If your brand is selling on Amazon, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of Direct Importing (DI) through Amazon’s Global Logistics Network. However, not all brands qualify for DI as it is only available if your products are manufactured in or imported from overseas. The choice brands who do import to the U.S. from overseas is simple: use Amazon’s network and resources to distribute your products, removing multiple steps and costs from the supply chain, or to use your own supply chain.
Sounds compelling, right? But also sounds scary since you are giving up a lot of control and process to Amazon rather than keeping it in-house. As a global ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows how to leverage DI, maintain control of your brand, and find new ways to improve logistics through Amazon’s Global Logistics Network.
Pattern, an ecommerce accelerator and one of the top Amazon sellers, understands the unique challenges brands face getting products from international production facilities to consumers’ doorsteps and manages the entire process for brands. And although DI is not the right strategy for every brand, we know the potential savings and customer benefits you can experience through DI make it an option that’s worth exploring.
The most profound benefit you can experience through DI is massively reducing your supply chain touchpoints—when your products go straight to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, the ripple effect in your cost savings is powerful.
For one thing, you save a significant amount of money by not paying for the processes you’d normally need to in order to get your products to domestic warehouses. Once your items get to their shipping containers, Amazon takes over, freeing you from the responsibility of getting the product from its origin port to the U.S. to your warehouses, then re-packaging and labeling to ship into Amazon fulfillment centers, and finally to customers—with all of the associated processes and costs.
Less handoffs also means less opportunity and responsibility for incurred damages, which is something that pays off in both the short-term, by avoiding replacement costs, and long-term, in customer satisfaction.
As probably the biggest U.S. marketplace in the ecommerce space, one of Amazon’s perks is lower container rates. They have negotiated prices that are considerably lower than a brand would pay as a traditional importer. So, it’s likely that, however you’re importing your products into the U.S. today, it’ll be cheaper to get your products to your customers using Direct Importing.
By leveraging Direct Importing, you eliminate the need to pay tariffs and duties as your inventory arrives in the U.S.. This generates significant cost savings for many brands—whatever you pay to ship your products with Amazon includes the brokering fees instead of adding to costs for you.
When a brand ships all of its orders to Amazon Fulfillment instead of your domestic warehouses, the process generally takes longer. This additional time allows brands and ecommerce accelerators to plan inventory months in advance, rather than a week or two.
For instance, rather than guessing on the amount of inventory you’ll need to ship to Amazon in two weeks, you’d be able to plan much further ahead with purchase orders, as far as months in advance. Typically, this advanced planning gives brands a leg up in leveraging their supply chain to advance order what they need.
Direct Importing also removes your dependency on your domestic fulfillment teams for the manpower needed to get products from their port of origin to your warehouses. Removing these processes allows you to save both the money and the time it takes to unpack, repack, and label your items. Instead, all of those tasks are taken care of at a lower cost at the origin port.
In addition to eliminating time and manpower spent packaging and labeling, you also remove the need to store product domestically, meaning you can save domestic warehouse space and reduce the amount of time spent fulfilling domestic orders.
As your teams eliminate the extra steps in the fulfillment process, you’re able to free up precious time in getting your products directly to Amazon customers. What would you be able to accomplish in getting 2-3 weeks back from your current speed to market model? As you get products into your customers’ hands faster, you can stay more competitive as shipping times continue to shrink across the globe.
As the benefits of DI start to build upon each other, the savings can be significant for brands and the momentum for any brand to achieve new sales potential is truly powerful. Brands that partner with Pattern know they are getting premier resources in logistics and fulfillment as well as the competitive advantage of working with a top seller on Amazon.
Since brands sell their products to Pattern months in advance, they avoid freight, shipping, port, packaging, labeling and other costs associated with their inventory coming from overseas. Additionally, brands who partner with Pattern can also take advantage of time and cost savings as part of their access to our fulfillment resources while, at the same time, experiencing multiple other ways we’re able to accelerate their products on Amazon.
Accelerate your brand on Amazon, starting at the port of origin. Contact Pattern.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.