Episode 173 everyone, Global From Asia podcast – and things are so hot over here – we have so many amazing podcast episodes ready in the pipeline I am having trouble picking who to showcase next – but – this is one that I thought would be great to put up next – John Cavendish is an established seller in Europe – we worked together to get his Hong Kong company setup as well and he has been rocking it in Europe! He calls it the second Amazon gold rush, and I am so excited to share today’s interview with you all today. Which – can be done from Asia, China, Hong Kong – sticking to our theme of the show here – “Global FROM Asia”!
Also – for those who bought the Cross Border Summit online passes – the presentations and images are in your Global From Asia membership account – but the videos should be ready May 5, the Chinese video company is working hard on getting them ready for me to enter into the member’s site. We are still selling online passes for those who missed it check it out at www.globalfromasia.com/crossbordersummit2017
Alright – and now for this week’s show – and don’t forget – you can get the notes and links at globalfromasia.com/episode173
Topics Covered in this Episode
So how long have you been an Amazon seller? What are some of your revenue numbers now, and how has the growth been over time?
Which markets did you start in?
Amazon EU marketplace
So when and how did you get into the Amazon EU marketplace?
I know that a lot of people focus on the “big one”, the US market – what are some advantages of going into Europe.
What are some of the disadvantages?
Launching strategies then and now
Launch strategies versus the way he did it and how he would do it now.
VAT and other taxes?
We worked together to get you your HK company setup, that is what you’re using now for your corporate structure? How is the business structured?
Are there certain stages someone should take in expanding into Europe? Small inventory, pricing testing, category selection?
Starting in Europe
If one has a stronghold in US market, is that helpful in Europe, or is everyone starting from scratch?
Common pitfalls you, or those you have seen, make when coming into Europe
What is the future you see in Europe, and Amazon in general.
How can people reach out to you?
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 29:52
Thank you John – check out his course at fbafrontiers.com and support! it’s a shame we couldn’t get him at the Cross Border Summit – but I am telling you guys – everyone – mark your calendar to be in Shenzhen in Mid April 2018 – we have amazing things already coming together – sponsors lining up – speakers asking to come on.
And – there is some other events, more niche and specialized- coming up each month or so going forward. GlobalFromasia.com/events is a good page to check out every once in a while – or subscribe to our newsletter at globalfromasia.com/subscribe
That is it for today.
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“So the first thing that I would do would be to get your VAT number and you want to make sure you’ve got that because you cannot send anything, even start posting it to the UK before you got your VAT number and your EORI number, which is the one you need to go in forms when you are importer.”
Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.
Mike: Episode 173 everybody Global From Asia podcast. Things are getting hot over here. Been so many amazing follow-ups on speakers and sponsors and attendees at the last week’s Cross Border Summit. It’s been way overwhelming in a positive way and we are already preparing for next year. So, also so many podcasts interviews. More people want to get on the show. Really amazing people. As well as there’s so many interviews over the recorded. So hard for me even to decide of which one to put next but I was thinking about it and we have an EU Amazon seller really scaling things ups and doing well and the friend of mine, we actually work together sitting on my, with his Hong Kong company structure, John Cavendish and he is got to be talking about rocking it in Europe, it’s called second Amazon Gold Rush. You might be asking Global From Asia, why are they using Europe but I mean there are tons of sellers in China and Asia totally dominating in Europe right now. A lot of you I’ve met at last Cross Border Summit are really crushing in Europe. We’re Global From Asia which is what it is saying you don’t need to have a company or live in those parts of the world to sell and make tons of money. Just the way the world is, you could be emotional about it if you want. But this is how things are going and we’re trying to help English speaking international business owners to happen to that, over here in Asia. Also, for those of you that bought the Cross Border Summit online pass, thank you so much. We have some information already on there but it’s tons of work to video, guys are still editing. All the recorded sessions and it will be up there by the end of this week, May 5th, 6th or 7th or something like that. I also got to work on finishing building those pages out from the private membership. It’s also available for sale at globalfromasia.com/crossbordersummit2017. Also, show notes for this episode would links to things we talked about or mentioned or as always on the episode number of the show we’re at 173. So that’s globalfromasia.com/episode173. And now, for our interview with John talking about setting Amazon Gold Rush in Europe.
