All Stories

How Amazon helps Canadian entrepreneurs sell internationally 

By Courtney Edgar, special to Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada 

In 20203, WEOC hosted the WEOC Café Series: Success Stories from Amazon Canada Sellers. This series of live events was presented by WEOC and Amazon Canada. Discussions focused on the experience of women entrepreneurs using to sell their products.

Here we focus on two entrepreneurs who are using Amazon to reach an American market.  

Opening the door to the American market 

For Canadian entrepreneurs like Wenny Chiu, who runs the natural and eco-friendly animal care product brand Drby Pet Co., working with Amazon for her orders helped her get her foot in the door of the American market. 

She had been in the business of formulating, creating, and selling sustainable pet care since 2021. At Drby Pet Co, Chiu sells products like rinse-free cleanser, paw and nose balms, and natural toothpastes for pups. 

To send out her shipments within Canada she typically uses Shopify. However, just this year she decided to step into a wider audience south of the border. 

To make breaking into the U.S. market a little bit easier, she set up shop with Amazon for her sales made in that country. Amazon offers free shipping to its Prime subscribers, which is an incentive for her U.S. customers, says Chiu. 

“I think Amazon speaks for itself as a household name. It’s a brand everyone recognizes and trusts,” Chiu explains in a phone interview. 

The major retailing sales platform even does the work of fulfilling the orders for Canadian business owners like Chiu. That means all she needs to do is ship the products over to the Amazon warehouse. There it will then manage the domestic logistics to its U.S.-based shoppers. 

Chiu thinks working with Amazon as a small business owner in Canada is a smart move because it doesn’t matter what stage of development you are at in your entrepreneurial journey – the online retailer is able to support your needs from the outset, no matter your size or needs. 

Baby Steps

They give you the freedom to start out in very little baby steps if that is what you want or need. 

“In the beginning, when there’s no sales history, you can send Amazon as little as five or 50 products,” Chiu says. 

The retailer has a tool that Chiu finds straightforward and intuitive to use. It informs you on how to replenish the supply to the warehouse in ways that are aligned with your actual needs. 

“You don’t want to put all your inventory in just one place,” she says. 

For Chiu and Drby Pet Co., she sends out her product fulfilment orders to the Amazon warehouse on a quarterly basis. But she acknowledges this is her own choice. There are several timeline options to choose from, including monthly. Quarterly works well for her since she has a lot of hats to wear. 

These days, she can send out to Amazon between 20 to 50 natural and eco-friendly pet grooming products every three months, customizing which products she sends to the season.  

Optimizing delivery options 

Laura Burget is the co-founder of Canadian skincare brand Three Ships. She has also found selling through Amazon helpful. She and her co-founder started Three Ships four years ago, and started using Amazon FBA for their Canadian and U.S. sales a few months after launch.  

“We used them via Vendor central for a past brand and found that Amazon allowed us to access a different consumer than the customers that shop us on our website, which is why we got setup with Seller central when Three Ships launched,” Burget says. 

Since Three Ships has one warehouse in the U.S., in Chicago. Having inventory stored in Amazon locations on the West Coast facilitates serving customers living a little further than Chicago. 

“Having FBA on our listings definitely helps to allow customers who want to see a next day delivery option to be able to shop our line,” Burget says. 

While they also sell to Canada and the U.S. via their own website, the next-day delivery offered by Amazon is a plus for customers.  

“This is something that we can’t offer via our own site right now so it’s great for those that are doing last minute shopping!” 

Learning Curve

And while she says the Amazon platform is great once you get the hang of it, Burget does note that it has a steeper learning curve than others like Shopify. 

For example, there are some quirks to how the system works and the process to set up listings can take some time getting used to. She recommends hiring someone who has that expertise to help with the initial onboarding if no one on your team has used Amazon to sell before. 

“Once you know your way around though it’s easy to find what you need,” Burget says. 

She credits some of the success Three Ships celebrated over the last four years with using Amazon as a selling platform. The skincare brand grew 65 per cent year over year last year. She projects Three Ships will maintain this growth rate again this year, allowing them to reach an eight-figure brand.  

“For small businesses, or those that are just starting to build a following, Amazon is a great, low barrier way to start selling your products online. The reach that they have as a platform is just unparalleled. 

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