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“Don’t forget about Canada!” – Return on Podcast Ep. 20 with Kevin Sanderson

"Don't forget about Canada!" - Return on Podcast Ep. 20 with Kevin Sanderson

The following is a transcript of Episode 20 of Return on Podcast, the show where we help e-commerce sellers improve their ROI in business and in life. For more episodes, subscribe to our YouTube channel or listen on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Tyler Jefcoat:
All right. Welcome to Return on Podcast, where we talk about the experiences, the obsessions, and the habits of the most successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Tyler Jefcoat. I wanna welcome you to this episode of ROP. Question we wanna talk about today: how should I expand my Amazon business?

There’s lots of options. And in my CFO practice, we see each of these options deployed. You could go bricks and mortar. Hey, could I get into Home Depot? You could try to go big with D2C. Can I get my Shopify site up? That’s another option. Walmart slowly almost kind of becoming relevant for a lot of the brands that we represent or another option that should be really key in your toolkit is to potentially expand internationally. But still within the Amazon universe.

And so today I wanna talk to my friend, Kevin Sanderson. Kevin, bringing you into the stream here, my friend. How you doing today, buddy?

Kevin Sanderson:
Good. I’m doing very well. Thank you. Thank you for having me. One thing I do wanna just point out real quick is for those listening to the audio recording. You’re missing out if you’re not watching this live, because I have to say you had this like intro at the beginning. It was probably one of the best professional looking intros I think I’ve ever seen. So just to create a little curiosity around checking this out live.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it. Yeah. That’s right. In addition to that, we’re both incredibly good looking people. So if it’s –

Kevin Sanderson:
Oh, yes yeah. Total male model here. At least on your side of the screen, it’s very good.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Wow. Thank you. Thank you. So listen, Kevin. I love you, dude. It’s funny. If you go back to Kevin’s podcast at Maximizing ECommerce, I wanna say it was episode 139, you may see a familiar looking screen from a few months back where we talked about improving profitability, even in a down market. That’s also a podcast. We’ll put the link in the show notes, make sure you check it out. Kevin, you do a lot to help Amazon brands be successful. And in particular you’re an expert at answering this question, should I expand internationally using the Amazon marketplaces? Who wins, who doesn’t when you do that?

And so I wanna talk about that. That’s our deep discussion point here today, but before we do that, just want to humanize your story just a tad. All right. Here’s what I got gathered from your career, went to Texas Tech, worked for Disney, worked for a couple of hotel chains, some huge ones that we would’ve heard of.

You did a small stint in insurance and then boom, e-commerce happened in your life. And now you’re an entrepreneur man. What was happening? What was the circumstance that made you go from corporate to owning your own corporation?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah, so I’ll fast forward and then go back. So somewhat fast forwarding to the middle of that story.

Have you ever seen that meme of, and I don’t mean this to knock on anybody, but there’s a meme that was going around a while where it was like this guy standing in front of an expensive sports car. And the meme was like, ” I went to my boss and said, or my boss gave me some motivational advice. Hey, if you work really hard and put it in a lot of hours, I can buy another one of these.” And when you work for someone else inherently, there is just by the nature of it, you’re working for someone else’s dreams.

And in the corporate world, you intuitively know that, but when you work for someone else’s small business and it’s doing well, what was the case when I was in insurance, you start saying to yourself, okay. I really am working hard for someone else’s dreams. And there’s incredible and, fully support it and good for them. But after a while you start thinking like, if I’m gonna work this hard, why don’t it just be on my own dreams?

And so that was the simplistic way of saying where I decided to make the shift. And so I have nothing but good things to say about people that I’ve worked for in the past and whatnot. But it’s just at a certain point, you gotta start saying, I, every day that goes by, every year that goes by, a month that goes by whatever, I’m just investing more and more into something that I don’t love.

Tyler Jefcoat:
And so like for your, for like your wife or your family and your own mindset, was it a hurdle kind of getting over that fear factor of letting go of the paycheck and going out on your own? Or was that something that came pretty naturally to you guys?

Kevin Sanderson:
I don’t think it’s ever gone away. So…

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Right, right.

Kevin Sanderson:
We were talking about it before we started that. I have a, an event I’m hosting coming up. And I have to remind myself, like I have to actually take spreadsheets and do like day by day okay, here’s the transactions and remind myself that people sign up for these things very last minute.

So about a week out – now this is a virtual event, so it’s not like they don’t have to get travel expenses. There’s a lot of people to sign up, like the second day that it’s actually started. And so I have to remind myself like, okay, don’t look at like the last event where it finished, look at where it was trending and where you expect this event to be because your mind plays head games with you when it’s not.

