I had a great talk with Ryan Cramer, fellow-of-all trades at PingPong. PingPong offers solutions for ecommerce businesses that are operating internationally. Ryan’s knowledge and expertise allowed us to cover a wide range of topics related to international expansion on Amazon, and made for a delightful back-and-forth with the participants as they asked questions. I encourage you to watch the replay below – we eschewed slides to just have a nice talk about international expansion and to go with the flow of participant questions. There were so many! Here’s an overview of what we discussed:

When Is It Time To Expand Your Amazon Business To International Markets?

In a word, now. If not already, do it now, according to Ryan. He says, “If you’re not looking at international marketplaces, you’re selling yourself short in terms of being first-to-market and and dominating that category or that product section that you’re selling on Amazon.com.” Ryan says there’s no threshold you should reach – just do it. He says that .com is first, of course, but if you’re selling on .com, it’s time to expand! Canada is a reasonable choice if you’re solely selling on .com, even though it’s a smaller marketplace. He says that Canada will catch up soon, and other marketplaces are going to catch up. Ryan cautions you to be strategic about your inventory, listings and finances when expanding to different international marketplaces. Ryan talks about different strategies for different marketplaces, so make sure you watch the replay or read the transcript to get all the tips.

Should My Category Dictate the Marketplaces I Choose?

Home & Kitchen is the clear leading category across most marketplaces (not Turkey, however), but what categories are best for which marketplaces? Ryan says that you want to do your research off of Amazon.com – you don’t want to bring a product to market that’s already saturated with it. He says, “More often than not, your bestsellers will translate across cultures.” But, you should think about the culture predominant in different marketplaces. Americans tend to own more televisions, but some other countries don’t have multiple televisions. So if you’re selling a TV wall mount, it might not make sense for a marketplace that serves people who don’t need it. Use common sense, and do your research. Ryan says that Toys & Games are pretty universal, Home, Gift, Garden, and Kitchen are popular everywhere too, though Electronics are tricky.

How Can I Get On International Marketplaces?

It depends, Ryan says. For some, you can just sign up in Seller Central. For some, you need a business address in the country in question in order to operate sales there. There are also bank account requirements. For the full scoop, read Amazon’s Global Selling Guide, but in a nutshell: