Episode 79 – Advice on Making Sure Your Side-Hustle Runs Like a Business

How many of you can remember what you were doing when you were 13 years old? 

I was probably playing hockey.

This episode’s guest was forging relationships that she’d later put to use in making an Amazon sellers’ eCommerce path a significantly safer environment. 

She might not have moved far from where she grew up, but in other ways her reach has been great.  

One way to envision the influence she has had on businesses is to picture the diagrams in the back of the in-flight magazines that show all the possible places that international airlines fly.  

Little black lines radiating in star-burst patterns from many different focused hubs. 

These images don’t just stand for the far-flung knowledge base this guest has worked hard to develop, they also offer a visual representation of the global nature of eCommerce in 2019.  

Today, on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton speaks with Kristina Mertens from Sermondo.  She’s going to walk us through the process she uses in helping FBA service providers reach more clients and Amazon sellers find the right services, all around the globe. 

Kristina is the Business Development Manager for Sermondo where, she says that “companies, agencies and freelancers list their services in over 20 categories, while sellers looking for services search and compare those providers – all in one place.”

Kristina’s story started in Munich, Germany, where as a 13 year old she started a friendship with the young man who would not only become a life-long friend, he would also make her aware of eCommerce as well as later creating the company that helped her reach so many Amazon sellers. 

Her life in Munich was one of what she refers to as “parallel tracks.”

While earning a degree in (appropriately) global business management, she was fascinated watching her longtime friend struggle throughout a particularly challenging product launch on Amazon.  

A love of problem solving led her to think to herself, “there must be a better way of finding service providers.”

The eCommerce ecosystem is full in almost equally large quantities of amazing opportunities and the potential for either outright dishonesty, willful incompetence, or both. 

Amazon sellers know that our job is to go into this business with our eyes wide open, aware that this opportunity represents the world in a (very big) microcosm. 

What we all need is the best, most regionally applicable and accurate information we can get.  

It’s a bit of a cliché, but the world is shrinking. 

We source in China. 

We outsource our own personal VA’s to the Philippines, perhaps. 

But our business is increasingly coming from all over the world. 

Here’s the problem. 

It’s hard enough to know the best local place to get your cup of coffee or dry-cleaning done, let alone answer those same two questions for a city halfway across the globe. 

That’s what Kristina and Sermondo propose to do for you.  

Listen in and find out more. 

In episode 79 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Kristina discuss:

  • 01:20 – Kristina’s Origins in Munich and with eCommerce
  • 04:30 – Her Parallel tracks of University Studies and eCommerce
  • 06:00 – Loving the Idea of Helping People Solving Problems
  • 08:45 – Are There Cross-Cultural eCommerce Differences?
  • 11:27 – Common Problems
  • 14:45 – Two Distinct Types of Compliance  
  • 14:48 – A Checklist for New European Sellers
  • 19:24 – North American Difficulties for European Sellers
  • 20:45 – A Simple Google Translation is Not Enough
  • 22:17 – Local Agencies Know the Search Behaviors and the Market
  • 23:45 – Selling Outside of Amazon
  • 25:40 – Unimagined Business Opportunities
  • 28:40 – Electronics Require Another Level of Legal Knowledge
  • 30:28 – Kristina’s 30 Second Tip 
  • 31:45 – How to Reach Out to Kristina

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.


Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ll learn how childhood friends grew up to be business partners that help sellers not get cheated by their service partners.

Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted, and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And today guys, I have got somebody from another part of the world. I’ve got Kristina Mertens who is– you are currently in Germany, are you Kristina?

Kristina Mertens: Yeah, in Munich. In Germany.

Bradley Sutton: In Munich, Germany. Welcome to the show. Thank you for coming on. I know it’s kind of late over there. I think 7:00 PM you said, right?