Okay. I know that, for example, when I was at Disney, the joke was Epcot doesn’t necessarily stand for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, which is the actual acronym of Epcot. It’s a little Disney trivia for folks. The inside joke was, it stands for Every Paycheck Comes on Thursday because we would be paid weekly on Thursdays.

So in the corporate world, your check’s coming whatever time period, if you’re salaried, you, if your salary is X divided by 52, ’cause there’s 52 weeks a year, every week you’re hitting that amount, minus Uncle Sam’s cut. But you know, over time, what it is. And so there’s comfort in knowing, but then the same time too, there’s comfort in not knowing because good things can happen to you, like at the snap of a, a finger, so to speak.

And then all of a sudden, things change in a positive way. And so you just have to remind yourself that it’s not all the comfort of, you know, I know each week it’s coming, it’s, sometimes peaks and valleys.

Tyler Jefcoat:
One time, my mentor, just even to add to that, Kevin, he made the point that always stuck in my head that, listen, how about a corporate job feel secure, but you actually only have one paycheck. And you’re a number in a company where they can let you go tomorrow. And so I build a company and now, Seller Accountant’s not a huge company, but I have about a hundred paychecks. Now you have thousands, right? Because you got your customers that come to your events and stuff like that.

And so there, there’s a mindset that says it actually might be less risky to cultivate a number of streams of income. But I do agree with you that it maybe never goes away. And especially when you put so much effort – and by the way, we’re gonna make sure that there’s links to your virtual event.

We’ll post enough time for people to still get involved. And as we get to the end, so here, Kevin, I’ll let you pitch it. ‘Cause these events are awesome guys, by the way. But first let’s let people know what you’re an expert at, Kevin ’cause you are one of the guys in the industry that speaks.

I always laugh about this. A lot the speakers on this channel are about the same 50 of us that speak at every damn Amazon event in the world. There’s a relatively small population of us that kinda get around. You’re one of the guys. And we wanna talk about expanding internationally. And here’s my question for you: should sellers still consider expanding internationally with Amazon?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yes. Now I know that’s a very softball question. And here’s what I will say. Everything I say take 100% with a grain of salt. Kevin is not, does not have a monopoly on ” here’s the way you need to do it.” I pride myself on being not a guru.

And so people listening to the recording can’t see my face every time you said expert, I would kinda be like who are you talking about? I did it in my own business and kind of just sharing with folks what I learned along the way. But to an, to the simplistic answer to your question is yes, you, I think people should. I don’t see any reason why someone wouldn’t want to take advantage of, if you’re already selling a product that sells on Amazon in the US, and people are buying similar products in Canada or UK, which I think is the lowest hanging fruit, there’s no reason not to. Other than maybe there’s a few forms you gotta fill out. To make it overly simplistic.

Tyler Jefcoat:
No, that’s really good. And okay. So let’s talk about the negative side of it first, because I didn’t give you a chance to tee this up as much as I should have, but you are a seller and you’ve done this.

So your current practice flows from the fact that you actually successfully sold stuff internationally, and you found that you can solve problems for clients. I think that is an important thing to mention here. We talked about Kevin’s history, but he wasn’t just working at hotels. He actually was a, was and is a successful seller.

Kevin, what are the errors? So by, by the way, this is maybe one of my most common questions. If I’m serving on someone’s podcast, they’re like, Hey, when people come to Seller Accountant, how are they doing accounting bad? And I’m like, well, normally they’re either not doing it, or, they’re cutting corners in this way.

What would your answer to that question be? Like, if people don’t execute international correctly, what are the most common errors that you see? What are the most common potholes that you see people falling?

Kevin Sanderson:
Just, as I said, take a grain of salt with everything I say. Also take a grain of salt with everyone you hear out there in the world.

And so I think one of the errors that people have, and I don’t mean this as a knock on anyone is there’s a lot of people out there that whether it – this is just a general statement. This is so I want to take a step back as much as possible so it doesn’t come across like, “I think if I read between the lines Kevin’s talking about me” or so if someone’s listening. I don’t want anyone to think that ’cause that’s not my point. Again, take what everything I say with advice with a great salt, because my hands are somewhat tainted in the sense that I have services that I offer, and of course I’m going to suggest it.

Now my services are based off of my own experience. But with that said going back to mistakes, I think one of the mistakes people have is either they just go into it, and they read like an article in Seller Support. There’s, oh yeah, you just click a couple buttons and it just happens.

No, it doesn’t quite work that simple. Or they way over complicate it, and then they just never really do it. Or, they’re not getting enough of the right advice on certain situations. And one of the things I’ve learned in this business is, and again, take everything everyone tells you with a grain of salt, because everyone has some level of bias.

