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#304 – The Fastest Growing Amazon Marketplaces That You Aren’t Selling On Yet

In today’s episode, we will talk about the fastest rising Amazon marketplaces in the Middle East, why there’s tons of opportunity there, and more!
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Helium 10 The Helium 10 Software
38 minutes read

Are you looking to expand your business to another Amazon marketplace? Amazon Middle East may be a good idea! Today, we speak with an expert in these marketplaces, Krystel Assi, as she discusses the current state of e-commerce in that area, as well as the evolution of the middle east’s marketplaces, why is it a good idea to consider expanding your business there, and tips and strategies you can use when you do!

Amazon Middle East consists of the following marketplaces, Amazon UAE, Amazon Saudi Arabia, Amazon Egypt, and more!

In episode 304 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Krystel discuss:

  • 02:00 – How Krystel Got Started In E-commerce
  • 04:00 – Selling A Supplement Brand Online
  • 06:23 – Starting A Consultancy To Help Businesses
  • 9:00 – The Evolution Of The Middle Eastern Marketplaces
  • 16:50 – Getting Started On Amazon In The Middle East
  • 24:00 – The Current State Of E-commerce In The Middle East
  • 27:30 – The Most Common Mistakes When Entering This Market
  • 31:30 – Is Expanding In The Middle East A Good Idea
  • 33:30 – Costs Of Selling In The UAE
  • 41:00 – How To Get In Touch With Krystel  

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

One of the fastest-growing regions as far as Amazon marketplaces go is in the Middle East. So today we’re gonna talk all about selling in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and more. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

Wanna keep up to date with trending topics in the e-commerce world, make sure to subscribe to our blog. We regularly release articles that talk about things such as shipping and logistics, e-commerce in other countries. The latest changes to Amazon Seller Central. How to get set up on new platforms like Newegg. How to write and publish a book on Amazon KDP, and much, much more. Check these articles out at h10.me/blog. Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of 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 Amazon, Walmart, or e-commerce world. We’ve got somebody on the almost complete opposite side of the world right here. Are you in Dubai right now Krystel?

Krystel:

Yes, I am in sunny beautiful Dubai.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, we just were talking about that time difference. Like it’s, about a 12 hour time difference here. And now when I take a direct flight to Dubai, which I should be doing in a couple of weeks, it’s pretty much the longest direct flight I’ve ever taken. It’s like about 15 hours. So you are pretty far away from us.

Krystel:

Can’t even imagine, that’s like an insane flight to take

Bradley Sutton:

It was long, you know, that the first time I took that flight was last year. That was the first time I went to Dubai. It was just as a layover on my way to Malif to epi to record episode 200 of this podcast. And I had, yeah, that was a lot. I had been on airplane, maybe, you know, a thousand times I had never, yeah. Been on one that long, but I use my points to upgrade to business class. So if I was not in business class, I’m not sure if I would’ve survived that flight, but anyways, we’re not here to talk about travel. We’re here to talk about your story and what’s going on on that side of the world, as far as the Amazon is concerned, but you know, I’ve known of you and you know, we’ve talked before, but I don’t really know a lot of your backstory. So I’m gonna learn about you at the same time everybody else is today. So like, where does your e-commerce journey begin? Like where were you born and raised and then what was your first you know, meaningful jobs, maybe it’s not an e-commerce? And then how did you get to e-commerce?

Krystel:

First and foremost? Thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to be talking about my three favorite things, creating business, making money, and Amazon. Those are my three favorite topics in the whole wild world. So I’m very excited to be talking about those. And I also am excited because I think Bradley we’re gonna be just explaining a little bit more to everyone who’s listening a little bit more about the Middle East and what’s happening on Amazon right here in the Middle East, cause that’s where I am. And that’s where I’m primarily focused now. I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. My father is a self-made person. I’ve seen him growing up, you know, grinding and I was very much influenced by that.

