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  1. #1
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    Selling to Americans

    I was approached by a clothes manufacturer located in Europe, and they wish to sell their clothes worldwide on-line (retail or wholesale sales). Their international stock is mostly geared for colder climates (e.g. United Kingdom, Northern Europe).

    They have a UK base, so they could ship products across and deliver them the their UK and European regions from here. Having said this, they do not have anything for the US. Is there a way to create a virtual US base to sell their online products from the US, or would we need to use that of the UK to do this?

    Looking at ways to market their products, I found the following websites:

    • Hammacher
    • Google Products
    • Google Shopping
    • Groupon UK / US
    • Amazon UK / US


    Many of those services to work need an actual physical business in their region, like for example, Google Shopping. I understand this topic might be border-line unethical, my intention is to increase sales.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot WebEminence's Avatar
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    Not sure I totally understand the question. Plenty of companies ship overseas from UK to US and Vice-Versa without having a "base" in the destination country. However, it is obviously expensive so you would need to have a product that warrants the increased shipping price to consumers.

    There are probably a number of fulfillment companies that do the exact thing you are looking for so that you wouldn't need to set up and pay for your own warehouse in the US. I'm not an expert on this but if I was in your shoes, this is the direction I'd go.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    Quote Originally Posted by WebEminence View Post
    Not sure I totally understand the question. Plenty of companies ship overseas from UK to US and Vice-Versa without having a "base" in the destination country. However, it is obviously expensive so you would need to have a product that warrants the increased shipping price to consumers.

    There are probably a number of fulfillment companies that do the exact thing you are looking for so that you wouldn't need to set up and pay for your own warehouse in the US. I'm not an expert on this but if I was in your shoes, this is the direction I'd go.
    Thanks for your reply.

    Looking at my options I think the best way to proceed is via an Amazon Store, as it covers many of the features I wanted to include. Not sure how Google Shopping works, or if it's at all successful at selling things, eBay seams to be a choice for VERY cheap products and/or second-hand goods. This leaves Amazon as the most reliable option, and it allows you to promote your products on more than one corner of the globe.
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  4. #4
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    Hello Sega.

    Please do a little more research before deciding to go with Amazon. I know it sounds easy, but there are dangers. I won't list all the problems (just google some phrase like "problems or dangers of selling on Amazon") but a few are the high percentage they charge, their strict shipping requirements, and the danger of them undercutting successful products.

    If the clothing company already has a site selling to the UK, it shouldn't be hard to modify it or add a section to sell to the US market. You may be able to give your clothing a marketing advantage by promoting the "British-ness" aspect.

    Do check into the options for mailing from UK to US. Is there a set of Flat Rate cartons that the clothing fit into? If yes, that makes the shipping easy because you can advertise a flat rate shipping fee. Be sure to tell people that the items are coming from the UK so they understand the shipping cost.

    If you have some success doing that, THEN contact a drop shipping (fulfillment) company in the US. You would ship them loads of your clothing, and they would mail or UPS individual orders to US customers. You would just need to change the shipping calculations on your site.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Sega,

    One point that you didn't mention was the scale of the operation: how many customers are they likely to have in the US, or how many sales are they likely to make there.

    This is important. If the operation - and the potential market - is of any reasonable size, by far the best approach would be to find a US-based distributor, that is, a company with a physcial presence in the US, and with a knowledge of US logistics, taxation, consumer legislation, and all the other essential stuff like that. The firm in question would be responsible for marketing the product, including setting the prices. They would order the goods in bulk from your client.

    But if this is a small operation, or your client is just starting out, then I would agree with Greg. Advertise the products from the client's own site, and make it clear that you will deliver to customers in the US. Make that part of the site US-friendly, for example by pricing in US dollars, and quoting US sizes. In fact, you could go one step further and have a dedicated US sub-domain.

    What I would not do is waste time with the likes of Amazon Marketplace - and certainly not eBay. These are not platforms for serious professional companies.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    From what I understand from some of my European friends, clothing tends to be quite expensive.

    Is the clothing that you want to be sold in the US better quality or a cheaper price?

    If it's not one or the other, it might have trouble catching on.
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  7. #7
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    Sorry for the late reply, last day in CY and getting ready to fly back to (hopefully) snowy England.

    Quote Originally Posted by Force Flow View Post
    From what I understand from some of my European friends, clothing tends to be quite expensive.

    Is the clothing that you want to be sold in the US better quality or a cheaper price?

    If it's not one or the other, it might have trouble catching on.
    Truthfully speaking I did buy my computer from the US and likewise with all my peripherals. You seam to have more purchasing power there. I am not sure on the prices. They are cheaper than what you would pay in Europe, but in comparison to the US market I have no idea. You won't be paying for a brand but for quality

    @Mikl ;

    I am guessing not many US customers. I was really looking at having the potential there, but not necesserily needing those customers. As long as people can buy then it would help business, or so I thought.

    The reason I suggested Amazon is that putting your products there get's advertised automatically on their website and get's the exposure for you to get sales. Having your own website would involve going down the path of Google advertising and spending money without knowing who will buy. From what I understand Amazon can start selling the products themselves, which arises as one of the dangers of selling their. If you manufacture the product however, this should not be an issue.

    @Greg Baka ;

    I know you did not want to speak about the dangers of selling on Amazon. I have done preliminary research and there are many dangers there just like there are dangers with all things. It's whether those dangers will get the client money. Amazon feed themselves, and their products are in direct competition with their authorised sellers. It sounds like a conflict of interest. As I have already mentioned, if you manufacture those products then the risk should be less, as they would need to buy those products from you (the supplier). I am not sure how low Amazon would go, if they would start to manufacture their own products to undercut somebody, but if this was the case nobody would ever sell there.
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