Even if it’s just, this is my idea, and I know my idea is. Everyone has some level of bias. And so oftentimes people are fast forwarding to more international. Sometimes people are talking about hey, here’s the international part, and here’s everything you need to know, but they might understand importing or taxes, or they might understand translations or something that’s very specific.

And so there’s a lot of times you might get advice where someone’s talking in terms of the full picture, but they some might know the full picture very well. Some might not. And so just again, take everything that everyone tells you with a grain of salt and try to at least get a holistic view of what the expectations are before pulling the trigger, even if folks at a large company in Seattle call you because chances are those people only know so much of what they’re doing, because they only know what they only know. That’s not a knock on anybody. I only know what I only know.

Tyler Jefcoat:
No, but I think that’s a really good, like when I talk about pitfalls, I actually think that sometimes we forget that the people that maybe call us from Amazon saying, “hey, you really need to go to Canada right now,” sometimes we forget that they’re actually commissioned to get products to move and they also have an incentive and that incentive is not my best interest or Kevin’s best. That incentive is Amazon’s best interest. I think that’s one potential pitfall to make sure you, I think what you’re saying and you’re articulating this well.

No one’s gonna – by the way, Kevin, you they’re like one of the most genuine guys I’ve ever met. So no, one’s no, one’s gonna think that you’re trying to cheese ’em here. But like I think doing your due diligence to make sure that you are convinced the data – let me ask the question a little bit differently. Like what kinds of questions should – let’s say I have a brand. I’m doing about a million a year in sales in Amazon US.

Pretty froggy right now. I’m feeling pretty good. And I’m trying to figure out that next expansion, but I’m, I don’t wanna go direct to consumer. I’m not ready to invest in Shopify. What are the questions that I need to work through if I’m gonna decide whether to do Canada first or the UK first? Like what are some of those questions that I might ask a guy like you or might ask my team in preparation for that expansion?

Kevin Sanderson:
First off, like this is the part that scares everyone. So we might as well just pull the bandaid off and start looking into it now, and that is what compliance do you have? Because just as on Amazon, you sign up, you have a terms of service on Amazon. You also have state, federal, whatever regulations, because Amazon is operating in the US that you have to deal with. Now, if you’re a US-based seller, it’s like asking a fish, what is the water? You just understand it intuitively because you’re there, you know the type of things to think about.

Now, the good news is the water’s not that much different in the English speaking countries, because the laws are all based off of like English common law, but you gotta, still take this a little bit of a step further, ’cause now you’re going into another sovereign nation that has their own laws and regulations and whatnot.

And they’re gonna hold Amazon accountable to certain things. Now, generally this is a general statement, but I generally tend to believe Amazon when it comes to like things like compliance, they don’t go out fixing problems they don’t have to. Meaning they’re not proactive in saying, hey, just in case, let’s create rules around X, which a lot of corporations do. They don’t.

I think they do a lot of things based on, because some government entity said you need to do that. And they said, okay, we’ll comply. Like it, it – fair enough. And I think they give us a pretty good entrepreneurial platform for that.

So the one of the first steps you could do is, one, look up what tax obligations are you gonna have in another country? So we’re not providing tax advice here, and I, sometimes even the people I pay for tax advice have trouble getting tax advice that doesn’t dance around what I should or should not do. Oftentimes there’s a lot of qualifying statements and whatnot. So even if you pay a tax attorney or a CPA, sometimes your advice you get is not direct.
So again, you still have to make the decisions as the business owner, but the first thing you gotta do is realistically, what obligations would I have from a tax standpoint? From a tax standpoint, most likely if you live in the US and you register, let’s say your US company to, let’s say, Canada, you’ll owe the US government on your profits. So you’ll owe income tax on your profits.

Now you’ll get a 1099 most likely from Amazon if you have, if you make the sales threshold to get the 1099. And if you don’t, your CPA is likely gonna tell you, you still have to report those sales and whatnot, even though they’re in Canadian dollars. There’s ways of, you know, bookkeeping software can help you get that into US dollars.

Now, the part that’s a little more scary because people will go to their e-commerce accountant and say, hey, I’m gonna register in Canada. Can you help me with this Canada tax thing? And they say, I don’t do that. I do US taxes. Because you’re going to the eye doctor and saying, hey, my tooth hurts. And then the eye doctor says, that’s not what I do, but you said, but you’re a doctor. Help, help my, help my teeth.

But if you go to the dentist is gonna do dentistry and the eye doctor’s gonna do eye doctory, which is probably not the right term or optometry, I should say. So you wanna go to the right person to help you with that. And countries like Canada, you’ve got GST, which is basically their sales tax is gonna pretty much go to the local government.
Don’t get caught up at this point to whether or not Amazon takes care of remitting that tax for you because in most countries you have probably some registration you likely should or are required to get. Not in all countries and not in all jurisdictions, so make sure to at least understand what decisions you might have to make about what you have to register for.