Bradley Sutton:

Where were you when you were a teenager?

Krystel:

I am born and raised in Lebanon so I am from the Middle East, but like a lot of other Lebanese people we tend to be because there was a civil war in Lebanon. We tend to, you know, most people travel a lot and that was the case for my family as well. And we traveled to Spain. We spent a very long time in Canada as well. And then we came back to Lebanon and then I moved to London where I attended university. Now, odd jobs here and there and then a certain encounter about seven years ago. I was working a lot in marketing. My background is really a little bit to nutrition and I met a businessman. He had developed his own. I had never done anything related to e-commerce. At that point, I had sold everything under the sun. I’m really good at sales. I love sales, but nothing related to e-commerce. And he had developed his own supplement line, and he was looking for somebody to market it. So I don’t know how, but I convinced him that I was the person for the job.

Krystel:

But rather than being an employee, I said, I wanted to be a 50-50 partner. Like I’ll do all the work you just put in the money. And he agreed. So I also convinced him and I really don’t know how to do everything online. So through again, a chance encounter, somebody just dropped the word, you know, why not sell on a marketplace? I’m like, what on earth has a marketplace? And she says,

Bradley Sutton:

What year we talking about?

Krystel:

This is almost seven years ago. I was a big Amazon customer, but I thought, and I think people still do. I thought like Amazon is supposed to call me and say, you know, we are bestowing the honor that you are able to now sell your products on Amazon. I thought that was the case. So when we did the research and we found, okay, like we’re able to sell our products on Amazon and thankfully our products were manufactured in Canada.

Krystel:

So it was pretty easy for us to get them into the US and start selling them on amazon.com. And by that point, Bradley, I had done everything in my life through, you know, the traditional bootstrapping method. But in this case, I had the backing of my business partner. So we had a little bit of money. So we were able to get a team because we had no idea how Amazon worked. Fast forward two to three years later, we sold the business and we parted ways. And now I was left with a lot of knowledge because on the side I was also consulting for a lot of other companies. So I had accumulated a lot of experience with selling other types of products and helping people other than supplements. So I was like, so in love with the Amazon business model.

Krystel:

So, anybody that needed any help and support, I would be there either as a consultant or just as helping people out just like that. So I decided to, what am I gonna do now? I decided to set up a consultancy. So I thought, great. I’m from the Middle East. I know there’s so many great companies and brands in the Middle East. If they only know that they can sell their products on Amazon, then it’s gonna open up a whole new business for them. It’s just gonna open up a whole new world for them. And that’s what I set out to do. And then in 2019, I decided, okay, I just have to have a physical presence in the Middle East. If that’s what I wanna be doing. And I opened up my office in Dubai, what happened was Amazon also opened up their office in Dubai.

Krystel:

So what happened at the same time? Unbeknownst to me, cause Amazon didn’t tell me they decided to also start a marketplace in the Middle East. And the first one was in Amazon, in the UAE, which is United Arab Emirates where Dubai is located. So what ended up happening? It was definitely because a little bit because of the pandemic and what happened in 2020 and a lot because we found that there was a really, really, really big demand for our services in the Middle East. So what ended up happening was we shifted our business model completely. So right now we are a hundred percent focused on the Middle East and we actually do the opposite.

Bradley Sutton:

So originally when you went there your purpose of starting that business was like, let me help sellers in the Middle East or companies to sell like in North America or Europe. But then all of a sudden it’s like, oh shoot, we’re the market is gonna be open here. So let me help anybody from anywhere sell over here.

Krystel:

Yes. And now what we do is we do the exact opposite. So we help anybody, brands, businesses sell primarily on Amazon in the Middle East. So now the Middle East is much more evolved than when it was in 2019 and we’re focused a hundred percent on the market here.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So let’s just talk about the evolution of the marketplaces over there. I believe you said UAE was one of the first and then now there’s, I’m not saying there’s two or three, so is it there’s UAE, United Arab Emirates and then Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are those the three. Okay. And then the, on all three of these is the primary language English on these or are some of them Arabic or how does it work? Like obviously if you go to Amazon USA, Amazon, you know, it’s English, Amazon, Mexico, it’s in Spanish. And but then, if you go to like Amazon, Singapore or something still in English, you know, how is in those three marketplaces?

