, sending them to your website and all that and they find out you're gonna get pulled, you know, so there are, there are lots of things that are very, very similar. There's no anomalies that you would come across other than making sure your products compliant and the compliance is different. Yeah, that's really the key thing that it's broadly the same. Not pay attention to the rules without any shadow of doubt, but there's nothing that someone would see thinkers majorly different. [00:21:43] spk_1: Right? I mean, the biggest thing that, you know, I continuously tell sellers is, you know, use some common sense, right? I mean if if it feels a little shady, it probably is. Right. So I mean, you know, that's one of the things that you really need to go to and and look at, you know, amazon is using not only humans but ai now to look at, you know, if you're doing a new product launch in your, You know, paying people by paypal, you know, 100% off and then, you know, doing messenger follow ups asking for reviews and things like that. They're tied into all that stuff, you know, with cookies with partnerships with a lot of people don't know, but like amazon and facebook share data. So the, you know, there's a lot of ways for them to be able to catch you if you're cheating. So I mean honestly the better idea is to just learn how to be a good marketer, you know, in terms of, you know when you launch, you know have I have diverse traffics and graphic, I mean definitely do the rebates and discounts and all that stuff. Everybody else is doing it, you have to compete but use some common sense and say, you know, instead of trying to do 100 rebates, maybe do three or five, you know, 10, a reasonable amount which anybody at amazon would go, oh that's reasonable. You know, companies all over do rebates and things like that. So you know, be reasonable. Um and I think that's the main point to pull away from that. Probably going into uh, into the european market as well. [00:23:00] spk_0: Something else I'm [00:23:00] spk_1: interested about is expectations, right? I know that when I was when we visited the UK and and Italy and some of the other places, it was like 10 years ago now at least. But what we noticed is shopping there is very different. Nothing was open on Sundays, selection was extremely sparse. Uh my wife had like burned her like like I don't know what she did but she like broke her straightening iron or something and we had to like go to like the train station in London to like find a store that was open to get her one. And it was just crazy. So what are are there any big differences in expectations from shoppers in the UK and europe compared to shoppers in the US? [00:23:41] spk_0: I think that the biggest thing, so a lot of those things have changed in all fairness, you know a different part of the world are UK London in sunday's. I mean it's just like any other day of the week, most of the UK is very, very commercialized. There are parts of Italy fine France, Germany, you know, where they are not like that at all. You know, it's still very, very traditional this monday to friday saturday. Some shops still shut on monday, sunday monday because they're open on saturday, you know, they spain and Italy still have a siesta, they break at lunchtime. I mean like they're still doing these things. So yes, those things are different. But I think the key thing from an online e commerce perspective is that expectations are slightly different. So next day prime delivery still keep no doubt about that, but the expectation of returns is slightly different. So in the state you get quite a lot of returns in percentage ways what we were here. Because what happens is, is it's just you're just geared up for picking things up from the doorman, the concierge, right? We just don't have that question. So sending stuff back is more difficult. I've got a garage full of stuff has never gone back. They should have gone back because it was just too complicated to send back. Amazon is trying to make that easier. But actually that's a bonus that actually you don't get as many returns coming back because something doesn't quite fit or whatever actually is a percentage that doesn't happen as opposed to and things that change. There are things that give, you know, like Some of the language is different. Of course there's 27 languages, you know, even english stakes. You know, we call things different lift elevator, who hood trousers pants, like we could go on and on about those. Um so there are definitely differences that people need to consider. And there are things that when you're doing your listing as an example, the keywords you really need to focus on to make sure you're delivering the right keywords. Um there's lots of nuances that you need to consider that there that's more important than thinking about necessarily culture in some places. [00:26:13] spk_1: That's that's super interesting and a really good point. Um in terms of margins, right? People, a lot of people, especially newer sellers, don't ever even look at those numbers to see that, you know, this is my profit, this is my, you know what I'm making, but then they don't take into account all those returns which really can eat into uh those margins. Um so I'm curious about types of brands or kind of the, but the clients that you see that were being really successful and maybe there's some that aren't, are there any big things that stand out that some are doing right and some are not doing, you know and some that may not be doing things right. [00:26:50] spk_0: Yeah. I think I think the key thing is is