But generally speaking, if you go into Europe, you gotta register for value added tax. If you go into Canada, gotta register for the goods and services and harmonized sales tax, GST, HST. So you have to register for those. So at least know, what do I have to register for? Am I responsible for giving the money to the government or is Amazon?
And sometimes that’s not as simple as it sounds ’cause you don’t want get a letter from a government entity saying, hey, we think you owe us this and your answer is, but I thought Amazon was sending that to you.

Tyler Jefcoat:
So actually here’s my question about that, Kevin. You’re, you made a comment about Amazon a few minutes ago about – and it’s an order of operations.

Kevin Sanderson:
Hopefully it was a positive comment if they’re listening.

Tyler Jefcoat:
No, that was great. Yeah. Yeah. That was great. You correctly stated that Amazon is a very lean startup entrepreneurial kinda mindset business where they tend to wanna move quickly, break things, and respond when they need to respond.

My question is as an entrepreneur who owns a, not Amazon, a smaller business, do I need to go hire my compliance team in Canada first? Or can I just send product and see if I can sell it and then – ’cause I, the reason compliance is scary is that we all hate compliance. Like I’m an accountant.

I don’t do my own taxes. I hate taxes. I mean we all wanna have a good CPA in our back pocket. who does that for us. And my question is should the compliance part be the thing that stops us cold before we even enter the market Canada or UK, or should we just rock it and just do Amazon and figure it out when we get there?

Kevin Sanderson:
So this is gonna depend on people’s comfort level. If you’re going to the UK, I would not recommend going there without having someone help you with at least the registration for value added tax. Theoretically, you could do it yourself. There’s, Europe has a lot more bureaucracy.

I know UK is no longer in the European Union, but just the continent of Europe has a lot more established bureaucracy and a lot more landlines you could step on and not even realize. So have someone help you with that. Canada, depending on your comfort level, a lot of sellers do it themselves because the forms you gotta fill out are relatively simple and to get the business number, which also is basically like your EIN over there.

And then you get an import number, and then you would get a GST number. That’s pretty simple, and then the GST filings is once a year for most sellers. So it’s relatively simple. So I don’t know that you need to go in guns blazing with hey, I wanna hire like an accounting team in Canada to get started.

Maybe down the road, if things, if you’re pretty big and you maybe I want to dot more Is, cross more Ts type of thing, then maybe you might want to have somebody in your back pocket that’s more local to help you with that kind of stuff.

Tyler Jefcoat:
And the reason I love this again – by the way, if you guys have not read Eric Reis’s book, The Lean Startup, it’s one of my favorites. You should definitely check it out. But like, I love the opportunity to actually Bezos calls this, is that a one way door or a two-way door, right? If something’s a, if a decision is a two-way door where I could reverse it if it didn’t work out, I wanna be as nimble and as decisive as possible so I can test something new. If something’s a one way door where once I go through it I’m dead if I need to get back, then obviously I need to be more contemplative.

And to the extent that someone can try live ammunition quickly, see if they can find a market – because we haven’t even talked about the other problems, like compliance is one potential anxiety, whether it’s VAT or the Canadian stuff. Like there’s also fit, market fit, advertising, and can you give us some anecdotes on the non-compliant side of this? If I was contemplating an international expansion, let’s just use the UK as an example ’cause it’s a pretty big market. What are the top things I need to be doing related to my product or related to the marketing my product to, to have some chance of it being really successful in maybe the UK?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. Good question. So one, you wanna make sure, especially in Europe that you’ve got your margins figured out. Because the price includes value added tax and value added tax is substantial. So as a, across Europe, it’s gonna be a little different per country, but you could just use a rule of thumb to at least mental math.

One sixth of your selling price is gonna be going to value added tax pretty much off the bat. So if you see something selling for 24 pounds just know that’s not actually 24 pounds that’s coming to you. It’s 24 pounds that the 15.3% ’cause they add an extra 0.3% to your referral fees over there. So the 15.3% is going to be based off of what’s advertised, but that advertised price includes value added tax. So just know that off the bat, ’cause otherwise that can mess you up.

But then also when you’re looking at product match fit, start looking at things like is this 100% USA product that I’m selling? Some folks, I think Danny McMillan is the one I think I first heard this one from. He’s in the UK and he talks about like taco Tuesday, taco holders. Taco holders is almost becoming garlic presses, like in the sense of like somewhat of a generic product that people sometimes use for examples.