Kristina Mertens: Yeah, it’s seven. Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m excited to do this.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. So I always like to start this because my philosophy is, and I like proving it, that it doesn’t matter what somebody’s cultural or educational background is. There is no two people that are saying, but still, somehow we can end up in the eCommerce world. So I like to start on what I call your origin story. So did you grow up in Germany or where did you grow up?

Kristina Mertens: Yeah, I grew up here in Munich. I just went to another city to study for a couple of years at university, but I’m back again. And, our founder Tobias, who I’m working with together, he’s also from Munich and we actually met 10 years ago, and he just showed me the eCommerce side of living.

Bradley Sutton: Wait, 10 years ago. I thought you were 22 years old?

Kristina Mertens: Yeah, 23. I’m 23.

Bradley Sutton: So, you met him when you were 13 years old and he showed you the eCommerce world when you were 13 years old?

Kristina Mertens: No, back then, I met him, and he was around with friends all the time, but we didn’t really become friends back then. We started becoming friends when I was 18 and he was 21, I think, but he started being self-employed pretty early in life and he was an Amazon seller for several years. So–

Bradley Sutton: That’s pretty cool. Childhood friends become business partners in the future.

Kristina Mertens: Yeah. Exactly

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Yeah. Cause I was about to say, I’ll say, what do you mean 10 years old? Usually when somebody says 10 years ago, I met my business partner. Did I totally misjudge your age here?  So, I’m glad I wasn’t totally off now. So you guys met when you were younger. Now, let’s go back to that time. When you were a teenager, when you’re a 13, 14, 15, 16, were you one of those who already kind of had maybe an entrepreneurial mindset? Are you the kind of person who was here in Germany? I don’t know, selling your mom’s vinyl schnitzel on the order, or I don’t know how that works, but something like that or what?

Kristina Mertens: For me, that was not the case. My family is pretty traditional. They wanted me to get my A-level, still go to university.

Bradley Sutton: Get your what, I’m sorry?

Kristina Mertens: Oh, my A-levels. I think that’s English word.

Bradley Sutton: I don’t know what that means.

Kristina Mertens: Graduating from high school.

Bradley Sutton: Ah, okay.

Kristina Mertens: And then go to university, get my Bachelors, get my Masters, then get what they call a normal job. So, there’s this what I was doing until two years ago.

Bradley Sutton: Where were you studying? So, you went to university, I’m assuming it’s similar to United States where once you enter university you kind of have a major or a concentration, right? So what was your major?

Kristina Mertens: I studied Global Business Management, and Marketing and Communication was my major.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So did you have a goal or were you just like, let me learn about this and see where it takes me? Or did you already have kind of a career goal?

Kristina Mertens: I wanted to be a consultant when I was younger. When I started out at university, I had a lot of friends who just started working in consulting and just earn so much money. So I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to do that too.” But, by now for me, it’s more important to really have passion for what you’re doing. And then you wake up with a purpose instead of working 70, 80 hours a week for a consulting firm, one of the big four for example. And going home with a huge salary that you can’t really enjoy spending. So, that change.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah, okay. So then I’m assuming you did not finish your degree, right?

Kristina Mertens: I did actually. So when we started–

Bradley Sutton: How long does it take to get a degree in Germany?

Kristina Mertens: Three and a half years.

Bradley Sutton: Oh, okay. You’re confusing me, Kristina. I thought you stopped after two years or something you were saying?

Kristina Mertens: No, two years ago, I started getting into the eCommerce industry and sort of playing with the thought of being self-employed, and this is what I did then. So I did a sort of parallel. I was doing my university studies and became self-employed at the same time.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, you actually did finish your bachelor’s degree. Okay. I was just off on the timeline. I told you, this is BS-free. So, if you’re going to lie about your things, I found you, I’m not saying you’re lying, but I was just, “Hey, my listeners are going to be, wait a minute, something sounds fishy with this timeline here.” So I’m glad I cleared that up. All right, so now you never yourself were an eCommerce seller per se. You didn’t sell on Amazon or other things in Europe, correct?

