TAS 213 How and When to Sell Your Products on Amazon Japan (step by step)

You may have noticed lately that Amazon is advertising within your seller account for their non-U.S. sales platforms. They are trying really hard to get current sellers to expand into different marketplaces. For some time Scott has been giving that option some thought but when he received an email from today’s guest, Nick Kemp, he was even more interested. Nick has been selling on the Amazon Japan marketplace for some time and is experiencing a good deal of success. In this conversation Scott and Nick chat about how it’s working, how he got into the Japanese market, and his road to private label success.

What do you do when your private label item is infringing on another’s patent?

Today’s guest was beginning to sell a lot of his product and decided that it was time to get more listings on Amazon. He chose a related items that was very unique because of its design and sourced it from a China supply company. But he soon discovered that the supplier had signed an agreement that they would not sell the product in the U.S. but hadn’t told him. He discovered that sad fact by receiving a letter from the patent owner’s attorney telling him he had to stop selling the product immediately or he would be sued. It was a $10,000 loss for him and he’s still recovering. Listen in to this conversation to get some tips on how you can avoid that sort of thing with your private label products.

Making money in the Amazon Japan marketplace faster than the U.S.

Within a very short amount of time after launching his products on the Japanese marketplace, Nick Kemp began to see sales. In his experience one of the advantages to selling on the Japanese marketplace is that you typically don’t have to get near as many reviews to begin selling your products. A well optimized listing seemed to be all it took and Nick was selling a good number of items per day within no time. On this episode Nick tells you how he began selling on the Japan marketplace step by step, so be sure to listen.

Ranking on page 1 within hours on the Amazon Japan market.

When Nick finally jumped through all the hoops to get his products listed in the Amazon Japan marketplace he wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. It was literally only a few hours after listing his products that his item was showing on the first page of the search results for his product niche. He was amazed, as most of us would be, and felt the impact of that in his sales almost immediately. But there are plenty of difficulties to face as well. You can hear Nick’s story on this episode of The Amazing Seller podcast.

Why the difficulties of getting on the Amazon Japan market are worth it.

If you’ve already experienced a good deal of success selling on the U.S. or U.K. marketplace and want to expand your sales, the Japan marketplace may be the way to go. Nick Kemp says that you’ll have to jump through certain hoops to make sure you’re doing so legally and in a way that works with the Japanese culture. That includes language barriers and other things as well. But he’s convinced that it’s worth doing simply because the Japanese marketplace is virtually untouched in terms of volume and competition. If you’re at that point of expansion, listen to what Nick has to share so you can assess the situation for yourself.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast.
  • [3:45] Who is Nick Kemp and how did he get started selling in the Amazon Japan marketplace?
  • [8:00] A first product flops because of patent issues.
  • [13:30] Getting into the Japanese marketplace on Amazon.
  • [17:00] Particular things needed to sell in Japan.
  • [19:20] How Nick researches sales prospects in the Japanese marketplace.
  • [21:13] Dealing with language issues: listings, products, labels, etc.
  • [24:38] Jumping into a super competitive niche in Japan.
  • [29:50] First steps to getting your products on the Amazon Japan marketplace.
  • [33:00] Why the hurdles of selling on Amazon are worth the price.
  • [40:52] How funds transfers and income works on the Japan marketplace.
  • [43:15] Nick’s future plans for his business pursuits.
  • [50:30] Final advice for people new to the Amazon marketplace.
  • [53:30] Assessing the right time to move to international marketplaces.

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 213

TAS 213 : How and When to Sell Your Products on Amazon Japan (step by step)

[00:00:03] Scott: Hey, hey what's up everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 213. Today, I am really excited to have my next guest on. What we are going to be talking on today is on how and when to sell your products on Amazon Japan and we are going to go through this step by step process, something that I am not currently doing but am very, very interested especially after this conversation…

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[INTRODUCTION]

that I had with Nick Kemp. He really broke everything down. Now he emailed me and said, “Scott, am a big fan of the podcast. I've been listening in for a long time. I have started on the Amazon US market or Amazon.com and I have also been selling on Japan, used to live in Japan,” and I will let him tell his story but really interested me because he said he was having pretty good success.

He also shares some of the products that he had sold, some of them that had flopped and going to talk a little bit on why he thinks that had happened and all that stuff. It’s a really, really good in depth conversation about this whole Japan market as far as on Amazon. I don’t know about you but in my account I have been seeing inside my seller's account that is, I have been seeing advertisements in a sense where Amazon is trying to get me to list my products on Japan and I just always kind of shrugged it off and said “Ah! Not right now.” I got to be honest. There are some hoops to jump through but Nick is going to break everything down and I got to be honest, it's really, really interesting and it’s got my wheels turning. A light bulb just kind of went on in my head.

I met a couple of other guys in Denver that are actually selling across multiple market places and that also interested me. It’s on my radar, definitely on my radar. Not sure if it’s the right time for me right now but for those who are listening, that are thinking to themselves, “You know what, this might be something I want to look into,” you are going to want to listen to this interview.

[00:02:02] Scott: You’re probably want to go and grab the show notes and the transcripts as well because we talk a lot about the step by step on what it takes, some of the hoops that you’re going to jump through, some of the obstacles that you could face but also the opportunity that is there and it is really an untapped market. Amazon wants to get more sellers in there, that's why you’re probably seeing these different things show up in your seller's account where they want you to start releasing your products there. There are just a lot of advantages to it and like I said I'm thinking about it, got my wheels turning and am not just sure if right this second is a good time but you'll hear me talk on the interview with Nick that am going to try to twist his arm and press him a little bit to help along with this and maybe even have him back on to break it down even deeper.