Krystel:

Now, this is where it becomes really exciting. So what Amazon did was they, instead of just starting from scratch, they did what they normally do, which is they bought the competition. And just to give you a context and just like a geography lesson, so when we say the Middle East, this is it’s made up of about 14 countries. So the bigger region basically is called the Mena region, which is Middle East and North Africa, which would be equivalent to North America or South America, for example. So that’s made up of 20 different countries. So the region is quite big country-wise, but it’s not very big population-wise. But the main marketplaces that we’re talking about now are those 14 countries that make up the Middle East. So part of those 14 countries are three main countries that are very, very established when it comes to e-commerce.

Krystel:

And those countries are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. So when Amazon decided to come into the market, they’re like, okay, do we establish, or do we just buy the biggest player? And that’s what they did. So there was a marketplace called Souq. So which translates to market as you, as you might know in Arabic. So souq.com was the most established my place. It operated completely differently than Amazon, but it was established already. It was the number one marketplace. And it was established in UAE, KSA as well as Egypt. So three different countries in this big market. Cause remember these countries, they operate independently from each other. So if I selling on, so, or now Amazon, UAE, I’m only selling in the UAE, but things have changed. So that’s so keep listening. So what ended up happening was Amazon decided in 2017, we’re gonna buy Souq.

Krystel:

And the first thing that they did, they decided in 2019 after establishing the full infrastructure, okay, we’re gonna change the first. Souq website in the UAE to Amazon. And they did that in April of 2019. And then KSA came later on in June of 2020. And the last one was Egypt in September of 2021. And what ended up happening. So now Amazon is established in three different markets, but what about all of those other countries? What about the 10, 11, 13 other countries around the region that are also part of the Middle East that are unfortunately too small? Like you’ve got a country like Kuwait for example, which is a very good country, very good GDP, lots of expats living in Kuwait, but it’s a population of 4 million. It doesn’t really weren’t opening an Amazon, but at the same time, do you wanna just leave it there? Of course not.

Krystel:

So what Amazon decided to do in October of 2021 was establish something which is, you know, they’ve already done it before in Europe. And they decided in a different format, of course, they decided to create so-called the Middle East FBA Exports Program, which now people who are living in these countries who otherwise would need to buy either from local marketplaces or from amazon.com. Now they can purchase products from Amazon UAE and get them delivered in two to three days and pay no custom charges because in the Middle East, there’s a system called the GCC, which is very similar to how the EU countries operate whereby you know, you can get goods in and out. So now a marketplace that was very divided and very small in size is becoming much, much bigger. So it makes a lot more sensitive for people who want to expand to think, okay, previously, if I wanted to sell on Amazon in the UAE, I would only be able to sell to 10 million people cause that’s the population of the UAE. But now with the exports program, I can actually sell to all of the Middle East.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So then how works is, each of those are like three, they’re three separate websites may be in Europe, you know, there’s, there’s, you know, Amazon, Spain, Amazon, Italy, Amazon Germany. And then I’m living in Switzerland or something where there’s not an Amazon, but like I would go to one of those websites and then I could, I could have stuff that are FBA, but still shipped to me in my country. So I could be like in Kuwait like you said, and then I would go to whatever, you know, one of those. Okay. Interesting. But they’re considered separate websites. So it’s like a separate do I mean a separate URL and everything to all three of those. Right. Okay.