Mike: Okay. Thank you everybody for tuning in to our Global From Asia podcast. We’re going into Europe from Asia. It’s actually fitting of the podcast name, Global From Asia, and we have with us, John Cavendish. Thanks for being here, John.
John: Thanks for having me, Mike. It’s good to be on the show.
Mike: Sure. You’re all over the world, living out of a back pack or digital nomads, would you say?
John: I’m not sure about the traditional nomads, but yeah I mean, I’m mostly based in Saigon, Vietnam at the moment, for the last few months but we are travelling everywhere recently.
Mike: Yeah. I’ve seen like I said earlier, I kind of stalk you on Facebook a little bit when I see you in different parts of the world. Sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it’s snowy, it’s pretty awesome. it’s amazing world we live in. So, maybe give us a quick overview of what you’re doing now, John?
John: Great! Yes, basically 2 years ago, I was working at office job as Engineer in London. Looking for ways to make money online. So, I was listing the podcast like yours, just listen to other people doing at that time. Seems so many people really making good money at Amazon. So, I started doing. I start selling at Amazon. I took a course taking different products in the USA looking at Europe and shows what to do and start with 5,000 dollars.
Mike: Very cool. Exciting times. Some people are more shy than others, maybe I’m shy to ask, but do you mind sharing some of your Amazon numbers?
John: Sure! Yeah, I mean we start, I’ve been working full time for last year and half and it does well over a hundred thousand dollars a month now in revenue and about 25,30% profit.
Mike: Great! Very good. Congratulations! Seems like that, jump with the 5,000 investment in London turned out to be a smart move. Very good.
John: Little bit. I mean, you know, about a million percent ROI.
Mike: So, yes, so then is a lot of coming from, like you’re talking about the kind of like gold rush the second gold rush is maybe title the show I haven’t decided yet but seems like the new frontiers is that what you say a lot of this has come from?
John: This is old being Amazon Europe. Yes. So, I’ve been selling now for just over 2 years on Amazon. To be honest, for the first year or so, it was lots of me trying different things freaking out how Europe works coz lots of training materials was on selling in the USA and that wasn’t really anything on how do you grow rapidly as fast as possible in Europe. So, I mean I was figuring it out. Once I cracked about a year, it was just double in revenue and double every month perhaps for the last first 8 months last year.
Mike: Great, man. Yeah, this bloody Americans like me just talk about our American. I’m trying to talk about America on my show and, but it’s true,right? I think it’s a complete effort a lot. Some of those people sometimes put on my blogs, they talk, I’m American myself. But I tried ways mentioned different occasions but I think a lot of continents out there the in US and tricks. So, it’s been exciting to have you give us some, knowledge on the European market. There’s so many ways we can start but maybe yours, do you think you have an advantage you are from London. I mean you, is that, a market you start in UK. How would some even know. I mean Europe is I joked I make fun of myself as American a lot, but I think a lot of people, it’s very complex work as you’re saying, there’s always different countries and languages, I don’t even know if matters.
John: We can touch all that stuff later. We can touch everything. I think we should break down your questions until like.
Mike: Yeah, it’s overwhelming. Somebody throw a dart board, pick one like a board game or something, like put the risk for that. Piece of one of the countries or.
John: No. I mean, basically how I go about, it’s very simple. Amazon want you to be successful in Europe so they make it straightforward as possible. Europe may have, has 5 marketplaces, which will fill to 26 countries but it’s all from one seller central account and Amazon has an amazing distribution network which has pretty much only own by them. You can keep all your inventory to start within 1 country and ship it into all this 26. So, all you need to register your VAT in that one country, ship and then you can sell to all over Europe.