I'm going to stop rambling now so you guys can listen to this interview that I did with him. It’s a conversation, wasn’t really an interview. It was really me just having a conversation with him. That's what I said, I want to just pick your brain a little bit about this topic. Let's go ahead and do that. Before I do though, let me remind you guys about the transcripts. I just mentioned them but I should prior tell you where you get them, right. themazingseller.com/213. You will find them on the show notes, you will find any links, you will also find the transcripts which you can download if you prefer or you can just read them on the blog as well. Again that’s theamazingseller.com/213 and you can get everything there.

Alright guys, get ready because the light bulbs are going to start popping right here and Nick is going to break down exactly how he is selling on both market places and how you may want to do that as well. So enjoy this conversation that I had with Nick Kemp.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:03:45] Scott: Hey Nick! What’s going on my friend? How are you doing man?

[00:03:48] Nick: I’m doing great. Great to be chatting to you.

[00:03:51] Scott: Yeah. This is awesome. Am really excited to have you on. You reached out to me and really fascinated me with some of your story and the big thing that I wanted to discuss today and we can get people caught up, kind of your ups and downs and stuff but you are selling in the Japan market right now, Amazon Japan market right now as well as the US market, correct?

[00:04:15] Nick: That’s right. Yes.

[00:04:16] Scott: What I wanted to do is kind of hear more about that. I just kind of want to have that conversation with you and it just happens that there is going to be a few thousand people listening to us. I do but want to have that conversation… Not to make you nervous or anything but I want to have this conversation as though we are just talking about this because am interested in this and it's fascinating to me and it's not really talked about that much. I want to hear really about that market place and I also want to hear about how someone does it when they are not in that country let’s say because you're selling in the US and you’re not in the US currently. I mean you lived in Japan for how long?

[00:04:55] Nick: About ten years on and off. I am based in Melbourne Australia.

[00:04:58] Scott: You’re in Australia now?

[00:05:00] Nick: Yeah.

[00:05:00] Scott: Okay. I want to definitely dig into that. Why don’t we just get people caught up really quick? I mean we don’t have go into all of your back story but I mean you’re no stranger to selling stuff online. You were selling stuff online I believe and I will let you explain it but were selling stuff, basically teaching English in a sense. Right?

[00:05:19] Nick: Yes. I did teach English in Japan. I kind of knew that wasn’t really a great way to make money. I actually started my own school and that was alright. Then I realized that I should make a product. This is going back ten years ago. Initially it was a physical product and was quite big. It was like 8 CDs and we still sell it as a physical product but also as a downloadable product now. Then when I returned to Melbourne I really got into everything. You know, ebooks and membership sites, and different niches. Near the physical products I just thought it would be too out there and the ecommerce boom hadn't sort of happened yet. It's only happened in the last 2 or 3 years where you see all this niche ecommerce sites and then of course Amazon.

[00:06:16] Scott: Yeah. Let’s stop there for a second because you've got a very similar story to mine as far as like I kind of started with a brick and motor, started like we were teaching but we were actually doing photography and we were taking on clients, one on one and it was a great business model but then we started hearing about this online stuff and people teaching. This is gone back like you said just about ten years ago. Then that opened our eyes up. You've learned a lot through that process though. I mean by selling products online and stuff.

[00:06:49] Nick: Yes. I thought I didn’t have any issues with mindset or thinking it would be too hard, I thought, “Okay. I'll give this a crack and see what happens.”

[00:07:03] Scott: Sure. I mean learning marketing, I mean now thinking to yourself going into the Amazon space, I'm just trying to get people kind of like that. Like you don’t need that as your background but it does help. There is a lot of people listening that probably are saying, “Okay, I've tried the kindle books, I have tried the ebook route, I have tried membership site, I have done all that stuff,” and that stuff all does work by the way. It does work extremely well but the physical products, the reason why it interested me, and I don’t know maybe you tell me if I am wrong or maybe if you have a different take on this but for me, physical products wasn’t interesting at the time unless I can have other people do the work. Then when I heard about FBA that was kind of the big “aha” for me because it was like a digital product in a sense.

[00:07:44] Nick: Yes. For me it was similar. I thought if I could do this in the States and it goes well, I could do it in Japan and you know you’re not building out an entire website, you’re doing a listing, you’re driving traffic with their own sponsored products. That aspect seemed really easy. The only hard part really is, understanding a market and getting the right product and making sure you know your numbers so you are going to make a good net profit.

[00:08:15] Scott: Oh yeah! Lets dig into, what’s the market place that you went into first? Did you go into Japan or did you go into the US?

[00:08:24] Nick: I went into the US and the first product was a disaster.

[00:08:31] Scott: Okay. Let us talk about that.

[00:08:35] Nick: I thought if I'm going to do this I will start with a passion of mine first and just see how that goes. It was guitar related and I found this great product. It was really good and it was good price, shipping wasn't too expensive and I was selling it for about $35.

[00:09:02] Scott: Oh wow! Good. Okay.

[00:09:06] Nick: My first shipment I didn’t brand. I just thought let’s get it on Amazon and see what happens. Then I started getting sales and I started to brand. I will just tell you what it is because am not selling it any more. It was a really small portable guitar stand. It was doing okay. It wasn’t doing incredibly well but it was doing well enough to brand and have a really good shot at it.

[00:09:38] Scott: What is doing fairly well? Was it ten units a day, fifteen units a day, five units a day, what was…?