Krystel:

Yeah. Just to preface what you just said and explain a little bit further. So what Amazon decided to do was to say, yes, the UAE is the website that can ship currently. Nobody knows if they’re gonna change their mind, but the UAE, which is amazon.ae Is the only website that people can purchase from and get the products exported out of the UAE. And their reasoning was when they launched this. The reasoning was that it is very tough to get your products imported as an international seller. It’s very tough to get your products imported into Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt. The laws and regulations are a little bit tough, whereas the UAE is a more modern country. Not that the other countries are not modern, but modern when it comes to laws, rules, and regulations of import and export.

Krystel:

So we, if you just, if you know, the rules and regulations, you’ll find out that importing your products into the UAE is very, very easy, straightforward, whereas it’s much more, it’s a little bit more difficult and you have to be much more established as a company in order to ship to KSA. So part of their reasoning and their messaging when they launched this program was because we know the UAE is much easier. We’re gonna choose the UAE as our main focus for this exports program. So instead of having, so technically speaking, if you wanted to sell in KSA, then you would have to send your products over to Amazon KSA. If you want them on that website. Or you would sell them in Amazon UAE, and then hope a person living in Saudi Arabia would just jump on Amazon UAE and buy them instead of their local, Amazon, if they had one and they do in Saudi Arabia, of course.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now, if I’m just getting started, you know, whether I’m already selling in North America or Europe, should I start in one marketplace or should I open up in all three at the same time? And if I do pick all three, do I need to send inventory to three different countries? Or was it like the old days in Europe where you would send everything to UK and then you just like fulfill the rest of the European marketplaces? How does that work?

Krystel:

Wasn’t that fantastic when that was happening? First and foremost, let me just answer a question that you asked me and I didn’t answer it, which is the language. So the primary language on Amazon in the Middle East, all of those three marketplaces is actually English. But if you are an Arabic speaker, you can just simply switch the language, and then the website is translated into Arabic. But for you as a seller, the backend is in English. So it’s the same backend that you’re actually used to. They have created something a little bit different for people who want to list the product if they are more comfortable with using the Arabic language, but it’s not like they can change the dashboard language of course of the Amazon Seller Central, but you can also use it in English.

Krystel:

So it operates the same way that you are used to as a North America seller or as an English speaker. Now, to answer the question that you just asked, yes, they are completely separate. So if I wanted to start selling in all of those three marketplaces, then I would need to send to UAE, KSA, and Egypt. Now for me, I would say, no, start off with only one, start off with the UAE, because it’s the most established out of the three because it is the oldest one. So it’s the most established and this is where you can first and foremost, it’s very easy to get your products into the UAE. It’s very cost-effective. Even if you have to register your products, even if you’re selling a supplement or a cosmetics brand, it takes about 15 days to get it registered and into the country. So it’s a very, very easy process. So it won’t be something very tough for you to figure out. So I would suggest no, do it first in the UAE and go through the exports program and try to figure out if people, other than the people living in the UAE are interested in the product and then diversify into KSA and Egypt, for example.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now let’s, let’s talk about the process here. Like, let’s say I’m not local to, to, to the Middle East. I am a person or a corporation, you know, in Germany, I am a personal corporation in America. What are the requirements in order to get started as far as the seller application go was like, is there one of those interviews, like there is in America now do I have to have a company or can I just be a person talk about some of those requirements tax things.

Krystel:

Perfect. First and foremost, people love coming to the Middle East by coming as in not just tourism also as you know, just to come here for a few years, maybe, or longer to work because we have no taxes, so there’s no income tax here. The only tax that people pay or corporations pay even is the VAT, the value-added tax. And it’s 5% in the UAE. It’s 15% in KSA. So it’s still at a level, which is, is very manageable if you wanna compare it to Europe, for example. So I think out of all of the Amazons, I believe the Middle East is one of the easiest markets to set up as a seller. So of course, we have a list of approved countries, which is very, very similar, little bit shorter, but very similar to the approved countries, the list of approved countries for North America, for example, now on Amazon, here in the region, we only have one type of account and the account is a professional account and it is absolutely for free.

