Here's How U.S. Amazon Sellers Can Compete With Chinese Sellers

Newel Cobb

March 11, 2020

Competition on Amazon is getting hotter. Thousands of products go live on the site every day, upping the ante for U.S. merchants looking to stand out, and a big chunk of the competition is coming from the other side of the globe. 

Chinese sellers outnumber American ones

According to a Marketplace Pulse analysis published in January 2020, sellers from China have overtaken the number of sellers from the United States on the retail platform. 

To break it down into specifics, 49% of the top sellers are currently based in China. Compare that to the 47% who are based in the United States. China has grown their top seller numbers from 38% to 49% in a year, and they currently hold 58% of the top 50,000 seller positions on Amazon as well as 58% of the top 100,000. 

Why is China doing so well?

As one of the biggest direct-to-consumer sites in the world—not just the United States—Amazon has become the most efficient platform for China to reach American and European markets.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has “aggressively recruited Chinese manufacturers and merchants to sell to consumers outside of the country” over the past few years, and while Chinese merchants have had some issues on the site, such as counterfeit listings, they’ve been able to more easily move product internationally.

Amazon’s rules allow for international sellers to scoop up the Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) designation that gives thousands of brands greater mobility on the site because they can disperse their inventory with Amazon’s help. Not only that, but goods from China are often sold at cheaper prices than goods from other parts of the globe, making it especially easy for them to compete in the online market.

Myths about Chinese sellers debunked

Stateside sellers can learn a lot about what converts by watching these Chinese sellers. The stereotype used to be that sellers from China had poor content, little to no imagery, and no reviews. This is not the case. Though some Chinese sellers are still learning, many have become sophisticated Amazon sellers.

A prime example is the Chinese seller Costzon. If you visit their seller page, you will find that most of their products have mobile optimized imagery, with product descriptions and dimensions, SEO optimized content in both title and bullet points, A+ content, and many reviews. 

On top of this, you will find these Chinese sellers are spending their ad dollars where it gets the biggest bang for their buck, or Yuan in this case. These sellers primarily choose to utilize sponsored products ads to get to the top of prime search terms. Everything they do is aimed at maximizing their ROI. With little to no brand recognition, these sellers are compelled to innovate in order to sell their products to US consumers. 

Because sellers like these do not need to worry about corporate style guides, brand-speak, and brand feel, they do whatever it takes to get their listings to convert to sales.

Although sellers from all nations can use black hat tactics, there are many white hat tactics that U.S. sellers can learn from their Chinese competition.

This list includes the above mentioned white hat tactics including:

  • Mobile optimized imagery

  • SEO enhanced titles and bullets

  • Steller A+ Content

  • Effective advertising

Ask yourself, if these sellers can turn a profit with little to no branding, imagine how much better you would do when you combine these Amazon principles with your well established brands. At Pattern, we can help your brand do all of this and more. 

What does that mean for U.S. sellers looking to compete? 

Arthur Cheung, Pattern’s General Manager in China, says one thing sellers in the U.S. can do to compete is simply have great content and build their brand in such a way that customers can appreciate their value. This includes things like improving your seller performance, making your product page content look slick for buyers, and managing your reviews.

“Selling price is not the only consideration to buy product, but also the service, the quality, the brands, etcetera,” Cheung says. 

Establishing your brand and signaling to customers that it’s trustworthy through your performance metrics goes a long way in helping you move more product. 

Your ecommerce opportunity in China

While thousands of U.S. sellers are only selling in the United States, Cheung says they should think about selling and shipping their products globally to compete not only with China but with European markets and other markets across the globe.

China is the biggest market to watch, Cheung says.

“China customers are getting more rich now and there is a very high demand for nice quality product from international brands,” Cheung says. 

Cheung says that cross-border ecommerce is growing very fast in China, and Chinese customers trust overseas products more, particularly things like food supplements, baby products, and cosmetics. 

If Chinese sellers are pushing lots of international sales and finding success doing it, you as a U.S. merchant may be able to find the same success pushing sales into different territories outside of the U.S. where there are plenty of potential customers just as willing to purchase. 

Amazon is still growing rapidly and small business ecommerce is thriving on the site, regardless of international competition. To stay ahead of the game, participating in best merchant practices and looking for ways to reach customers outside of your immediate circle are a great way to start. 

Want to know more about selling product internationally or establishing your brand on Amazon? Contact one of our experts at Pattern at (888) 881-7576 or read more on the Pattern blog. 

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider]( --- Other Marketplace News --- is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star]( Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday]( FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel]( India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](