Mike: Alright! That is pretty simple and then I guess you ever need to, you think of what country. So what would you say for simplicity sake, it similar to the US market where like people California can buy, New York can buy, Florida can buy, as States.
John: A little bit. The difference, what happens is you have to have 5 set of marketplaces. So, there’s currently UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. And then you have a set listing for each one of these markets. So, it’s quite kind of advantage in some way. That you can control separate link, some will leave you bad reviews, saying to UK, it won’t affect your sales in any of these European countries or European marketplaces. Your listing is still doing very well. Also means, if you’ve done your research right? So, I did my research, I’ve checked the product everywhere in marketplaces from where I star and then if you think you’ve got do really well in Germany that happens. You can just go what, everything well in France and that happens to me few times and few products. Actually selling super well in Italy, and I’m like “Oh wow! I don’t know that will happen”. but yeah, it’s great.
Mike: Okay. So then, if there’s good reviews can also be spread out I mean so, there’s positive and negative. Negative reviews or competition, different markets, 5 markets you have better control, I guess of how you handle that?
John: Yeah, but the control and it’s native language each marketplace scares people quite a bit on the start. But the same is you realized you can just get to translate and translate your listing and then respond to customer inquiries very easily using third party software it’s very straightforward.
Mike: Alright! So, then that will. I guess, I have this earlier discussions so that that would be the main differences or just some other differences that you can think of with Global America?
John: I mean, there is positive and negative. So, one thing I think that really big thing in Europe is that it’s just so big, it’s just a massive population. Europe probably has the twice the population of the USA. And it’s compared as the moment. So you have access to this huge pool of customers and ecommerce is you know still on the rapid growth stage in Europe which is you know is kind of plateauing and getting saturate in the States. So, if you get in now you kind of that point where you can grow in e-commerce and Amazon is advertising so hard and pushing all of this which is so hard. But you can take advantage of Amazon’s huge marketing. Tens of billions standing at the moment is insane.
Mike: Yeah, it’s just amazing. I wonder, just brand matter? I mean, this is obvious more generic question. I guess there’s of course long term brand value. I guess anybody should be trying to build the brand. Is that something you think, that still valuable course but what would you say somebody started out, should I worry about this or should I get, is this a time thing, it seem, I like the idea of new gold rush like, you said Amazon put lot of money to it and like double the size of the market and have to, maybe less competition in the US so, price is, still better focus. Some strategies in the Amazon marketplace or US.
John: Yeah, I mean, definitely want to build a brand but as you’re saying Amazon in the US or Europe is very much a feedback marketplace. So, it’s not as you said something it’s not necessarily or usually it’s not the big brand that comes up first best market that comes up first. You follow the standard of Amazon promotion tactics that now legal. Or once they comply with TOS as it is changing all the time. So if you know if you don’t that, there’s no reason why you can’t be one of the top sellers in Europe, your brand in the Europe.
Mike: Yeah. This got me excited so. Yeah. You don’t really need to have, maybe you need to be in the US at all. Like you’ve never even sold mostly all in Europe your whole time in Amazon
John: I did one product in the States. Which I sold break even at one point when I was starting out before I really new in the system of what I was doing, I double time in Europe as soon as I realized on what amazing opportunity it was and rolled out as many products just my cash flow will allow.
Mike: Very cool. So, getting me excited here. Let’s go into some launching of course getting into the market of course you said there are services out there that will do a lot of these things for you. But, getting into the markets let’s say the UK and you getting, maybe give us some of your own launch experienced.
