August 15, 2014, 4:11 PM

Amazon’s marketplace draws attention from globally minded e-retailers

Amazon’s smaller peers and competitors view the online retail giant’s marketplace as the best way to sell internationally, a ChannelAdvisor survey shows.

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Most retailers look to Amazon.com Inc.’s marketplace when wanting to sell internationally, suggest new survey results from ChannelAdvisor Corp., a U.S.-based company that helps retailers sell on some 20 online marketplaces, including the one operated by Amazon.

Retailers that sell on the Amazon marketplace sell products alongside those that Amazon itself sells on Amazon.com.

ChannelAdvisor found that 62% of survey participants “believe Amazon provides the best opportunity to sell internationally [and that] 69% of U.S. retailers believe Amazon provides the best international opportunity.”

ChannelAdvisor based its findings on a May 2014 survey of 219 retailers that sell products online: 108 were based on the United States and 111 in the United Kingdom. The company employed Redshift Research to conduct the survey of retailers, which included but were not exclusively ChannelAdvisor clients.

According to the survey, 30% of respondents earn 21% to 30% of their online sales from international marketplaces. In all, 48% of respondents earn at least 20% of online sales through international marketplaces.

Still, shipping and logistics (cited by 42% of respondents), regulations (33%) and currency issues (30%) act as the main hurdles to such sales, ChannelAdvisor says.

The report adds that U.S. retailers rank the United Kingdom, China and Australia as their three top international sales regions. According to data found at Top500Guide.com, 220 of the retailers (44%) in the 2014 Top 500 Guide ship to the U. K., 196 ship (39%) to China and 219 ship (44%) to Australia. Other popular countries include Canada (298, or 60%) and the Netherlands (213, or 43%).

The survey also found that:

• 84% of respondents sell products on the Amazon marketplace. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says that in 2013, online shoppers bought more than 1 billion items from retailers that sell on that marketplace, which launched in 2000. According to data from Top500Guide.com, 163 retailers in the 2014 Top 500 Guide—or nearly 33%—sell on the Amazon marketplace. In the Second 500, the next lowest tier of merchants based on annual e-commerce revenue, 178 merchants—or nearly 36%—report selling on the Amazon marketplace.

• 28% of respondents use Fulfillment by Amazon, a service that lets merchants store inventory at Amazon warehouses with Amazon handling delivery to the customer.

• 90% of respondents are selling goods through online marketplaces of some kind. That includes 15% who sell on what ChannelAdvisor calls “emerging marketplaces” such as those operated by Sears Holdings Corp. (No. 5 in the Top 500), Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 15) and Newegg Inc. (No. 17). For a deeper look at the online marketplace race and its relatively new entrants, check out this story earlier this year from Internet Retailer magazine.

• 53% of respondents cite “maintaining competitive pricing” as the top challenge for selling on marketplaces, followed by “standing out from the competition” (44%) and “managing product quality” (42%).

According to Top500Guide.com, 65 retailers in the 2014 Top 500 Guide use ChannelAdvisor for marketplace management, up from 60 for the year before.

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