[00:09:43] Nick: About five.

[00:09:45] Scott: Five. Okay. It was selling for $35 and how much were you privately labeling that for like to Amazon. I mean how much were you spending on that product, to just get people an understanding.

[00:09:56] Nick: I think all that was like about $10 all my cost to pay, to get it over there, the fees but my ads were converting incredibly well. I thought “Okay, this is good, this is branded and push it harder,” and then I found out the company also made a Ukulele stand. I don't know if that's happening in the states but it's a booming in Australia, the Ukulele. I thought there was less competition so I’ll sell that as well. Then two days after my shipment arrived for like five hundred units of the stand and five hundred units of the Ukulele stand I got an email through Seller Central. Just basically I was violating a patent and referenced that patent number. It was a big concern. I thought “ooh”, and then on the following Tuesday I got a letter attached to an email and it was from a US attorney. It had all patents attached and basically saying they knew everything… It kind of shocked me.

They knew my supplier, they had found the product at the Nam Show in the States, spoken directly with the person from this company. Basically saying, “You're infringing on our patent, we don't want to see this in the States,” and apparently they promised they wouldn't sell to the States or sell to anyone with the intention of selling to the States. But they sold to me and obviously they knew I was shipping to the States.

[00:12:02] Scott: What happens at that point because now you've got a thousand units, you got five hundred of each and the other question is, what was really patented on it? Was it the shape? Was it the design? What was patented on it because I would just think a stand is stand? It has to be usually something that's unique about it that makes it patented.

[00:12:22] Nick: The way it opened up and the way it maintain the balance. It had a unique way that it opened out and it had the sort of back little legs that would fold out as well. That's what caught me. It was such a cool design. Long story short, after a lot of… I consulted with the patent law here which cost me a fortune and then in the end I thought it's not worth it. We thought it would be pretty hard for them to pursue me because I was based here but because they'd already gone to the trouble of getting an attorney to find me and write a letter. They were pretty motivated so we just decided, “Alright I'm going to have to take this as a punch to the guts and lose, it was about $10,000 sort of all up after the…”

[00:13:20] Scott: it's a big lesson right there.

[00:13:23] Nick: Yeah. I could have thrown it in. Then I thought, “Alright just going to get back on the horse.” What I did then was I decided I'd enter both Japan and America with the same product. I didn't sort of dump the whole guitar niche thing. Then I went into pets and I'm not selling this product either any more so I'd be sort of happy to share but was a good quality pet ball. We had sort of variations and different sizes and what was interesting with that product, we sort of sent them to both Japan and America at the same time. I actually, made the equivalent of sort of $5,000 more quickly in Japan that I did in the States. That was without giving any units away. In Japan, will probably touch on this but they don't have any of those review groups and a lot of products just don't have reviews. They'll have under ten.

That was a real eye opener for me. I thought, “Wow, in the States you've got to give away fifty, a hundred, two hundred units to sort of get the ball rolling,” but Japan was like, get it listed, optimize the listing, get your ranking and you start to see sales. Ads convert really well and the cost for clicks is incredible. So low for the products I've been selling.

[00:15:14] Scott: Okay. The question there is that I have is that okay so launch both products, what do you need in place? We can we go in deeper here but what did you need…? Were you living in Japan at the time?

[00:15:28] Nick: No.

[00:15:28] Scott: Did you have any type of address there or anything that would allow you to create a business or profile in Japan?

[00:15:39] Nick: No. Amazon actually want non-residents or non-Japanese to sell on Amazon Japan so they're quite supportive. The only thing you need is either importer of record or something called an attorney of customs procedure. An importer of record could be a friend, it could be that you're married to a Japanese or could be an in-law or could be maybe a business associate that you may have. All they really do is represent you and pay for your customs duties, your import duties and your consumption tax to have your shipment passed through customs. All you have to do is make sure your, whatever you're going to sell on Amazon doesn't break any local laws and is not one of those products in the category of food or medicine. The person is responsible for what they're… Your importer record is responsible for what you're exporting so effectively what you're importing so obviously you ought to do the right thing and make sure it’s all good for them.

[00:17:07] Scott: Then were you shipping directly from your supplier to their warehouse?

[00:17:13] Nick: No no. I basically had my best friend in Japan act as my importer and once we used DHL. So once we did the paperwork we used his address, his name as the importer of record. Once I had the tracking telling me it had arrived in Japan, I had him call DHL and then find out all the duties and tax the amounts then he actually sought of just paid that on my behalf, then I paid him later. Yeah it passed through customs and it goes straight to Amazon. You don’t have to ship to someone and then have them ship to Amazon, you can have your shipping address to Amazon. You’ve just got to have someone to represent you to have it pass through customs and that all the duties are paid.

[00:18:12] Scott: Okay that’s very interesting. I guess you have to set up another account in a sense that is for your Amazon seller’s account, that's for Japan though, correct?

[00:18:23] Nick: Yeah I know you can connect them but I did them separately. Yeah, Japan is I think the last six months they revamped their English support pages.

[00:18:38] Scott: I’ve been seeing a lot come through even on my regular seller’s account that says, “Hey sell on Japan.” I see it there.

[00:18:47] Nick: Okay. You’re seeing it too. I wasn’t sure if that was me because I was logging in.

[00:18:52] Scott: No, I'm seeing it.