So that is a very American product that wouldn’t sell as much in Europe, no matter how you describe it, how much traffic you run to it. So you look at it there and you could use tools like Jungle Scout, Helium10 to figure out like, are people at least buying similar products or is it like, everything’s, a product would be selling a hundred units a day in the US is selling one a week. Or, it’s like the less than 10 in a month sign ’cause there’s just not enough data. But as long as there’s at least some sales you might make, then I would say it’s at least worth trying out. But what you then need to start looking at is, and you don’t have to get too crazy on this, ’cause I tend to find sometimes it’s better just to be in the arena to figure out okay, what are people actually saying?

And use auto campaigns to help you figure some of this out. But do look at are there certain words you might have to change the spelling of to be a little more local? I don’t know it’s gonna prevent you from getting sales. Like someone looks at it and says, oh my gosh, you didn’t put you in “color.” I’m not buying this product. It’s more, if they’re searching for the word color with a U in it, are you less likely to show up or your ads aren’t going after that because it’s not the spelling of what they’re looking for? So I would say that’s one of the things to keep in mind is the local context.

And UK is gonna be a little different whereas Canada’s gonna be pretty similar to the US. And then if you get into foreign languages you could start off with Google translate, but Google translates one of those just at least get up and running and try something. Or Amazon might even translate it using a machine. But then if down the road you might want to hire an actual translator that understands Amazon.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. And understands whatever culture it is. So a couple of nuggets I picked up there, Kevin. One is my American flag dog collar for my German shepherd, I probably am not gonna sell as many of those in the EU. That’s what I’m hearing.

Kevin Sanderson:
Some maybe, but not probably as well, relative to the population and the market size. All these markets are not as big as –

Tyler Jefcoat:
It’s an American centric product completely, that resonates. And the other thing, I don’t know if this is a fair rule of thumb, but for a lot of my clients, because you do have the VAT element. Is it fair to say, like if I was selling my product for a hundred dollars US, am I gonna need to charge 20% more? Is the market gonna need to be able to support whatever the equivalent of $120 is over there? Are you finding any kinda rules in terms of like how much more I might have to charge for a product to make it viable in an EU or UK marketplace?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. So this is gonna sound counterintuitive, but right now, as we speak, even though inflation’s getting outta control in the US, it’s getting outta control everywhere else. So the US dollar is actually strong now relative to some of the other currencies, which is great if you’re going to visit Europe. It’s not so great if you’re trying to repatriate funds from British pounds or euros.

So to, and this is where it starts getting into you’re comparing apples and oranges, but the pricing is not gonna be just as simple as saying, okay, if the conversion rate is this, I’m gonna just take that and then add on an extra 20% because the market might not bear it.

And you have to look at your fulfillment fees, your FBA fees, all that is gonna be in the local currency. So it’s really, what are you having Amazon take? Or minus Amazon’s fees, what are you taking home? So that’s where you really have to start looking at is this gonna make sense?

And another way to look at this is if you are in the US and you put a dollar in and every time you buy products, you’re really getting $2 out. Maybe over there, you put a dollar in and you get dollar 75 out. You’re still beating the stock market. You’re still finding new customers. And, oftentimes one of the things we worry about is when we make a change to our product in the US, that could make a big effect on our profitability.

Whereas, if you’re not getting the same margins in the UK it’s either that or zero if we’re not selling there. So it’s like if maybe the margins aren’t quite as good, but you’re still beating almost every other option of what you could do for a lot of sellers.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Well, it’s interesting, ’cause this is, now you’re touching – now you hit a chord, Kevin, ’cause we’re in the CFO discussion now where it really, to make this a neat and tidy math problem, it’s 100% predicated on what you just said. What is the opportunity cost? Because, because I don’t have unlimited cash. So I’ve got my $100K, I’ve got my a hundred thousand dollars US. What is the best investment that’s gonna give me maximum return on working capital?

And to your point that cash sitting idle or sitting on 24 months of inventory for US ’cause I’ve got big MOQs, doesn’t make any sense, and finding ways to sell those units is really important. And then what I’m weighing is okay, I’m gonna have to spend five times the advertising budget to get my Shopify site up.

That stinks. And I’m gonna have to go hire a hundred thousand dollar a year sales rep to get me into Home Depot. Okay. Now that I’m comparing apples to apples, getting lower profit margin in the UK actually might make sense because it eliminates some of the variables. I can still use Amazon for logistics and storage.

Yes. I’m gonna have to hire some compliance. I’m gonna have to increase my pricing. I’m probably gonna have to hire an agency to do some of the translation and get me into the right culture mix. But I think you’re right. I think the key is to be sober minded about it.

Oh, just a anecdote here. If I’m selling a million dollars with my – let’s say I have a single SKU. I sell a million dollars a year in the States here. What’s realistic in terms of what I will – let’s assume it’s a good cultural fit. I’m not, but in general, what are people seeing if they go EU, UK in terms of, is it another 10% or another half? What are they getting in terms of additional sales?