the business up for success in the first, you know who's running it, how is it set up? How does it geared up? So You know if you are doing a $100 million US. You still you will be able to expand, it's just not going to be as easy because you don't have the time and the resource to make it happen. Um If you're doing over a million, we the majority of sellers we see this expand expand successfully Are doing over $1 million dollars to start with. Um It doesn't mean to say that brands coming and doing less than wouldn't be, But if you just turned over your first six figures and you've done 100,000 in the US like I've made it, I'm ready to go. You're not ready to expand to Europe. Okay. And there's lots of reasons for that. Unless you are Fast emerging brand and you've done 100,000 in the first three weeks, I would take an exception. Right? Yeah expanding to a new market, this cost involved, there's time involved and there's two ways of looking at those. You can go on Youtube and watch every single one of the videos we've done and that will teach you everything you need to do, no doubt whatsoever. Um Will you be able to do the V. A. T. Compliant? Probably not. There's gonna be some cost there. But have I've done everything on Youtube for you to follow step by step? Damn right. We have we've got our success pathway and if you follow the success pathway, you'll be able to do it. So what I'd say, if you're doing less than half a million, let's say actually used the videos, use the tutorials, you've probably got the time to do it, right? But actually as you scale your business, do you want to be doing, you want the fast route rather than you don't be spending, watch him and listen to me for 40 hours, 50 60 70 hours on how to expand to europe, what you wanna do? Say, hey Andy, what do I need to do? And I go, this, this, this, this and you go, okay, wicked, what's the fastest way to make that happen? This is this okay, here's a check, make it happen and I'm being a bit flipping with that. But you know, you, the thing that we see is people doing over a million of the key after that you need a brand. So people that have brands that are trademarked brands, they can get enhanced brand content a plus content and get all of that sort of stuff. They're the ones that are exceeding expectations right now. Those who have got private label but aren't trademarked a selling but I don't think they're excelling. And I think people that resell unless you've got unique products that you can resell that no one else is reselling because of you finding something in arbitrage in the States and shipping it to the U. K. And then selling. It just doesn't work. Um Unless you're working directly with the manager we've got people to sell you um little sort of figurines and stuff that works the individual. They're very unique. They come directly from sell out the supplier. That was all right. But not if you're going into wal mart and buying 40 of something and then send it to us. It's just not I think there's a there's a handful of things there and some people can cherry pick the ones that work best for them. I think. I guess we were starting to it. [00:30:15] spk_1: Yeah, I think uh more and more. I mean, every single year I've seen it progress. I've been doing this since about 2011. And uh, if you don't have a unique product, it's, you know, it's gonna be harder and harder. Not only because big money has now moved into amazon, right? You have all these VCS and all these giants like the ratio and and all these big companies that are coming in and buying up the smaller mom and pop type companies that have, you know, done over a million. And and kind of there's this uh, you know, uh, trying to think of the word uh, you know, all these little companies coming together as a kind of a conglomerate And you know, they have a lot of power because now they've got, you know, a company of, you know, I think it was less than it was up to like 500 people or something. And they've got, you know, a guy who is like the top PBC guy, you know in the, in the States and they got the top, you know, PR guy and they got they have all these resources for all these, you know, it might be 50 different brands um, that started as you know, separate entities that are now working together. So they all now can share all these resources, all this data, all this trial and error, all the S E o All these PVC exactly. They have all this data now that they can farm and then you know improve upon. So if you are a smaller seller these days you really really have to up your game and you have to be agile and you have to get unique products. I think that's the big differentiator right? Because in those companies whenever you get too big there's a lot of moving parts right? Red tape which means that idea to launch is much longer. That that that process is much longer wears a small, you know, somebody is small, you can go to a local, you know say a machine shop in the States, you have this new product, you could have a machine it you know and pump it out in a week. You know, if if you were good at it um and get it to market. So I think that's uh you know, a great point in terms of, you know, building a brand having unique products and then at the million mark I think is where you actually start really understanding how amazon works. Thanks for tuning in to Part One of this episode, join us every Tuesday at one PM pacific standard time for live Q. And a. And bonus content after the recording at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller S C O dot com [00:32:28] spk_0: and amazing at home dot com.