[00:18:53] Nick: So a lot of that it’s like saying “get ready for Mother’s Day” or “get ready for…”

[00:18:58] Scott: I’m seeing it like you said for me like saying “hey we know you sell in the States, so sell in Japan.” They’re trying to get more I think people to start selling in Japan which is pretty interesting and you know I think that it could be something that you could tap into like you’ve done whether there isn't a ton of competition there but again do you just guess that there’s possibly sales there? Do you do a test order? Do you just use your gut and say, “I think it’ll sell,” or do you run any type of research to see if anything that you’re going to be selling in the States is going to be selling there? Take me through that real quick.

[00:19:37] Nick: When I first started I just… I sought of went through my gut and then and with the knowledge I had I looked at the best sellers and what products were small.

[00:19:49] Scott: You did the whole thing.

[00:19:50] Nick: Did the whole thing. I did all the stuff you talked about. There’s really no software that can help you with that except for a product you talked about and I looked into it. It’s AMZShark. I think that’s the only product out there that can pull in data from Japan. I’ve tested it with my own sales and it seems to be accurate. You know how it can find you keywords and all that sought of thing? It doesn’t do that but it can just… Let’s say you’re looking at a competitor on Amazon Japan and you’re thinking, “Are my products similar to this competitor, I want to know how many units they’re selling a month,” you could find that out with AMZShark. With Japan you’ve got to… I think you can’t assume whatever you’re selling in the States will sell really well as well in Japan. You’ve got to understand Japanese culture. They like small things, they like cute things. They definitely want a quality product.

[00:21:13] Scott: Then I guess the other thing that I would ask here is like okay do we have to have everything transcribed or translated into their language?

[00:21:27] Nick: Yes your listing has to be in Japanese. There’s all these pros and cons with it so if we just look at a listing you could say, “Man how am I going to get that done? Will it be actually translated or will it be optimized for the Japanese buying mindset.” And then you could think, “Okay I’m going to have to find someone and spend some money on that.” Most listings on Amazon are not optimized. If you’re going to have a look you’ll see listings with two bullet points, no description so there is definitely an opportunity to find a category and maybe a sub-category. If you’ve got the right product and it’s a quality product you can think well it’s worth the investment of getting it translated. That’s the hurdle. That and obviously setting up ads. That will be hard. You could do auto campaigns but ultimately you want to eventually do manual.

[00:22:39] Scott: Again, I’m thinking like that right there. Just as a starter, would you do something where you would obviously look at your competitors and even do like a Google planner like we do here but then just have those keywords translated and then use them in a campaign? I mean that’s like me thinking of the top of my head like how I would possibly do that without knowing the market. Would you do something like that? How would you tackle doing a manual campaign if you don’t know the language?

[00:23:06] Nick: If I didn’t know the language I would probably try and find someone in my local area who is Japanese, maybe at a meet-up or maybe a student and see if I could sit down with them and say, “I want to sell this, what are the words you use to describe these?” For me I think it’s almost the 80-20 rule with ads. 20% of the ads are going to really get 80% of your sales so if you get the top five keywords you can sought of start to see the results and then eventually you can sort of download those reports and see what people are tapping in.

[00:23:57] Scott: That’s really interesting and like you said just to bring that point up again, like most listings aren’t even optimized and like you say if you see that they have two bullets and they have like one line in the description, there’s a pretty good chance that the back end isn’t optimized either, right?

[00:24:11] Nick: Right. I mean when I did the pet balls I started ranking on the top page within hours. That wasn’t super competitive to sought of be honest but it just shocked me for, “Wow I’m ranking third and I’ve put this up this morning.” That made me think man Japan could be the place for me. There’ve been challenges as well. After I did that product I jumped into a really super competitive niche and I found out that Chinese… Maybe the manufacturers are selling products in that niche because it’s so popular. I’m learning as I go along. In the last couple of years Chinese have realized they can probably sell their own products, Chinese manufacturers and obviously Japan and China sought of probably more related culturally and it would probably be easy for them to find someone who understands Japan and can write Japanese or can work with Japanese.

[00:25:38] Scott: With that being said do you still think that it’s worth it to sell on Amazon?

[00:25:44] Nick: Yeah, yeah for sure.

[00:25:46] Scott: I’m just saying that because I’ll get people that’ll ask that question so I almost have to ask it for them because I get asked that same question you know, “Scott, do you still think Amazon is a place to sell? We’ve been hearing Amazon is going to start doing more of their own private labeling products. We’ve got Chinese, China coming in and taking their own products they are selling to us. And then they’re going to undercut us. We’ve got Chinese that are hijacking or people that are using them to hijack,” and all of that type of stuff. What’s your thought process in that? Do you see less of that in the Japan market place or do you see it more in the US? Give me a little bit of that. Then maybe we can dive into your strategy moving forward.

[00:26:29] Nick: Okay sure. I think Japan is almost like how Amazon would like the market place to be. I haven’t seen a lot of hijacking. I’ve seen no hijacking and I don’t think it happens. I’m sure it happens to some degree but nothing on the scale of the .com. There’s just none of these review groups. I know it’s something we have to kind of do on .com to get the ball rolling but when I can I try to avoid it because I think a lot of people out there probably don’t factor in the real cost of you pay for the product, you ship it, you pay the fees you’re effectively giving it away, you’re selling it for a dollar. To recoup that loss, you’ve got to sell a lot of stock, a lot of your product. So it’s one thing you just don’t have to do in Japan. I men you can’t do it because there are no review groups.

[00:27:44] Scott: It levels the playing field really.

