Today’s guest on the show is Gil Lang of Private Label Journey. Gil is from Germany, which is an important area that we need to investigate more and he’s here to share his insights into the Amazon Germany market. He is also a private label seller and runs the podcast Private Label Journey.
Gil started selling on Amazon nearly 3 years ago now, with a sports brand. He learned about Amazon selling on America podcasts while he was looking for different ways to make money online to give him the freedom to travel. Gil started blogging, YouTubing and podcasting on the topic with his partner Thomas, because there was no content for the German market. He now has the biggest Amazon Germany FBA community there is, with over 10,000 members. Gil has 2 brands with 2 seller accounts of his own on Amazon, has partnered up with 3 other companies and also runs an agency helping English speaking sellers to sell in Europe.
Amazon Germany is interesting from the size alone. It’s the 2nd biggest Amazon market there is. Most importantly, compared to the American market, Germany’s is not that saturated. In America, you have to have either a big budget or niche right down. In Europe, that’s not the case. You can go for a more broad niche. Which is the biggest reason why anybody should think about entering this market. Even though the Amazon Germany market perhaps isn’t going to grow much from here, European markets are all linked. Gil predicts that Spain, Italy, and France are all going to have growing Amazon markets in the next few years, so there’s still a lot of opportunities there.
Gil started with one product in the sports niche: jump ropes. Three years ago when he started with that in America it was already saturated, whereas in Germany it wasn’t a problem. Nowadays even in Germany, there are a lot of people playing in that field. If you look at products selling well in America, you can still jump in that market over in Germany. You do have to look a bit broader because, being a smaller market, there are no super small niches. You also have to get used to the difference in size of the market as it can feel quite boring selling 1 unit a day if you started out in America and are used to selling 20-100 units per day!
Firstly, as discussed, the German market is not saturated, which is a huge upside. Secondly, the marketing services also not as used. So there is lots of opportunity with the AMS platforms you could use. Thirdly, the sellers are not as aggressive in Germany as they would be in America. The review game has changed. In America, you have products with thousands of reviews. That’s not the case in Germany.
As for challenges, the language barrier is going to be a problem. You can’t have just a generic listing or get a random person to translate your English listing who doesn’t understand Amazon. You need to get a combination of people who know about Amazon and also know the language. The language barrier is not just about translation, it’s about rewriting listings.
Secondly, you must strategize if the product makes sense in Germany. Not everything will sell in Germany like it does in America. It’s just a different market so be prepared for that.
The third challenge is all the regulations you have in Germany that you have to take care of. In each European company, there are different regulations, you have to keep them in mind.
There’s also somewhat of a cultural barrier too: the reason things are more aggressive in America is that the consumers need you to scream in a place where everyone else is shouting, and also the regulatory environment is different.
If you’re used to using the BSR for estimating the sort of sales you can get in the American market, that will lead you up the garden path in both Germany and the UK. You have to have some knowledge of the German market. The BSR could mislead you, you have to look at the actual numbers.
In terms of category, it’s not that different between Germany and the American or UK stores. It’s hard to get into the supplement niche right now because it’s closed to new sellers in Germany. One interesting niche right now is board games. Other than that it’s the usual categories of garden/outdoors, sports, kitchen, and pet items that are still really interesting in Germany right now.
There are low reviews in Germany for the same number of sales elsewhere, which is attractive on the fact of it. Even compared to the UK, which might have a similar number of sales to Germany, the reviews are much lower. This is possibly because the American sellers are selling in the UK as well as they don’t have the language barrier there.
Just translating things isn’t enough. Gil suggests that instead of just looking at the keywords, start with really translating the English listing for the German customer in mind. Focus on good sales copy. Then after that, you start to look for the most important keywords and then put them in the listing. The process is turned the other way around, and it’s important to realize that.
The main mistake Gil sees in this area is mainly translations that are really poorly done, because somebody has put the listing straight into Google translate. Alternatively, perhaps it’s translated by a professional translator, but they don’t really know Amazon or sales copy. It’s got to be both translated well and have good copy, that’s the heart of it.
Even going from America to the UK market, you really should do fresh keywords. Just because the words mean the same in English, that doesn’t mean that’s what people are searching for.
There’s also a big difference between the aggressive side of copy in America, compared to selling in the UK and Germany. In Germany, you have to list the benefits of course, but really emphasise the details. Keep down the loud American marketing voice because it will put Germans off buying. The German people are really technicians and they like to know the details without over the top sales copy.
This is similar to the UK market. Americans are used to marketing as they’ve had over 100 years of advertising, and you have to be really obvious about shoving the benefits in their face whereas the details are a smaller thing. However, Germany is a detail-oriented culture, to a level that an English person might find strange and an American may not even understand.
There will be some people who skim read, but there will be a lot of people who have a really close look. After this, if they actually buy it, your product has to be perfect when it arrives. It can’t be a half deal because then they’ll leave you a poor review. But if it’s really good, you’ll probably never hear from them.
To some extent, you get unrealistic customers at the low end of the market anyway, in any country. But the chances of that happening in Germany are much higher. You cannot afford to annoy a German consumer.
Amazon Germany is close to the size of Amazon UK but there aren’t as many sellers. It’s the perfect opportunity for sellers to make an impact. One thing to be aware of is the difference in the mindset of the German buyer.
Next week there is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on. Gil and I are both going to be speaking at The Private Label Masterclass! This is an event you don’t want to miss out on. It’s going to be in London(sorry to my American listeners) and you’ll need to signup if you want to go. It will be Wednesday, 5th July. Sign up today!