John: Okay. So, there’s different ways of doing it. So, I would know if I was you know being how to do this, I will be very aggressive in terms of marketing and making sure when you launch and all of marketplace simultaneously. Because in some marketplaces, few reviews in Europe and in times still do really good ball game, you just want to be everywhere at the same time. So you want to make sure you have done all your preparation, you’ve got your listings in English then translate to languages. And you’ve got your initial reviews I wish we can talk about later. Ask questions about people who already have some US products. But using some basic motion to get reviews like only even 1 to 3 reviews like you have to get on the States 5 years ago. And then this starting to PPC, starting with getting some rank, getting ranking up and and then selling.
Mike: Okay. I like it. I think maybe some people sellers don’t get into the European market is this whole VAT and other taxes. But maybe Donald Trump push more people to Europe, who knows. You know, are we actually episodes specifically on that a little bit. Maybe is just a briefly, should I be concerned at all I guess from sellers?
John: I mean, in terms of your profitability. Not really, because everyone’s paying VAT. So that’s price accordingly, the price into your margins. And VAT is like as you say I could probably talk about now. I’ve learned a lot about VAT, we got massive and pass all the threshold in all the countries and how to register and selling market in Europe. But at that time you get into that point, doing hundred gram amount that is not so much of you paying some couple of ground to do your own taxes for you. Throw that away.
John: To start with, you need to register VAT in any market that you hold in country. So, you start with the UK, I would because it’s in English. it’s kind of the nice system. It’s online. And you already have to do the return every 3 months, rather than every 13 times a year in Germany, or whatever is it you need in other marketplace. And then from that, as long as you holding UK, using European threshold you can easily book to every marketplace until you hit a certain threshold in each marketplace and you have to register that. So, that’s how i would start with VAT. You just have to register before it could even import goods into Europe. So you just get an agent like, one a girl I guess to register for you.
Mike: Yeah. You know we get, we talk about corporation stuff. It’s great we’ve work together in your Hong Kong corporation. Is that matter? Some people wondered? I get a lot of clients and listeners emailing me how to get a VAT number for my company, if I’m not in the company UK or in Europe, to sell in Europe. I think that’s not true, right?
John: You’re right. So, to get a VAT number you just need a company. Depending where your company is, depends on how much detailed the HMRC with the UK government tax people. Look at your application and Hong Kong is a great market. They see it as, China is not, or sounds sketchy. So, you got to get VAT number ready easily with a Hong Kong company.
Mike: Great! And then the basis is that, to file your VAT and paying your taxes to those countries with that account whichever service that may use which is help make sure your bills are accounted and paid out properly.
John: You just need service provider as a Hong Kong company because you need somebody that is based in UK with UK address and to be your joint representative so UK government can chase them if you don’t pay but apart from that as you say, very straight forward.
Mike: Very cool and so is there some stages so let’s say somebody selling already in the US, that is listening. Of course, we’ll talk about your amazing course at the end. This getting started in the Europe, should they just send some? Of course, the product buy from China or in Asia so they’re selling to FBA and Amazon US, so should just get some stock, is there a certain stages. I know we talk about launch strategy going every marketplace at the same time, what are some strategy thing for testing the market in Europe.
John: Yeah, I mean, so the first thing that I would do, would be to get a VAT number. So, I mean you need a company which is one of the various entry. I know some people in the US just tell us personal entity which if you one of the things not to do. You get sued and screwed, make sure you got a company that could legally protect you. And then you start whether it’s US company or Hong Kong company use that to register to VAT in Europe, that can be delayed sometimes. And you want to make sure you got that, you cannot send anything even start posting into UK before you got your VAT number. And your EORI number which is Europe’s number which is the one needs to go on a way of forms when you are importer.
John: And then open up the UK seller account, send to Amazon all of the forms, because they actually do check for your work in the UK, name yourself like a toy, they won’t probably even notice. Do all that stuff and make sure you register and then. Once you’re ready to go, get all your listing translated. And as you said you could take our course, you can just try yourself, get a translation done and that’s if you make some sales. I mean, obviously doing some real marketing in the following, always about a thing to do, but the marketing part of that, you got to give yourself, I’m sure you make some money.