[00:27:45] Nick: Yeah. I've even thought about trying to start one and it’s one of these cultural things. I’ve had mates, good friends in Japan just basically saying no to me. They just said, “I don’t want to write a review.” For them it’s almost dishonest or they’re almost lying in a sense. I’ve had friends do it for me. They would only give me four stars. It’s like I’ll do it but… It’s just a cultural thing. Look I’ll do it but five stars is just for them not the way to do it or they just think if they do five stars no one’s going to believe it because it’s very hard for a Japanese to say a product is five stars.

[00:28:36] Scott: They are like there isn’t a product out there that’s five star. My five star is a four star. That’s basically what they’re saying I get it. They’re a little bit more critical.

[00:28:44] Nick: Then you can consider shipping. So if you have a good quality product and it’s unique and it’s made in China, to ship it to Japan would be cheaper. Cost per click is… I’m talking under ten or 20 cents. Some really competitive products.

[00:29:10] Scott: That’s really amazing and I’ve heard of it but I’ve also heard like, “Well, yeah the cost per click is a lot less but there’s not a lot of traffic.” You know, you’re hearing that. My thought process is and again moving forward, will be like, “Yes but it’s still okay.” If that’s not your main one eventually you want to branch out and launch our product against different market places not just even Amazon but even the ones that are on Amazon you can go to the different countries that are out there that are already there and taking that one product.

Again you’re seeing pretty good results by launching products on Japan and you see less competition so that makes it a little bit better for you even if the sales volume isn’t as high as it could be you’re still seeing less competition, less headaches, all that stuff. Let me ask you this, if I was to say, “Hey Nick, this sounds amazing. I got this one product. It’s doing pretty well. I want to launch on Japan. What’s my first step?” What do you tell me? Right now we’re privately having that cup of coffee that I always talk about. I’m like, “Nick I want to take that product, I want to do that launch. What do I do man?”

[00:30:22] Nick: This is what I’d do. I’d say…

[00:30:26] Scott: other than say, “Hey let me pay you a couple of grand and you could do it for me.” Because I can do that, that would be easy. We could do that. But if I didn’t have that two grand or whatever, whatever cost it would be because you’re not for sale. What would you tell me as a friend? Like Scott, this is what I would do men.

[00:30:46] Nick: If you wanted to fast track it I’d say you can go and use camelcamelcamel. So first you’d have to try and get a Japanese person to basically tell you how to write your products in…

[00:31:01] Scott: I could probably go to Upwork or I could go to a freelance site like that couldn’t I? And find someone.

[00:31:06] Nick: You could go to Fiverr.

[00:31:08] Scott: Fiverr, one of them right?

[00:31:10] Nick: Maybe someone knows a Japanese person, so you find out your product, how’s it’s written in Japanese. It can be written in either Kanji or Katakana or Hiragana so you’d want to get that sorted. Then I would use that and use your knowledge and go on Amazon Japan and they do offer it in English. You can toggle it to English and then find a few top sellers and then grab the free trial of AMZShark and you could put those products in you and you could get a fair idea of how many they’re selling a day or a month. Then if you think okay, they’re selling 300, 600, 1000 units a month this is worth a crack. If you’re working with a supplier you could probably get them to send 100, 200 units to Japan.

If you’re happy to risk a few hundred bucks, maybe 500 bucks on testing whether you can expand your brand to Japan, send a small shipment, get someone on Upwork to write the listing. I guess the struggle is with the advertising but you’d probably want to probably and find a Japanese to sit down with and help you set up the advertising. One thing you’ve got to factor in or consider is one of the requirements of selling on Amazon Japan is you’ve got to be able to provide customer support in Japanese. So if you do get… Let’s say you’ve sold your product and they’ve asked a question about it or someone sent you a question, you’ve got to be able to reply to that. That’s another hurdle. All these hurdles make it much harder for people to expand to Japan.

[00:33:26] Scott: I’m just thinking on something like that. Would I be able to take their email and then transcribe it or translate it and then try to respond back. I mean could I do that or is that way, way harder that it…

[00:33:41] Nick: No. Google translate just wouldn’t be able to do that because one thing about the way Japanese communicate especially when it’s a service based relationship they use extremely polite set phrases and language. It would be very hard to… You just couldn’t copy and paste their email into Google translate. You’d need help with that but what I’m finding is you don’t get a lot of enquiries. Most of the time any exchange we have is because we would follow up with someone who’s either refunded or we’re actually using a service where it’s similar to Feedback Genius sought of a Japanese version where we order many emails. You don’t get a lot of enquiries.

[00:34:38] Scott: What would be a way that I could get over that hurdle? Would it be that I would hire someone on a part time basis like a VA and have them go in once a day and check my emails to see if I had anything come through? Would that be the way that I can get around that?

[00:34:52] Nick: Yeah. You’d want to get a VA but you wouldn’t be having them go in daily. You could probably use… I’m just wondering if you could use their email account to have any…

[00:35:07] Scott:  It just gets fed to them and if they have to respond they could respond.     

[00:35:11] Nick: There are service providers listed on Amazon that offer translation or… It’s something yeah you’ve got to consider but if you’re… Really you’ve got to be doing quite well on .com to consider expanding probably to Japan. At the same time understand most people won’t do it. Even Japanese, most Japanese they’re not even like us in the States or in Australia. They don’t have that entrepreneurial drive and they’re not risk takers. Your average Japanese is not going to quit a job to take a risk on a business because they value life employment. It would be very hard for a Japanese to say, “I quit my job to sell on Amazon.” There’s no education. There’s hardly any courses like podcasts, stuff you do teaching Japanese how to sell on Amazon. That’s why it’s not such a crowded market.