Kevin Sanderson:
As long as you have the same product portfolio, when it’s a good product fit, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect 10 to 20% of your US sales in UK. And similar to that in Canada. I know people that, seven figure sellers who have had, 25, 50% of their US sales just by adding on Canada. Collectively adding to one. So it’s a, it’s a good marketplace.

Like for me, it tends to be a very good chunk of my sales. And the nice thing too is they also have big Q4s and depending on when someone’s listening to this it’s right now, early August, now’s a good time to start at least the ball rolling, and you can start getting some Q4 sales over there. If you’re starting to see sales drop in the US because, economic concerns or whatever, is it possible that maybe your sales would’ve been higher a year ago in the UK? Potentially. Maybe my sales are actually up year over year. Some of that is due to inventory issues I was having last year, but either way you weren’t there at the time. So does it really matter?

Because if you’re getting additional sales, taking your existing skill set for selling on Amazon, and you’re getting a, that’s gonna help recoup some of those past lost sales from the US that you can’t just get those back necessarily. Or if things are going very well for you in the US, just throw little extra gas on the fire and, go north of the border to Canada.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it. Okay. A brand owner’s listening to this and they’re thinking, okay. I think I want to do something more to learn this. What’s the next step? If I’m, again, I’m that same million dollar Amazon US seller. I’m intrigued. I’m nervous because we’ve talked about compliance stuff. What is a tangible next step that John could take to move the ball down the road and really start testing an international market?

Kevin Sanderson:
Two things you could do that are tangible. One, just go to amazon.ca or amazon.co.uk. Look up your main keyword. Use your favorite tool. I don’t wanna plug any particular tools, but there’s lots of them out there that help you figure out what your potential sales might be for similar products right now.

Take one of those products, take the ASIN for it. Go to Seller Central into that country. So one tangible thing is if you don’t yet have a EU seller account, I think they’ve recently changed it, but it had been Inventories > Sell Globally. And then you could just add, you might have to just go to the search feature and look up Sell Globally.
But just going to Seller Central, add the European marketplaces. Just add all of them. You don’t have to use all of ’em. Just add it to your to your marketplace options. Or if you’re in Canada, if you’re looking at Canada, I should say it’s already there most likely in your US. Just go to the dropdown and change it to Canada.

Take the ASIN for a similar product that’s already selling in those countries, and just go to add a product, inventory, add a product, try adding it, and see if you have any restrictions. And most likely if it’s, let’s say private label type seller. You’re not gonna run into oh, you’re not authorized for Disney in Canada.

It’s gonna be something like, oh, you need a natural products number to sell protein supplements in Canada or whatever the case is. So then that also gives you a little bit of a understanding of what are some of the compliance stuff. It’s not gonna give you everything, but at least it gives you like, oh, okay, wow. I need to get this other registration because it’s already telling me that just to even sell the product.

Tyler Jefcoat:
No, I think that’s really good. Here’s, what’s lovely about what you just said, Kevin is that’s exactly what we do with our US listings. What I mean, whether it’s, there, there are 28 tools out there. Obviously Helium 10 is probably the most popular, but whatever tool you use, do that same activity, assessing the market, assessing keyword volume, assessing what you realistically think the opportunity is. And have you, maybe your VA or do it yourself in these marketplaces.

And you’re gonna find that Germany, UK and Canada are gonna be generally bigger opportunity zones than say Mexico and Sweden, but like you’re gonna stack rank and you might be surprised. Like you might be surprised that there’s a lot of volume in France for your product or something like that. And then I would say just to I’m reiterating your second step there, which is now go back to what Kevin said a few minutes ago and run a quick spreadsheet.

Amazon sellers love a good spreadsheet. What would happen if I had to pay additional fees? What would happen, now that I’ve pulled up the Seller Central fee preview report and look at what the FBA fee’s gonna be over there and just see, do I, do I believe, do I have conviction that I can charge a high enough price to make money?

And then I would just say, go for it, try it, test it. Especially, and I would say, especially consider testing it if you did what, like half of my clients did, Kevin. So half of our clients were really ambitious last fall. Because of supply chain slowdowns and some depression of demand didn’t sell through their inventory as quickly as they wanted to.

And they’re sitting on some extra stuff right now, and they’re trying to figure out what to do with that stuff. And maybe one possibility is to send a few pallets to another marketplace and just use it as a pilot. See if you can get the flywheel going there. Anything else about international steps or that process that you would love the listeners of this podcast to hear?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. So every now and then people will say hey, do you live in Canada? Just because for whatever reason, if you go on YouTube and you look up like how to expand to Amazon in Canada, chances are at least one of my videos on it is up there fairly ranked highly. So for whatever reason, some people think I’m in Canada.