Mike: Yup. And so would it matter kind of come back to expanding for Europe, is there an advantage for having a presence on Amazon US or either markets when you go in there or about the same field you start today with the new seller account in Europe.
John: The real advantage you have if you are already selling something in the state is really knowing the product is a good quality. Like lots of people who source a new product, I’m sure about on the other podcast but essential stuff like getting a proper order stand and making sure the supply is, etcetera. So you know you’ve got a high quality product if you do have a small list of previous customers even in States you can use some like bill and hacks to get reviews in Europe for example with Amazon US seller account can leave a review in Amazon Europe which other people couldn’t understand. And you can send them that way if send an email directly.
Mike: Got it. Interesting. So, that’s cool. So, maybe some new sellers that have feel like, I’ve heard they’re talking about some people feel they’ve missed the gold rush but maybe some people felt that way could jump on to European gold rush. Is that what you think?
John: I think completely, like it’s so wide open at the moment and as you were saying varies to one country, but the 20 is like ready to but it’s stop any of cowboys who would just buying a few things from China, throwing them on, and then going out a business 3 months later. When they done that they surprises down to the minimum and destroy the whole category. That can’t really happen so much in Europe. Because somebody spent the money and start a real company and invested some time and figure out what they actually need to do. So, I think it’s a bad place to be in the USA. In my opinion.
Mike: Cool. Very good. Sometimes maybe, insulting doesn’t hurt anyway, how about common mistakes, is there any kind of like of course getting set up get a company upfront VAT filed and your documents. Is there anything obvious might be forgetting here?
John: To be honest, it’s all the cliche stuff which people everyone knows you shouldn’t forget but does. Like during the pricing even some of my friends figure Amazon sales have messed up their VAT calculations when they’re working on the profit of the product. And so now I felt like a spreadsheet, I put the numbers in, I make sure that I have profit. And then you know before you loan something, and actually we created online the calculator. So once you put your shipping cost and your cost from China per unit you just put your numbers into it and how much you got to make in terms of percentage and dollar and pound profit. That’s online and our website fbafrontiers.com/calculator.
Mike: Great! We’ll link it up. Very cool. I think that something, I’ll be honest not actively selling now and begging me to say that should do it. But maybe I’ll make a case study of this or something maybe we do together but i’m also thinking you know, you’re getting me thinking, a lot of people are just afraid, you’re in this machine and huge liability later for taxes. That you definitely have to this calculator in place. If there’s VAT which is different, we had another shows like you says, it could be our talk in your private course but. You got to definitely make sure you check on your numbers because it could go fast, like you’re saying Amazon really moved your inventory fast you gotta be careful. So we could link it here calculators but definitely should be using that. So, what’s the future, seems like Amazon is (power interruption) Alright we’re back everybody, I actually, we always have internet issues here in China. So, this wasn’t my fault, it’s Vietnam fault not China’s fault today for the internet there. Just cut up for second. John’s back we’ll just continue on. So, this is kind of get excited here, you know you seems you are in all Europe and you see as a bright future for Amazon sellers and anything that’s for Amazon you know wants everybody to be going and I guess maybe kind of general for the future here. What are you thinking?
John: Yeah. I mean, I just see it as Amazon is repeating itself. What happen in the USA 5 years ago with rapid expansion now is happening as we speak in Europe. That rolling out more countries, taking out thousands and thousands employees in UK and other countries in Europe. They could have native platforms in every country. And without product what were doing basically going into any old market so as new markets come out with doing our best to beat the people and then so that we can lead people through it. Make sure they understand how to take advantage of this all new stuff.
Mike: Great! let’s go on to your course. So, you’re saying like, you’re just tired of re-explain this people asking how you do it. So you made this course which is on fbafrontiers.com and you seems like you actually working with people as well may be give people an idea on what you’re offering here?