Kristina Mertens: No, I just helped Tobias out packing parcels and stuff like that when he had his Amazon business.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then now Tobias was your old childhood friend, and that you had been helping with his Amazon business was like, “Hey, you know, I’ve got this other idea for something that can kind of a service that can help other sellers.” So what attracted you to this idea of connecting sellers, which is kind of what you do now?

Kristina Mertens: I just liked the thought of solving a problem. When Tobias was still selling on Amazon, he lost so much money because he hired the wrong people. For example, one time he was contracting a fulfillment center here in Germany and they promised him, “Yeah, yeah, we will send your products within two or three days maximum.” And then it took them four weeks. He lost– he didn’t have inventory anymore, so he lost rankings. The seller performance went down, and it was pretty bad for him. He was a young entrepreneur, and he was really struggling. And for me it was hard to watch because he was one of my best friends. So, when he came up with the idea of Sermondo, I was like, Hey, I got my recommendation in some random Facebook group and I just realized that the guy is the owner of the fulfillment center and basically recommended himself, which a lot of people do on those Facebook groups. And now I lost so much money. There has to be a better way of finding service providers for your Amazon business. That’s how he came up with the idea. And he told me about it. I was like, “Okay, you know what? Let’s do it.”

Bradley Sutton: That sounds good.

Kristina Mertens: Because this is something that happens to hundreds of sellers worldwide.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. It’s not just people trying to promote their own brands, or sometimes it’s a company who tries to pretend that they’re recommending another company and it has a different name and everything, but it’s really the same owner. That happens so much and I guarantee most of the people don’t even realize that, “Hey, that guy is just promoting another branch of his own business.'” Or its affiliates just saying, “Oh yeah, this is great.” Now again, hey, Helium 10 has tons of affiliates. We have people promoting us, but we try and make sure that they’re very highly educated with what they’re promoting and not just trying to get- we’re pretty good at trying to make sure that there’s not people just trying to get a paycheck. But the thing is that, that’s not the case out there. There’s a lot of people who are just like, “Hey, I’m going to become an affiliate. I don’t even know what this company does or even if they’re legitimate, but I’m going to promote them.” And so that’s interesting. So the reason why I wanted to invite you on here is because I believe you are one of the few people in the world who really has an extensive experience with touching different companies in all kinds of different categories, and having sellers in your network of all kinds of backgrounds, and all different countries. So you have some unique insights into some of the struggles that many sellers make. So just right off the top of my head, I don’t have notes here, I’m just trying to think what comes to my head. But, since you deal with sellers in Europe, you deal with sellers in South America, you deal with sellers in the United States and Asia. Are there differences as far as what the most common problems are? For example, a seller in Europe opposed to a seller in the United States? In my mind, I’m thinking maybe one of the top ones for American seller is trying to understand VAT in Europe, but a European seller, obviously they’re experts in VAT so they don’t, but what are the differences and similarities by region of seller would you say that you’ve seen in your experience?

Kristina Mertens: I think it’s funny that you mentioned that because I was just talking to Tobias about that last week. It’s really amazing how sellers can be wherever in the world and face the same problems. One of the main problems is Amazon suspensions. So accounts get suspended or listing gets suspended. The terms of service differ a little from country to country, but this is something that happens on a daily basis, no matter where the sellers are located in the world. And this is also one of our most demanded services on Sermondo is reinstatement experts. And another thing is problems with logistics. Most European sellers, it doesn’t matter if they’re located in Germany, or in the UK, or in Spain, most of them source from Asia, right? US sellers do the same. And a lot of people, a lot of sellers struggle with understanding how logistics processes work. And then they fall for random freight forwarders or logistic firms that were recommended to them on either Google, or by friends, or on Facebook. And then their parcels are two or three weeks late or they get scammed like they paid the money to freight forwarder, and then he just disappears. So this is something that I read, and I deal with most of the times; Amazon suspensions and problems with logistics.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So let’s talk about that for a second. So when people come to you, a lot of the times it’s probably because they’ve already made a mistake. They don’t just start their business, “Hey, I’m going to use you guys to put me in the right direction.” Usually they think they can do it on their own, and then they make a huge mistake, and now that’s why they come to you. So I’m assuming when they do come to you, they maybe tell you their story, some bad thing that happened to them. So what are some common mistakes that you’ve heard, or some common horror stories of speaking of logistics and shipping that sellers are making that maybe you can warn some of our listeners about so they don’t make those same mistakes?