Krystel:

So there’s no monthly membership and you have no option of opening an individual account. It’s solely gonna be a professional account, and yes, you can open it as an individual, or you can open it as a corporation, as an individual. All you need is your ID and a document, normally a bank statement to verify your address as a corporation, all you need is your trade license and the ID of the shareholder or shareholders. And that’s it, no interview, no, nothing as long as the documentation is very clear, clear. Sometimes if it’s, you know, not that clear you get a rejection, but you know, if it’s clearly scanned and it looks like a real document, then you’ll be approved within three to five days. And you’re good to go. Now, if you are, for example, a US-based seller and you’re selling via your US ID, or your US-based corporation. The other thing that you need to think about is VAT. So you need to be registered for the value-added tax.

Krystel:

Basically what that means is anything that is sold on the Amazon platform or anything in the UAE. There is that 5% VAT, which technically you need to give back to the government because you’re not a company that’s operating in the UAE. Now, if you decided you can also, alternatively, a lot of people say, okay, once I start seeing some results, I’ll just register a company in the UAE, which you can, as an international person, you don’t even need to live here, like a lot of other countries. So you can register a company. And that way you can use that company if you wanted to, and then you would be able to bypass the VAT until a certain level, which is when you start making about a hundred thousand dollars in revenue per year, that’s where it’s mandatory for you to register for VAT. So it’s not really that much of a big window for you if you wanted to, but a lot of people decide to register a UAE business because they don’t wanna be double taxed for example, or they don’t wanna use their corporations in Europe, for example too, they just wanna use their UAE company and your UAE company can also be used if you wanna use it on Amazon in Europe, for example. So you could do that, but anyway, that’s the system it’s very easy and it’s very straightforward. Okay,

Bradley Sutton:

Excellent. Excellent. Now, what is some success stories?

Krystel:

I hope I’m getting you excited.

Bradley Sutton:

I’m, I’m very excited. Like I actually am in the process now, even before we were talking, like I wanted to get the Project X product started in the Middle East, just as like, you know, get my feet over there. So even before I was talking to you, I was excited about the Middle East, but hopefully, people are getting excited out there as well.

Krystel:

Let me just give you a little bit of an idea of what’s happening in e-commerce in general in the Middle East. So just that we can have that context. So just to give you an idea of the numbers and the growth that we are experiencing. So in 2015, e-commerce sales were about 5 billion in all of the Middle East. In 2022, that number is expected to reach almost 48 billion. So the growth is about 30% year on year. Definitely. It was the pandemic and the lockdowns definitely made it much faster. And what was expected, the numbers that we were expected to reach in 2025, we reached those at the end of 2020, and we haven’t seen a slowdown. We’ve actually seen things improve. And the difference be between the Middle East, I believe and other marketplaces is that Amazon had just started. And then, so there was no other alternative.

Krystel:

There was, there is other, there are other marketplaces, but they’re not as recognized as Amazon. And they are mostly set. They were previously mostly selling you local products that you find in the market, but you would just buy them online instead of going to the store. So what Amazon has created is now you can buy products that otherwise you would not find in, in, you know, you don’t find them in the local market, in your mall. You know, we love our malls here, so you don’t, you don’t find them. So that option was not available. Now, what we’ve seen is for anyone who’s thinking of is the Middle East, the right market for me, you just need to answer this simple question. Have you ever thought, oh, I wish I started on Amazon Germany five years ago, for example, or I wish I started on amazon.com 10 years ago?

Krystel:

This is where Amazon Middle East and UAE is, where at the point where right now you can easily launch a product and get it on the first page and get it like the top-ranking product within 10 day is very minimal amounts of, you know, the competition is very low and it’s very easy to manage, but the one thing that you need to think about, which I always tell people, because a lot of people reach out to me and say, if I wanna start my business, should I start it on Amazon UAE? Or should I start it on amazon.com at the end of the day, it’s your choice. There’s positive things and negative things to both. But what you need to think about is on amazon.com. You don’t really think is there gonna be demand for my product because the market is so big, you’re gonna be able to sell almost anything.