[00:36:28] Scott: For someone like us to do it you’re going to jump you some hoops for sure. There’s some obstacles there that we’ve already discovered and I think that we might have had 100 people that said we're interested and right now we might have two after we’ve went through those obstacles and I get it. Even me hearing some of those I’m like, “Eeeh,” I’m not really sure but then my next question would be okay well Nick, “What do I have to be selling to make myself say maybe I should look at selling this in Japan.” You know what I mean?      

Is it ten units a day? Is it five units a day? Is it 100 units a day? Like when does that make sense to me to start thinking about doing that? You’re talking like if you’re willing to risk like four or 500 bucks. If someone isn’t willing to risk four or 500 bucks in this case then you shouldn’t even think about it. I’m talking about like if I said to myself, “I’m willing to risk a couple of grand to give it a go.” You know what I mean? If you’re willing to take that risk I mean when is the time that you would say you know what you should give it a go?

[00:37:31] Nick: I think with FBA, if you’re selling on amazon.com you want to be drawing… You want to reach that goal where you’re drawing income. I mean I’d love to say yes just go and have a crack but I think yeah you’ve got to be successful on either .com or .uk to then divert energy and money to selling on Japan. Because you don’t understand the model. If you understand the model, you’d know you can apply to other market places in Japan there’s a little bit more work involved and less competition.

[00:38:18] Scott: Less competition. That’s the attractive piece. If I was starting out maybe brand new and I said, “You know what maybe I’ll start on Japan.” What’s your thoughts on that?

[00:38:32] Nick: I would do that and I’ve helped a friend sell on Japan but what they offer is a product made here in Australia so I would certainly say if you’ve got a… He’s actually already selling in stores in Japan but he wasn’t selling online. Look if you’re interested in Japan and you’ve gone to the US, you’ve gone on Amazon.com and you thought look this is too much competition or I’m going to have to give away hundreds of units to compete, you could look into Japan and consider it. As long as you make a solid educated guess and do a little bit of research you could say “I’m going to try Japan” because as I mentioned before I was selling the same product and I did sought of reach $5,000 on Japan faster than the US.

[00:39:40] Scott: Wow, okay that’s interesting.

[00:39:44] Nick: There’s lots of pros and cons but I wouldn’t go and risk. I wouldn’t do what I did in multiple niches. That’s a problem with experience marketers. They go, “Man I’m going to give this a really hard crack.” That’s what I did. I went to multiple niches at the same time on two platforms, on two market places so yeah.

[00:40:17] Scott: Okay. Alright. This is interesting. I think anyone listening, it gets you excited a little bit because there’s that opportunity. As an entrepreneur we always we get excited about opportunities. Heck I am right now. My wheels are turning you know what I mean? But in the same breathe I also say you need to stay on course. If you’re just starting right now, you got your product up and running on .com for Amazon.com then stay there, like you said Nick, stay there stay on track until you get to a certain level where you feel it might be the time to move over. You know what I mean? The other quick question I wanted to ask you is how does it work that if I’m selling there in Japan and I get paid there, where does that money go and how does that get translated to our currency and all of that stuff?

[00:41:13] Nick: Again I was really keen on helping sellers. They’ll pay you directly to your bank account in your local currency.

[00:41:20] Scott: You just links up your account to where it’s just going to make that conversion and that transfer?

[00:41:26] Nick: Yes. Getting an account is easy. You can do the whole process in English and then they just basically ask you for your bank account so you don’t need to use…

[00:41:39] Scott: You don’t have to create a new LLC or anything like that you can just use your existing?

[00:41:43] Nick: You don’t need to use world first or… Then yeah you’d have to consider obviously exchange rate and all that sort of thing but this business stock sells relatively quickly so yes Amazon Japan is really wanting to get sellers to expand so they’re making it easier and you can get paid in your local bank account in US dollars.

[00:42:23] Scott: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. You’re saying too that if I’m in the US, if I wanted to directly ship I could do that I would just have to have that person that’s there that’s allocated for me to basically receive goods on my behalf?

[00:42:38] Nick: Yeah. Importer record or attorney of customs procedure. Importer of record if you can find someone that’s the way to go because the attorney of custom procedure would take paperwork and takes a few weeks to get that process sorted out.

[00:42:59] Scott: Now this is a really great day. I’m so glad I had you on and it’s making me think that I’m going to had to twist your arm and have to get more information out of you. We might have to do that at a later date. We can maybe get you to actually construct something to leads us through and help us through that. So totally definitely be doing that. You got my wheels turning. My last question that I want to ask you because you do come from the selling products online space before even the Amazon boom here, what’s your thoughts moving forward. Are you thinking of building something externally to your brand that you’re launching on Amazon? What is your thought process there as far as the future for you and your products, your brands?

[00:43:44] Nick: With Amazon.com I’m really taking a long term approach and I’m building out a range of related products and I’ve basically to support that product, I’ve already got a website like authority site up and ranking. I don’t think the one hit wonder is the way to go. I’m sure it still happens it’s just too hard.

[00:44:19] Scott: It’s too risky right?

[00:44:21] Nick: Yeah, it’s too risky. Amazon’s a business but it’s a business you can’t own 100%. The way to go would to build out a niche commerce website and build a brand. Build a brand on a range of products and if that does really well in the States then a lot of people are expanding to the UK, and to Germany. Then you could also try Japan.