Kristina Mertens: I think the most common problem is that they don’t vet the companies enough they’re working with. I mean it’s super hard if you’re dealing with a company that’s somewhere in China and you’re in the US, or somewhere in Europe, and you don’t maybe have the time or the money to go there and visit factories yourself, or talk to freight forwarders yourself that are located there. So, of course they go the internet and try to find a good company, but a lot of times they don’t realize that there are super many fake websites on there. Or as I said before, people recommending themselves. They don’t really check if the information is legit. They don’t check if phone numbers work, if the address is right, if they can reach someone. They just go there and get a quote and book something with a freight forwarder for example, or with a fulfillment center in another country without ever speaking to them. And this is how most scams happen, actually. That’s why I always recommend before you contract someone, and it doesn’t matter if it’s logistics or marketing or whatever, especially when it’s in another country, you should always get on a call with them. Best would be video, because you can see how the other person reacts to what you’re saying to your questions. Are they trying to avoid your questions? Do you have a just bad feeling of talking to them, or do you think they are legit? So this is something that is a big step that a lot of sellers just skip, and they trust firms overseas with, I don’t know, tens of thousands of dollars of their products, and then they give their products to them, or the money to them, and then the freight forwarder has gone, they can never reach them again.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah, that’s a good point. Now that you say it’s kind of a no brainer, but I never even thought about that. Hey, how about making sure that it’s a real company? Find their phone number, call them, make sure they’re real instead of– sometimes we get so obsessed with trying to do everything online, but if you think about it, anybody can just make any random–

Kristina Mertens: Website or–

Bradley Sutton: Website or anything, and you’re not going to know if it’s real. So, that’s a good point. Anything else as far as shipping and logistics go that you could advise our listeners?

Kristina Mertens: Oh yeah. I think one of the most common mistakes is that a lot of sellers underestimate themselves, and then don’t ship enough inventory to Amazon and then they run a PPC campaign, for example. And it’s going really well, which is good, speaks for your PPC skills. But, people are buying so fast that you’re running out of inventory, which hurts your sales, which hurts your revenue, which hurts your seller performance, and so on. So regarding logistics, this is also a common problem that I read about.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. That’s a good problem to have, but at the same time it can take a little bit better planning. Now, outside of the shipping inventory logistics, what would you say is another major thing that you are seeing sellers worldwide struggle with? In my mind, I would think maybe product photography, I don’t know, or maybe tax compliance, you would know better than me. So, what would you say is maybe the second biggest thing that people struggle with?

Kristina Mertens: Compliance is a good word. Not only compliance with Amazon’s regulations, but also with local laws. It’s super lucrative to sell in other markets as well. For example, if you’re a seller, and you went to sell in Germany, I mean it’s a huge market. I think it’s the second biggest. So, it’s really lucrative. People love to buy stuff here, so if you want to go for it, go for it. But Germany for example, it’s one of the countries– we have so many laws and regulations, and the tax system here in Europe, within the EU is insane. And a lot of people treat their Amazon business, not like a real business but more like– I love the term, side hustle or side business and it can be a side business. You can have a nine to five and an Amazon business, but you should treat it like any other business in the world. The tax authorities here in Germany or in the EU. Once I’m like, “Oh it’s just a side hustle. So whatever, it doesn’t matter that you were not tax compliant.” No, they will come to you, and you will have to pay so many fees. You will be buried in fees and other money that you have to pay for them that sometimes people go bankrupt. So, compliance is something that a lot of Amazon sellers, in my opinion, take too lightly.