I’ve probably spent five hours. That’s probably pushing it, maybe three hours in Canada, my entire life. And you don’t need to be Canadian to sell there, but for whatever reason, Canada’s just almost too close to home. It’s not far enough that the grass seems greener by going there. So people start looking at like even Australia sometimes before, like even looking at Canada.

So going back to your question earlier about mistakes people make, I think is overlooking Canada. Now, again, I’m very biased in this one, but I have found, most people are like shocked at what their sales end up being in Canada. Because right now, one of the things a lot of people do is, oh I could just do North American remote fulfillment.
And I could just use my US inventory. I don’t have to register whatnot. Those sales are just a fraction of what you would get from in most cases for actually registering and shipping in local FBA inventory into Canada.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it, actually. This is another – yeah I would say that’s actually a really important nugget is sometimes we can decide to shoot cannonballs before we shoot bullets. One of the ways to shoot bullets to try to calibrate your international business is to pick the easiest just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s worse.

And Kevin that’s a really good point is it’s probably because we’re so close. And I would say, and I don’t know what your thoughts are on this, but I would say in particular, if you have a brand that you believe is gonna resonate with Canadian style sports or something that might resonate with that audience, I completely agree with you with that thesis that, hey, don’t overlook this close to home marketplace. That’s really well said. Anything else?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. And also just another shout out for Canada. I’ve yet to find an actual number, but it’s somewhere between 70 and 90% of the population live within a hundred miles of the US border. Even though it’s the second largest landmass country. Like it’s still a sliver of it of where people actually live. And of course, ’cause you know, if you keep going north, it just gets colder. So everyone’s relatively close. You look at the big cities, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, they’re all fairly close to the US.

And so most people live near the US border, so that means their culture is, in some cases, closer to other US states than maybe some states are compared to each other.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Hey, wait a minute. Are you attacking Georgia?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yes. Yeah. Even though ’cause I’m your neighbor in Florida.

Tyler Jefcoat:
I was kidding. It’s like, why you just say it here? No, I totally get it, man. It makes so much sense. Guys, I hope that you did glean some value from that. So listen, I’m gonna take a second here, Kevin, you and I talked about this for a second before we launched the pod. This is the most wonderful time of year, Kevin. This is the time of year where football fans are all undefeated.

And I know that your hobby, at one point a semi-professional hobby, was to referee football games. Are you pumped about football? Do you still, were you so burned by like bad people in the refereeing world that you – you still love the game or no?

Kevin Sanderson:
I do, but I don’t watch it as much. And maybe it’s just, after a while, you start looking at the game differently, When you’ve been in it, so to speak. I still have a respect for the game.

I was on the team in high school, and I used the phrase “on the team” as opposed to saying I played in high school ’cause I would probably be using some stronger language than is warranted. But I was on the team. I was much better official than I was a, a player. But definitely have a respect for the game.

It’s a fun game. You learn a lot. You learn a lot about pressure situations. You throw a yellow flag on the ground in a stadium with a few thousand people, and half of ’em are gonna be your friends. Half of ’em are gonna be your enemies depending on what’s about to happen. And now you’re just gonna say, this is what I saw.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. If you’re in Tennessee or Gainesville, Florida, they’ll probably throw something at you. I mean there’s, yeah. There’s some –

Kevin Sanderson:
Oh no, like high school. Like sometimes they’ll come up to you afterwards. It was like, you destroyed the game. Yeah there, I mean, literally there were times that like police would have to help us get to the locker.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Hey people, it’s really it’s the same. It’s a double edged sword. People care immensely – by the way, for any of you listening to this who are not in the States, we love some American football here and probably take it a little bit too seriously. As our European brethren do in the European football. They take –

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah, and anything, with the word “football” in it is probably going to be a very popular sport the format might be different depending on where you live.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Kevin, tell us about your virtual summit and what you have going on and who should consider getting involved over the next week with that experience.

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. Thank you. So I’ve got the Brand Mastery Summit for e-commerce sellers happening August 16th through the 19th. You can go to brandmasterysummit.com and grab your tickets.

Basically what we brought together is about 20 amazing speakers on a variety of topics, paid advertising, brand building, copywriting, listing optimization, social media, getting traffic from outside sources, getting traffic to other places off of Amazon. You know how to really take your brand to that next level because it’s a skillset I think we all need and all need to constantly work on because if you really look at it, like Amazon keeps giving us more and more brand signals. Walmart’s doing the same thing. They’ve got basically their version of brand registry. People like knowing that there’s a brand behind the products they’re buying. And I think more and more that you can create that brand. You don’t have to be Coca-Cola or Disney to have a brand.