John: Yes, so because we just setting up on this, were off bring any bit assigned at the moment. 30 minute consultation, well I basically me and my business partner basically ask you about what you want to do, you know how you got to get there into Europe. It’s such an amazing opportunity right now, to get, to launch in Europe and expand your business and make money with the product that you have if you’re selling into States. Or to launch now with competition if you’re not selling yet, I mean I personally get really sick of the whole lifestyle sale that everybody does for the online courses. So I didn’t want to get down that route. Everybody knows you can make money on Amazon now like you can make a lot of money but you know you can make more money if you work with people who know what they’re doing and they’ve done it before.
Mike: Yeah. So, of course there’s sales page at all but it’s videos, basically showing people how to get started and what they need to know is. You asked would they know how to sell on Amazon or somebody just got started have to also learn?
John: You could learn if you get in started. We cover everything quickly on the basics. The firm is the basis done hundred times over in high quality already. We’re covering a lot of Europe’s specific stuff. Obviously it has questions through our private Facebook you will add to once you bought the course and you can easily ask those questions right away and somebody can point you in the right direction.
Mike: Very good. This course just the community part is important on everywhere, just also reassures that you’re doing it the right way. And so, that’s really appreciate your time and seems really exciting and anything else people can reach out, because this is fbafrontiers.com and there’s calculator too that people can use. Any other ways people can engage with you guys online?
John: Actually, if you go to the page, we do a Amazon new product ideas update which we update regularly. Which shows criteria and basically jungle scout of each marketplace. And what we’ve chosen and why we would choose this item. So you could go in there just for free and have a look at what opportunity, right now.
Mike: Okay. That’s a great price. I know we don’t want to see price in the internet. Because internet changes all time but it’s a good offer for sure so people should not hesitate taking it up because your experience is definitely worth it. So alright John, thank you so much for your time and maybe catch up, get more shows in the future I think it’s cool like merging Hong Kong and Europe you know that is global business online and e-commerce. So, thanks so much.
John: For sure, we have to catch up in Hong Kong in the next couple of months.
Mike: Thank you, John and please support John and you know in the show by purchasing one of his great courses at fbafrontiers.com and give him some love. Thank you note for this episode you did put a lot into it and we talk quite a bit, prepare for it. I couldn’t get him for this year’s summit but i’m talking to him about 2018 Cross Border Summit, everybody mark your calendar in mid April 2018 we have some amazing things already sponsors knocking on the door. We got speakers already, so just to come out and attendees are already you know, plan to return to those who missed it. Also, we have lots of others, smaller events that’s scaled throughout the year, we try to have different workshops, masterminds seminars, meet-ups, etcetera, you can find that on one page globalfromasia.com/events so maybe bookmark that or subscribe to my newsletter spend quite a bit time writing those out and putting different news, not just ads not just stuff. But also stuff happening in this industry globalfromasia.com/subscribe. That’s it for today everybody. But I am thinking about doing Cross Border Summit in Brazil, Florida, LA somewhere in the UK Australia, Melbourne, so if you’re interested being a partner with us in different parts of the world doing Cross Border Summits, now be a great time to reach out to us you can send it to Claire and I at [email protected] Also summer’s coming we got couple of interns interested to come out here and spend some time in China. If you want to get your hands dirty with me and team here at Global From Asia, just send me a note. We also have globalfromasia.com/jobs for you to see that and more. So much stuff happening, really exciting time for Global From Asia. Thank you for listening. I met a ton of people also at the FBA meetup that Chris Dave put together at Guangzhou. Be there again that night the show comes online and this is so great to see things kind of coming to life and thank you for even just listening. Giving feedback, iTunes, comment to our summit or whatever how can you able to support, I do appreciate it. Global From Asia’s got a long long ways to go. But it’s come a long way as well. Thank you again and enjoy the rest of the week. Signing off Mike Michelini. Bye.
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