Bradley Sutton: Well, what are some of the things, for example, I would say the great majority, I know we have listeners all over the world. I was just talking to somebody for whatever reason, we’re the number one business podcast in– what country was it? Oh. Belarus. So I know we have– I don’t know why, but I know we have foreign listeners, but for the US seller, what are the requirements to sell in Europe? I know VAT is important. It’s not just VAT has to do if you’re a European citizen, but if somebody has a successful US business, now they want to start selling in Europe. What is a rough checklist of the things they need to get set up before they can start selling Europe?

Kristina Mertens: Um, they should definitely check if their products are compliant with safety laws here. In the EU, we are very strict about it. Then there are further regulations which differ from country to country. For example, in Germany there is a new packaging law. Now it’s not new anymore, it’s been there for 10 months, but a lot of Amazon sellers didn’t know that this was coming. You had to license your packaging. It’s for ecological reasons, and pay a fee for your packaging. And a lot of sellers didn’t register, and then you just have to pay so many fines just because you don’t know. But you have to know if you come here, you have to know it.

Bradley Sutton: How do they know though? How does somebody find that information out?

Kristina Mertens: We tried to educate people. So when something like this comes out, it goes on our blog. But in general, if you’re not listening closely to, I don’t know, law blogs for example, here in Germany, you wouldn’t have known that. So a lot of laws just get passed. But the information about it is always very little. But yeah, check if your product is compliant, register with VAT, see that you don’t heard any trademarks here. Be sure that your imprint is right. This is also something, there is a real business model here, at least in Germany.

Bradley Sutton: What’s imprint mean?

Kristina Mertens: The imprint where you put all of your information, business information, etcetera, that everything is compliant. It’s a real business model here for people to send cease and desist letters to sellers that are not compliant or have their own website, and something that is wrong with their terms of service, etcetera. And then you have to pay lots of money.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now what about the opposite way? What is one of the biggest mistakes or something that maybe a European seller– they start selling in Germany. They know all their VAT. They know that their packaging, they know their business imprints and stuff.

Kristina Mertens: A lot of them don’t, actually.

Bradley Sutton: Let’s just say they do, let’s just say somebody is crushing it in the European market. Now they want to go to the United States. So what have you seen as common mistakes that the European sellers are not doing correctly when they start to expand to US market?

Kristina Mertens: Not registering a trademark. A lot of people think that if they register once in their home country or whatever, it’s just done and it’s international. But there are different offices for that. So if you go to the U S check, if your trademark is protected there as well. One of the most common things I’ve seen are problems with hijackers on listings, and if you have your own brand, your own trademark, you can go get into the brand program of Amazon and just make sure you don’t suffer from that so much. You can get hijackers off your listing faster. Make sure you always have some money extra. A lot of Amazon sellers have their budgets and they plan every cent of their budget for certain tasks or certain service providers, but especially when you expand to other countries, it can happen. That’s some extra fees incur, or some taxes that you didn’t think of, or whatever. So always make sure you have a little extra money that you could spend for something like that, for something like this. Use local services. Oh God, this is one of the most common mistakes. People use the listings that they use in their home market. And just translate their descriptions and their keywords. And think this is going to work in the US as well, for example.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah, vice versa too. I think I see people, Americans doing that and it’s just not– Google translate is not exactly what you should be using. Even professionally translated is not always the best because even if it’s an accurate translation, the words that people use in other countries are different.

Kristina Mertens: Yeah.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. How many times have I stopped you today because you’re using some terminology that it’s English, you know what I mean? You’re doing proper English, but I have no idea what A-level, or whatever the heck you said was it. And so that’s a thing. If we’re just doing direct translations, it’s still lost in translation, as they say. So that’s a very good, that’s a very good tip as well. Now what would you say is something that can maybe help people as far as the more difficult markets? I think the most common thing that people do as far as expanding marketplaces is what we’ve been talking about, which is USA now expanding to Europe or vice versa, Europe now expanding to USA. But I’m sure you’ve talked to sellers who are branching out to some of these newer marketplaces like Turkey, or UAE, or one of the established ones, but that is just so different such as Japan. So what is some advice that you have based on your experience about helping connect sellers with trying to get set up in these not so common marketplaces?