Krystel:

What you wanna think about is am I gonna be able to compete? And that’s why you start looking for products that are very nichey, or you create things, or you develop things in the Middle East. It’s the opposite you wanna think is there enough demand for this product? Because it’s a much smaller market. You wanna make sure that you are selling products that have demand. So what we’ve seen is I’m just gonna give you a few mistakes that I’ve seen a lot of people make. And then I’m gonna show you, I’m gonna explain to you some results. So in the beginning, when Amazon started in the UAE as a us seller, you were able to basically sell as an international seller. So you would have your products in the FBA warehouse, in the US, and then you’d list them on Amazon, UAE, and people would be able to buy them, but then they have to wait almost 10, 15 days, and they would have to pay custom charges and duties and all of that.

Krystel:

So why would anybody buy that? You know, why the idea of buying something from Amazon is the fact that you can get it within a few days. So in the beginning, because there was no other alternative, people were willing to buy those products, but then when more and more sellers started either locally or internationally, we have a lot of Chinese sellers, of course, but once now there’s more options. People are no longer opting to buy those international products. So if that’s what you’re thinking, forget about it, ‘cause it’s not gonna work. You’re gonna have to have your products right here in the UAE. The second thing is assuming at, or the second mistake that I found is most people don’t do their research. They don’t know whether the product is gonna be in demand or not. And the reason why a lot of people go in blind, as I like to say is because in the region we don’t have softwares like Helium 10 Bradley.

Krystel:

We don’t have tools that you can use in order to verify if the demand is there to do keyword research, all of that stuff. And that’s why a lot of people just take the risk without doing any research. But as you know, and you teach and all the team at Helium 10 teaches, there are other ways to verify if a product is in demand. You don’t just need to wait for Helium 10 to hopefully let’s get the ball rolling, to hopefully you know, start being in the, you know, start what do you call it? Start being in the Middle East or what.

Bradley Sutton:

Launch we can say, you know, you want to us get launch on the Middle East?

Krystel:

Launch in the Middle East. Yeah. So you don’t have to wait for, Helium 10 to launch in the Middle East. So do your research. But what we found well, a lot of our clients and a lot of people that I’ve met along the way, of course they don’t have to be clients is, a lot of people have found a lot of success, but they have to make sure that they do the proper research. So if you do the research and you verify that your products are gonna be in demand, then you’ll be able to get a lot of results and really good way.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, how do you do that without Helium 10?

Krystel:

Well, You know, you can do, you can do research. Well, if you are brand registered, you can use brand analytics. You can do Google Trends. You can do just focus group research. You can try to of figure it out. You can do the manual research, you can check what Amazon what’s happening on Amazon. What people are buying, you can check other websites. It’s gonna take a little bit of work, but it’s better than just launching something fingers crossed that works. Like at least you can do a little bit of, of research to try to figure out if the product if there are people that might want the product, even if it’s not on Amazon.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Okay. So, I mean, I know we’re, we’re looking into, you know, helping with some more, you know or some tools that, that work in that marketplace, you know, cause I think more people have been asking for that than any other marketplace other Japan, you know, Japan, everybody was asking for. That’s why we just launched Japan. You know, functionality for Amazon, Japan a few weeks ago. But, but that’s the, the next one I think that you know, based on the feedback from our customers, that they’re looking at.

Krystel:

The reason why Bradley a lot of companies are thinking of the UAE per se and the Middle East is because it’s a much easier market to, to start off with. So if you are currently selling on Amazon in the US and you’re at the point where you’re thinking, okay, where do I expand to next? Obviously, the main place we’re gonna think about is Europe, but after Europe, where can I go? Where it’s easy for me to dominate and I’m not gonna have that much competition. And it’s just gonna be an additional channel for me. The Middle East right now is the place. I don’t know, in five years, if it’s gonna be that easy, even less than five years, five years feels like a lifetime now. I’m not sure in a couple of years, because it’s gonna be much more established if it’s gonna be as easy as it is now.

