Amazon tweaks app in key markets to encourage more international shopping

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Amazon is pushing US goods at Brazil, China, Germany and Spanish-speaking markets with the launch of a new app in these countries with some new features to encourage international shopping.

Not only will shoppers be able to shop in a range of languages – English, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and simplified Chinese, potentially opening up some 25 new markets to Amazon – but the marketplace is also seeking to simplify the logistics of international shopping, with better display of pricing, shipping costs and import duty estimates – and Amazon is pledging to manage carriage to these countries and handle customs clearance.

Goods on the app will also be filtered to only be displayed if they are available for shipping to the market in which the app is being used and are allowed to be sold there.

The move by Amazon is interesting because many brands and retailers would be forgiven for thinking that all these services in these markets were already available. The move, however, marks a distinct step by the marketplace to expand into these big markets.

Success may not easily follow, though. China is already well served by Alibaba and JD.com – as well as giant US retailers such as Walmart also seeing it as a target for marketplace like sites in conjunction with real world stores – while Brazil, while Latin America’s largest economy, is beset by labyrinthine and bureaucratic customs and import tax regimes. This has already hampered Alibaba’s plans to expand in this market.

But Germany does offer some potential. Germany is Amazon’s second largest market behind the US – at almost $14 billion and accounts for more than a tenth of the company’s total revenue. The German online market is also growing – the German market grew almost 20% in 2016 according to Wortfilter. This is a market that many UK retailers already recognise: according to Mark Steier of Wortfilter who did the research, almost half of Amazon Germany’s third party retailers are foreign traders. Whilst these numbers don’t take into account revenues, it does amply demonstrate the attractiveness of Germany to cross border retailers.

A hefty 20% of Amazon Germany retailers come from the UK. Over 10,000 UK marketplace traders are selling their products on the German site which confirms everything we hear about Germany being a profitable territory to trade into.

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