Kristina Mertens: As I said before, the most important part is really working either with local agencies and local companies there because they know the market, they know the search behavior, they know what works and what doesn’t work. Or you really tried to get help from a local company. For example, a US company that is specialized in trade with Japan, or Turkey, or whatever. And don’t try to do everything on your own and don’t try to understand everything from your own. Going to other markets is risky. It can be very rewarding, but don’t try to manage all of that yourself. So, go to local SEO companies, local PPC companies, and try to get your foot in the door, and then you’ll be set.

Bradley Sutton: Alright. Now obviously in the United States, Amazon is number one as far as online marketplaces goes. You’ve got Walmart, etcetera. But for example, I know in Netherlands, there’s some website that has more of an eCommerce stronghold than Amazon. What are maybe some top five marketplaces in all of Europe that you can recommend, doesn’t have to be exactly the top five in gross sales. But what are some other marketplaces that somebody– now they’re established on Amazon in Europe, but maybe they want to expand to these other online marketplaces. Which ones should some sellers consider?

Kristina Mertens: eBay is pretty big as well here, I think in the US too, right, next to Walmart? Etsy, and what a lot of people do is just setting up their own online shop to not be dependent on selling on marketplaces.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Any other local ones? Maybe one just for Germany, or one just for another country where it’s– for example, I’ll give you an example. Amazon has been around in Mexico for a while now, but still by far the number one is this one called Mercado Libre, which has way more of a market share. But are there any ones that in your country, in Germany, is there one that’s a lot of people still use instead of Amazon?

Kristina Mertens: I would say in Germany, it’s really eBay,

Bradley Sutton: eBay really, even for private label. Nowadays, I think in America people mainly use eBay for a lot of collectibles, or used products, or resold. They still sell some private label. But, in Germany, our private label sellers having success selling on eBay?

Kristina Mertens: Yes, they do.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And so I would assume that it’s similar to America. You have to fulfill it yourself, or you’d be using a fulfillment company, or are there people using Amazon to fulfill eBay orders in Germany?

Kristina Mertens: There are also people using Amazon to fulfill their eBay orders.

Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Alright, so now what is something strange– Obviously again, you deal with probably more than a hundred, 200, I don’t know, how many different service providers there. What is something that you didn’t even know was a thing, or you didn’t even know was a service that was necessary, and now you’re driving sellers to them because it’s something that people need. I don’t know, I can’t even think of an example right now. I mean maybe one of the examples that you talk about, what would be a packaging compliance company? I wouldn’t have known that’s a thing. But what are a couple of interesting service providers? Don’t mention their name. You don’t have to mention their name or anything. Cause I don’t want to seem like we’re sponsoring them when I don’t even know what they do. But, just say what they do, something that you didn’t even know was a thing before.

Kristina Mertens: When I started out working on the Sermondo project, basically every service was to me, “Oh, you could really need that someone who just does that.” There are people who are specialized in just designing infographics, for example. I was, “Do you really need that?” And then you start paying attention when you shop on Amazon and you’re like, “okay, basically every good listing has an infographic on it.” But yeah, packaging design, packaging compliance. These are all sub categories from the bigger one.

Bradley Sutton: So, there is actually a packaging, I was just making a joke. There is a packaging compliance specialist.

Kristina Mertens: You said I shouldn’t mention names, so I won’t, but we actually have a company listed on our site that is specialized in doing just that.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. I was just making a joke, but I guess that’s a thing too. Anything else? Yeah, something weird like that.