You could have a brand that’s important to the people that are buying from you and, or people just have a stronger affiliation after they buy from you. And so that’s the type of things we’re helping you drive more traffic, build more sales, but then also create a lasting brand.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it. So that was Brand Mastery Summit. Is that what it was?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yes, it’s the Brand Mastery Summit. So just go to brandmasterysummit.com.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Got it. Guys, for everything I’ve heard, these summits are dynamite. They’re virtual, which means you can still sign up even over the next few days here. So make sure you check that out. We’ll make sure we have the link, Kevin, for that in the show notes here. So people can grab it.

Kevin Sanderson:
And if someone’s listening to this in the future, it’ll just take them to a wait list page and they can get on the wait list for a future one. But if you are listening to this before the summit has ended, you can grab your ticket for $7 after the Summit’s over, more opportunity for $7 tickets, and we don’t offer the recordings publicly like ongoing. Sometimes we have specials and stuff, not and stuff like that, but I don’t just make it like constantly available.

Tyler Jefcoat:
If I could solve your problem and the entry fee might only be $7, you’d be crazy not to at least look into it. So guys check that out.

Kevin, listen we’re gonna run outta time here in a second. So I wanna close shop here, but the last thing we do in each episode of the Return on Podcast is to try to deliver some habits, hacks, practices that might really serve the rhythm of people’s lives. People look at, they wanna get better.

And so what is something that you are doing on a weekly or daily basis that is giving you an unusual return investment in your life personally or professionally?

Kevin Sanderson:
Wow. That’s a good question. What is one thing I’m doing on a weekly basis?

Tyler Jefcoat:
Could be anything. Habit, hack, practice. I’m a big fan, by the way, while you’re thinking, I’m a big fan of James Clear’s Atomic Habits, and the idea that we don’t rise to the level of our goals. We actually fall to the level of our habits. And so engineering the small things that if we’re consistent – and by the way, this could be personal. Like for instance my wife and I take a walk every morning now just to throw one in while you’re thinking.

Now that our kids are back in school, Georgia starts really early, we’re doing a 20 minute walk every morning, and it’s amazing how much that habit cultivates just closeness in my marriage. It’s not hard, but it’s a habit that’s meaningful. In business, I have a lot of other ones, but I just didn’t know if anything popped into your head that’s giving you an unusual ROI right now in your life.

Kevin Sanderson:
Oh, that’s a good question. And I would say maybe it’s just sometimes just talking about the goals. I have found, and sometimes there’s not things that are attributable, but they just somehow don’t make sense when I’m talking more about my goals to someone. All of a sudden things that are unrelated, not even to the people I was talking to, but just opportunities start presenting themselves.

And maybe it’s because I’m more acute to finding them. Or whatever the case is, if I’m out there talking about it, as opposed to just keeping it in my head or even just writing it down, but sometimes just talking them out seems to – things seem to disproportionately happen that you can’t explain.

Tyler Jefcoat:
That’s awesome. Love it. So processing. That’s great. What a great hack. Guys, anybody who’s made it 45 minutes into this pod. I just wanna thank you. It’s a gift. Kevin and I don’t take your time for granted. We both sincerely hope that you grabbed some nuggets that’ll give you some momentum as you look to expand your business internationally. ” Don’t forget about Canada.” That’s a, that’ll be the tagline. “Don’t forget about Canada.”

Kevin Sanderson:
Probably some Canadians will probably send me an email thanking me for saying that.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Yeah. Like don’t forget about those guys. We love those guys. Kevin, I’m assuming that if somebody was overwhelmed and wanted help expanding internationally, they could go to your virtual summit or you can potentially help them directly. Is that correct?

Kevin Sanderson:
Yeah. So two things they could do if they wanted, and this is evergreen. You could just go to internationalchecklist.com. I’ve got a checklist that’ll walk you through some of the steps of how you could create your own international empire on Amazon. Feel free to just email me, Kevin@maximizingecommerce.com. More than happy to answer any questions and see if I could help them in other ways.

Tyler Jefcoat:
Love it. Kevin Sanderson from Maximizing ECommerce. He’s given you a lot of nuggets. There’s some links. There’s a virtual summit. If you’re looking for help, you can email him directly. We’ll make sure we have those links in the show notes. Kevin, you’re the man, buddy. Thanks for joining me here today.

Kevin Sanderson:
Thanks for having me.

Tyler Jefcoat:
You got it, buddy. And then again, we’ll close the show. Friends, thanks for joining. This has been Return on Podcast. My name is Tyler Jefcoat, and guys. we just are thrilled to have you here with us. Have a great week. We sincerely hope that you kill it, and see you next week. Take care.

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