Krystel:

But whether you want to start in the Middle East or not, that’s the question for a lot of sellers as well. So I always like to give the example of like, what is your very first car? Like when I wanted to get a car, obviously my father helped me in financing the car I wanted, you know, I wanted the best sports car and I wanted the fastest car possible, but my father said, no, you’re gonna take the, the car that, you know, makes a lot of economical sense. So it’s the same thing. If you want to start on amazon.com as a new seller, of course, by all means, but you need to understand that you are taking the most risk, especially if you don’t live in the US. So if you are somebody that’s living in the Middle East, for example, it makes a lot of sense for you to start here and then expand because you’re gonna get your bearings, you’re gonna learn the system. You’re gonna know how it works and operates. And then you can expand, of course, it’s a little bit different. If you live in the US, then you can definitely potentially launch in the market where you live.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Just in general profit margins and things like that you know, regardless of what marketplace you’re in, you’re probably making your products, you know, 80% of us, at least in China or India or something like that. So, so, you know, the products are all coming from the same place, the shipping to get to the UAE, the storage fees, the fulfillment fees, PPC, it’s different per marketplace at the end of the day your customers who are selling in Europe and UAE or North America and UAE, how does their profit margin kind of compare like, is it pretty much the same? Like at the end of the day, it comes out, you know, the same, or I know back in the day, like in India, PPC was like pennies. It was like, you know, 5 cents and 20 cents and 30 cents for keywords that you would have to pay a lot more money cause it was still an emerging marketplace. And actually shipping was cheaper because you know, to go from China to India, you know, was obviously cheaper than going from China to us. So I know it, it varies across the board, but as far as your clients go what are they looking at?

Krystel:

Very, very, very interesting question. First and foremost, I don’t find that shipping is very ex because of the fact that the UAE in particular if you look at you know if you’ve ever traveled like yourself, if you ever traveled to Asia, for example, you know that the UAE is a hub, it’s a hub. So it is a very good, we have a very good port system. So is it’s very well connected. That’s why it’s not expensive. It, it, it potentially is about the same to get your products shipped to the UAE as it would to ship your products, to the US, for example, or even to Europe. So there’s not really a very big difference and it’s very well connected when it comes to shipping. But the thing that you’re gonna, I think you’re is gonna surprise you is the PPC.

Krystel:

Actually, if you look at Amazon’s numbers and Amazon do release those numbers to, especially to their partners that help in PPC and any service provider, the UAE actually has the highest PPC bids and it’s actually the most expensive to do PPC ads. And the reason is the following because people are very brand new to Amazon in the UAE. So there are a lot of new sellers almost. There was a survey that was done last year, almost 90%, obviously, ‘cause it’s a new marketplace, but almost 90% of sellers on Amazon in both UAE and KSA have never sold anything online. So this is their first time selling anything, not even on their own website online. And that’s why we feel people are a little bit trigger happy. So they’re okay with paying, let’s say like the equivalent of $3 per bid, just because they just wanna make sales.

Krystel:

And then, later on, they learn, okay, like this is eating a lot into my profit. So for that reason, it’s a little bit tough when it comes to PPC. But the other side of the story is you don’t have a lot of established sellers to compete against. So, so you actually don’t really need to be constantly spending on ads you do in the beginning, but you don’t really need to because your potentially maybe competing with five really good sellers and that’s it versus a thousand or 2000. So your competition, your pool of people that know what are doing and they’re established sellers is quite small. So you can figure out how to lower your PPC ads later on. But yes, it’s very funny the fact that you know, it’s the smallest market and it has the highest spend on PPC ads.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Good to know. Good to know now. Yeah. What’s the process to really quick, like if I’m excited about what you’ve been talking about today. I want to go ahead and apply. If I’m an existing seller, like in another marketplace, do where do I click in my own seller central, be it in Germany, be it in USA to add, you know, to apply for UAE?