Kristina Mertens: So, yeah, we actually have services that specialized in packaging compliance, for example, which is a pretty big thing in Germany. We have really good graphic designers who do 3D rendering, which is a specialty, and a lot of people don’t know when they go on Amazon, and they look at the listing that some of the images aren’t really real, but it’s just 3D renders made by people who do this for a living. I didn’t know this was a thing before we started someone, but apparently it is. We have people that flip Amazon businesses so they buy and sell Amazon businesses.

Bradley Sutton: That’s very important. That’s something I haven’t had. That’s something I’ve wanted to have a specialties– I can’t even speak English. A specialist, come on here, and who does that. But that’s something that maybe two years ago nobody even knew existed. But there are multiple. That’s a good one. There’s multiple people who all they do is they want to buy Amazon businesses and build them up. Anything else?

Kristina Mertens: Yes. We also have lawyers that specialized in product– to safety compliance. Like I said before, in the EU, it’s super hard to meet all the guidelines, and for example, if you sell electronics here, you have to be really, really careful that your quality inspection does a good job because if you start selling products here, for example, drones and they are not compliant with the law, then you will have pretty big issues. And there are only eight or nine lawyers throughout Germany who are specialized in that. We have them on our site.

Bradley Sutton: Alright, so that’s it. I’m positive that– of course there’s sellers out there who know that they need these things, but there are some newer ones out there who might not have even known that some of these things existed. Like 3D renderings, people think of product photography, but like you said, they don’t even realize that a lot of the stuff that you see on Amazon, the pictures is not even real pictures. They’re 3D renderings, and that might be something that somebody should consider depending on the kind of product instead of just a photography. So–

Kristina Mertens: Yeah, it’s awesome because you don’t have to ship your product all around the world. For some people, I call them artists, they only require you to send them as many pictures as you can from your product, and they will just do the rest, and you don’t have to pay any shipping fees, or be scared that I will steal your sample, or whatever. Oh, that’s pretty cool.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Well anyways, Kristina, thank you very much for coming on the show with us and teaching us a little bit about kind of what’s out there, and the importance of trying to make sure that you’re connecting with the right service companies because this is a big problem that many sellers face. Now, I do this little feature at the end of the episodes, usually I call it TST, which is spelled TST. That’s kind of the way my mom used to call me when I was little, but basically that stands for Thirty Second Tip. So what I want you to do is, it’s not something maybe that we’ve talked about yet today, but what just think really quick of a thirty second tip that you have for sellers that’s either maybe a common mistake that people make, or something that’s really cool that you found that just in your network you talk to a seller, and they told you they’re doing this and you’re like, “Whoa, that’s pretty amazing.” So in 30 seconds or less, what is Kristina’s TST for us?

Kristina Mertens: My tip is to invest in perfect listings. Your conversion rate is going to suck. If your listing does look great. I’ve seen this hundreds of times, people running PPC campaigns and have really low conversion because their listing doesn’t look good. And if you can do it yourself, then go get an expert. Go get someone from outside who takes professional pictures, who writes nice copy, and we’ll bring your listing up in the rankings.

Bradley Sutton: Alright? So in other words, don’t go cheap. Try and save money on your product. Maybe a little bit on your shipping. Make sure that you have economical, but don’t go cheap on your listing.

Kristina Mertens: Yeah.

Bradley Sutton: Alright, cool. Well, Kristina, thank you very much. When I’m in Munich, I hope that you can take me to some good Schnitzel places over there. You and Tobias, I’m going to make sure that you guys do that and if people want to go check out some of these services that you guys have vetted and they’re looking for 3D rendering, or package compliance specialists, can you spell your website out so people can find it?

Kristina Mertens: S E R M O N D O.com. sermondo.com. You can also, if you’re too lazy to find service providers by yourself, you can also fill out a job listing. Just say what you’re looking for, tap in your requirements, and we will match the service providers for you.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. Alright, Kristina, thank you very much for joining us and we’ll see you later.

Bradley Sutton: Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone, or on Stitcher, or on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.


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