[00:44:58] Scott: I like it. I just wanted to dig in there because a lot of people they’ll say to me, “Scott, well you know it’s so saturated. There’s so much competition and what happens if Amazon shuts my account down?” They are all concerns I think we all should have but in the same breathe I think there’s always going to be competition. It’s always going to be harder to get into like the thing but in the same breath, nothing has really changed since I’ve started online. If you can build a brand or if you can build a sales funnel that leads to good content that helps people through whatever that product is that helps them and educates them and builds an email list from that that’s just to me that’s like basic 101 marketing but yet you get really, really next level with that stuff too. Amazon is a platform. Amazon is that channel that we’re using right now because it’s easy to get a product up and running with no website, no blog. None of that stuff and validate and verify and then I think you can put your efforts into doing the other stuff that we both know works really well.

[00:46:05] Nick:  I agree.

[00:46:05] Scott: I’m excited about that part of it.

[00:46:08] Nick: We’re so lucky to be able to test a business or a product with $500 or $1,000. Imagine trying to do it 20 years ago. People need to look at it as a business. The other thing is what you can learn from doing it. You might do this for a few years and then end up doing something like you’re doing, helping other people and turn that into a business or you could coach people. A lot of the stuff that I’ve done I’ve ended up turning all the knowledge I’ve acquired I’ve turned into either coaching or information products. It’s not just the business. You could take the knowledge and sell that.

[00:46:56] Scott: Absolutely, absolutely I couldn’t agree more. Before you can ever teach or coach or guide someone be a consultant, whatever it is you have to do it and you have to get results. You know what I mean? That’s the key. That’s what it’s been for me all the way back to when I was doing the photography business and then turning that into helping people in that space because you’ve already done it. You do have to have the personality as well. I don’t think anyone can just hop on and start teaching. You got to have the personality. If you’re willing to help people even if you’re were to do it privately, and that’s why I always tell people like you’re learning every single day that you do something. You’re learning something. Whether it’s good or bad you’re learning something. The only time that you’re going to stop learning is when you stop doing so you have to keep doing it that’s my whole motto. Take action, just take action and you’re going to get results. And those results might be that email that you got of that cease and desist. Could be. If you learn to turn, you’re still here. You’re okay.

[00:47:55] Nick: You got to learn to take some punches because I’ve had other problems and you just get over them. I had three similar products shipped at the same time to Amazon and they were mislabeled. A couple of 100 units were mislabeled and Amazon was sending out the wrong product. A customer would get the wrong product send it back and then they’d get sent out the wrong product again. Man I've got to deal with all these customs support issues and do I compensate them and send them a unit free of cost. Problems will happen too so you've got to be resilient and you’ve got to be very logical. Can’t be too emotional, you can be excited and positive but you got to make sound decisions and realize okay I took a hit today or this has been a bad month so you can’t give up you've got to move on.

[00:49:06] Scott: Move on learn from it and understand that you’re going to have these situations come up and just also figure out that, after you figure out understand that you’re also learning during that struggle that up or down or whatever you had. I’m a perfect example of that myself numerous times. I’ve done things that just didn't do well. I could have just stopped and said you know what it’s going to be easier just to work for someone. That’s just not me. You know what I mean? You and I talked a little bit before we got on here. That’s just not in my DNA any more. I can’t do it. I’ll find a way and I think that if you have, and I talked about this, your why, finding your why. Once you find that  then you’re going to push through those different obstacles because you’re going to always refer back to your why.

My why was I don’t want to work for someone so I can be with my family and when I want to be with them. That’s my why. It’s strong. Anyway Nick, I just wanted to say thanks for coming on. I really do appreciate it. This has been awesome. I have a feeling that I’m going to have you back on because I want to really dig into the actual step by step and maybe even a case study. I don’t know what we can do but we can do something where I would love to learn more about this and even sample it myself. You got my wheels turning. That’s always good but I know that we’ll have more questions moving forward. Once again I just want to thank you. If you have any last little bits of parting advice that you would give someone that’s just thinking about getting into this Amazon game?

[00:50:39] Nick:  What would be my advice? Take your time and think if you really want it and don’t get caught up into the hype. Remember it’s a business but it’s taking this step and doing something different if you’ve never done it before it really could be your way to financial freedom or happiness or control. Think but don’t over think about it. Just have a shot and even if you don’t succeed you’ll learn something and that could take you somewhere else. Life’s too short for you to be stuck in a job where you’re unhappy. If you want a bit of freedom you got to take a bit of risk. That’s what I’d say and I’d say have a crack. The worst that can happen is you lose a little bit of money but you learn a whole lot. I’d just like to say thanks for having me on and I’ll probably be listening to you tomorrow morning in the car. I love your enthusiasm. You’re a great mentor and I love your… You have integrity you’re honest you don’t hype it up so if anyone’s listening to you I’m sure they’re going to be having a shot at this Amazon business anyway.

[00:52:08] Scott: I appreciate that. That’s awesome Nick I appreciate that and I appreciate taking me in the car with you as well or wherever you go, maybe in the airplane. Yeah, I do appreciate that and this to me is everything being able to really connect with the listeners and then having someone like you that you’ve got another angle that you’re working and then being able to learn from you. When I started this podcast that was a big reason why I wanted to start it is to be able to connect with people like you. So mission accomplished here. I do really look forward to getting to know you more and also and hopefully learning more from you as well. Once again Nick thank you so much I appreciate it and have an awesome night. It’s after midnight where you are right now so get to bed man.

[00:52:52] Nick: It’s 1:00 A.M. now so I better get to bed.

[00:52:54] Scott: You better get to bed. It’s 11 o’clock in my time as we’re recording this a.m. So I think I’m going to go take a walk and we’ll just come back and get a little lunch. Alright Nick I appreciate it and we’ll definitely be in touch man. Thanks a lot.