Krystel:

You’ve got two options. The main option would be to go to amazon.ae, scroll down to the bottom of the page, sell on Amazon, I think. And you just apply as a brand new seller, just a brand new account. And once that is verified and open, you go into your, let’s say Germany, your main Amazon account. And you go into what is known as Global Selling. And once you log into that menu, it’ll open up all of the Amazon marketplaces. And the reason why we’re doing this is if you go into your Global Selling menu as a first step without actually opening an account on Amazon and you choose the UAE, for example, it’s either gonna ask, it’s gonna ask you to open an account or it’s gonna ask you to enter your username and password. So you might as well just register, get that done with, and then what we wanna do is we wanna connect both dashboards together so you can easily manage and you don’t have to log in and log out to another dashboard. You can just easily manage those dashboards.

Krystel:

Exactly. It would look exactly like as if you were selling in Europe and you’ve got all of those countries or .com, Mexico, and Canada, for example, you would just have to switch between dashboard and dashboard, marketplace and marketplace rather. So you just need to go into Global Selling and then you choose whatever country and you enter in your username and your password, and you’ve got them linked together.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, now we do something on this show that we call the TST 30-second tip. So, you know, you’ve been talking about different strategies, but if you were to say one thing that you know, maybe can take 30 to 45 seconds or less to say like a quick-hitting good strategy for somebody interested in anything, in the UAE, what would that tip be?

Krystel:

Ooh, That’s perfect. Actually, remember I said, I’m a blue ocean strategist. So what a blue ocean strategist basically means it’s a term related to business. It basically means finding uncontested marketplaces where you can sell a service, sell a product without having a lot of competition. So one of those marketplaces, the perfect blue ocean is the Middle East. If you are thinking of expanding and you’re thinking of expanding into the Middle East, the one thing that you wanna make sure is that your products are gonna translate when it comes to demand. You’re not gonna be able to sell a hundred percent US product right here because you know, we’ve got, of course, a lot of Americans, but you also have a very big, diverse community here. What you wanna think about is you wanna think about products that can be bought by anyone but products that are basically things that people need on an everyday basis. Very well priced, basically the same thing that you do for any other marketplace, but you wanna make sure that they work right here in the UAE. Is that a good tip?

Bradley Sutton:

I love it. Now, if people want to get more tips from you or they wanna, you know, reach out to you to get your help to get started or to, you know help them, how can they find you on the interwebs out there?

Krystel:

So we have a very active YouTube channel and it’s called Amazon’s Sellers Society. That’s the name of our company, Amazon sellers Society, Middle East, it’s very active. And we put out a lot of content and we started it because a lot of people were asking for this type of content. So you can find everything you need to help you start your business on Amazon from opening an account to shipping your products here. I’m talking Amazon in the Middle East, all of it. You’ll find it on the channel. And if you want to reach out to us, you can just go to our website, assmiddleeast.org, simple as that.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Excellent. All right. Well you know, we might, you know, if people are listening, you guys are already in Dubai, then there’s a chance, you know, who knows what’s gonna happen with the Omicron stuff. But right now we are planning an event on December 23rd in Dubai, where Krystel will be there, Kian Golzari will be there. I will be there again, who knows, you know, what’s gonna happen in the next couple of weeks, but guys, if you wanna get more information, we’ll make some announcements in the Helium 10 members Facebook group about that event. But it’ll be on the 23rd right there in Dubai. And you can come hang out with us and talk more about the marketplace over there and just talk about anything. So Krystel, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. And I wish the best to all you guys out there who are looking to expand to perhaps a new area for you, which is the Middle East. We’ll see you in a couple weeks, hopefully.

Krystel:

Yes, for sure. Thanks so much.


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