Going international with e-commerce – choose a platform to match your needs

Return to blog

The growth of e-commerce platforms has provided businesses with more diversified ways to sell, grow and advertise. The global expansion of platforms is challenging product manufacturers to evolve at breakneck speed, but platforms also offer opportunities for growth. Once the initial entry threshold is crossed, each platform offers its own unique angle to grow sales.

How to get on the platforms and what is their competitive advantage?

Amazon: Amazon makes it easy to open a sales account and requires no previous experience in e-commerce sales. Amazon is the largest, most global platform available and can support sellers with logistics services. Amazon’s competitive advantage, but also its biggest stumbling stone, is its size. As a large and reliable player, it attracts consumers worldwide. However, Amazon has grown so large that access to quality seller support can be challenging at times.

Walmart Marketplace: competing with Amazon in terms of services, Walmart is so far mainly confined to North America. Only businesses that are registered in a limited list of countries can become sellers. Walmart’s logistics services and advertising capabilities mimic Amazon’s, but a significant competitive advantage is that with Walmart’s in-store display advertising, your ads can also appear on Walmart’s brick-and-mortar locations.

Temu: The explosively growing platform, which is also widely used in Finland, offers its users dazzling low prices and a wide range of mass-produced consumer goods. Price competition is fierce on Temu, but by succeeding, vendors can achieve high sales volumes.

Etsy: For low-volume producers and makers of unique crafts, Etsy is the platform of your dreams. Etsy reaches exactly the kind of users who value quality and are not as price-sensitive as those who shop on other platforms. Etsy has also experienced growth and continues to reach a larger and more international user base. As a platform, it offers brands a sales channel and a way to promote their listings, but the logistics and storage remain the responsibility of the seller.

eBay: eBay, which combines auctioning and fixed-price selling, really does offer almost anything. eBay is one of the most used online platforms in the world, but like Etsy, the logistics and storage are the responsibility of the seller.

Platforms for every need

When choosing an e-commerce platform, it’s important to consider the following:

  • What is the main need that the platform should address
  • What is the size and behaviour of the platform users
  • Does the platform’s reputation match the brand’s image?
  • How does the platform support growth in sales?

All platforms are suitable for international business growth. Amazon is still the best choice for many people starting out internationally, as it offers everything from storage to shipping and returns. You can also easily access brand protection services, advertising solutions to support sales development and a wealth of analytics to support your business. If you have a successful e-commerce background and the resources to register your business in the US, Walmart is a viable expansion target.

While Amazon and Walmart offer a wide range of products, it is not the right place for every product. For quality design products or handcrafted goods, Etsy is the place to be considered primarily. While Etsy’s advertising tools are not as extensive, the platform has the advantage of the users themselves. If you want to buy a product that you expect to find on Etsy, you go to Etsy to search. In this case, sponsoring listings and good search engine optimisation are the main means of visibility and sales.

eBay may work best for sellers who want to test their products and collect reviews relatively quickly and easily. Joining and listing processes are simpler on eBay than on Amazon, and products are not limited to crafts and design items. Temu is only realistic if you can keep up with fast fashion trends and offer high-production volume and low-priced products.

Increasing sales

Each of the platforms compared has a unique revenue driver in terms of search engine visibility and advertising that supports sales and sales growth. Etsy and eBay stand out as the most interesting because of the selection of categories and product tags. eBay supports the selection of two categories, primary and secondary. Etsy, on the other hand, allows you to add meta tags to your listing to optimize search engine visibility.

When doing similar optimization on Amazon and Walmart, keywords need to be embedded in the title and product descriptions. On Amazon, the keyword list that remains in the metadata is similar in purpose to Etsy tags. Allthough, Amazon and Walmart do have the advantage of more extensive advertising tools. Both platforms offer display advertising, which allows you to display your ad outside the platforms.

On all platforms, continuous optimisation and monitoring of buying trends is the cornerstone of sales improvement. Take advantage of both in-platform analytics tools and external service packages to gain valuable data to support your optimisation. If internationalisation through e-commerce is on your agenda, contact the experts at YAP! We support your journey from market analysis to continuous sales development.