[00:53:07] Nick: Thanks mate bye.

[00:53:09] Scott: Alright so there you have it. I wasn’t kidding. I don’t know about you but my wheels are spinning and as soon as I got off I kept thinking to myself this is another great opportunity for us. Now the other thing that I need to bring up is, well sometimes that’s a bad thing because once you’re on a path and you are not at the end of that path or even past that sprint that you might be doing. You guys have had me talk about that, your 90 day sprint, your three month sprint or your yearly goals whatever. If this doesn’t align with what you’re doing right now, put it on the shelf for right now. I have to do that a lot. Put it on the shelf come back to it when the time is right for you.

If you start dabbling in too many things you’ll probably get overwhelmed and it might slow the progress down so we don’t want to do that. I just want to put that straight out there. Definitely, definitely stay the course. Stay wherever you are right now but if you are at that level where you can do this and you heard us talk about like when is the right time you’ll know. When that is the right time then you start looking into this a little bit further and like I said in the future I hope to have him back on again and we can dig into this a bit deeper and maybe even have some services that he can recommend to us that we can us because I think there’re some things in there that we have to do that we wouldn’t necessarily have to do.

One thing I will bring up and we didn’t even talk about this but I’ve been hearing a lot of people even say that in the US space like Amazon.com that in the back end having some of your backend key words transcribed or, what I’m I trying to say here, where you have them translated, yes that‘s what I’m trying to say. Where you have them translated into Spanish or other languages that can also help your the search. In this case I don’t know about that but what I’m saying is when you’re able to take your product and bring it across other marketplaces, Amazon that is, you can tap into those market with just having the same product. You might just have to do a little bit of tweaking to the product details or the instructions or the measurements or any of that stuff. Anyway really, really awesome conversation with Nick and I want to thank him once again.

[00:55:12] Scott: He’s a cool guy just love talking to him and I could talk to him for another couple of hours I’m sure. If you guys want to download the show notes or the transcripts to this episode which you probably will want to, head over to theamazingseller.com/213 and you can grab everything there. Now if you guys are brand spanking new and you guys are just coming into the podcast for the very first time or maybe the first week, and now you’re jumping ahead you’re listening to this one right here, I don’t want you to get overwhelmed I want to stress that. If you want to go through the exact steps that I now teach but I also go through on every single product launch that I do, you’re going to want to attend our live workshop.

What I do there is I go through those five phases on how to launch your product, how to do all of the things up to the point of launch and then after the launch. We also do live Q&A and I do a workshop, a live workshop where I break that all down. I’d love to invite you to that. You can register for an upcoming one by visiting theamazingseller.com/workshop. If you go there, you can register for an upcoming one and then from there we can hang out. We can come together, I can teach you for an hour and then we can do some live Q&A on there as well. We’re having a lot of fun doing that so I’d love for you to attend.

That’s it guys. That’s pretty much going to wrap it up. I want to remind you guys one more time that I’m always here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to you have to, come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take Action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.   

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13 comments
  • Scott how are you?

    I am another Australian Seller and am trying to organise a meetup a TAS meetup in Melbourne, Australia. I was in LA late last year and tried to get to San Diego pop up meetup but ended up snapping the wheel axle on the drive down haha and am shattered that I missed it as I love nothing more than networking and connecting with like minded people..

    Now I am back in Australia and I have met with various other sellers already and I want to invite Nick to a meetup as I think he could be a key person of influence and help for the newer sellers. Is there anyway that you could possible put us in contact or send my details to him. I have trolled thru FB groups etc and have yet seemed to have found him. Let me know my friend.

    Thank you for your time

    Adam Valastro

  • Hi Scott, Been a long time listener and loving all that you do! I was wondering if there was any more information or any way of knowing the email responder that Nick used for his amazon Japan products to ask for reviews ect..? I haven’t been able to find anything so far.
    Really appreciate what you do !

  • Just to clarify…u would have a company like topwin to check on factory the products and then submit directly to amazon warehouses using DHL? I heard many times that’s a bad idea to ship directly to amazon warehouses but never tried it…you would ship directly after inspection?

    • If you’re having topwin do the inspection and you’re having the FNSKU labeled there isn’t a huge worry beyond that. If you want to go to a prep service you could always go that route as well.

  • Also, is there a way to prevent from sourcing a product that is patent pending or something like that in Amazon? I mean…many products in Amazon which are directly bought from Alibaba don’t say anything about patent pending on their listings…so is there a way to prevent this from happening? I just got a trusted supplier tell me that a product I wanted to sell in Amazon is patent pending…so I couldn’t sell it on Amazon.

    • If you’re concerned about a patent on a product, you may want to run a search on upsto.gov, if that doesn’t clear it up for you, you may want to run a search through a patent attorney!

  • Hey guys! Excellent podcast! Thanks for that!

    1 – I don’t know if I skipped that part in the audio or something but which freight forwarder would you recommend for doing this in Japan? Like the usual stuff…picking the products at the factories in China, customs clearance in China, shipping, customs clearance in Japan, FBA prep and submission to Amazon Warehouses in Japan, etc…

    I don’t really have any friend in Japan so a reliable freight forwarder is the only option for me.

    Thanks!
    Nico

      • Thanks Scott! I didn’t know DHL offers prep services…They can check the products for you before sending to Amazon? I mean, you always need to make sure everything is OK before sending…don’t wanna risk Amazon rejecting inventory.

        • Nico, DHL doesn’t prep the products, they would be who you use to ship. If you need inspection or prep you may want to check with someone like topwin inspection

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