A Q&A with Thrasio’s VP of International June Zheng
Expanding internationally is no longer “optional”—it’s business critical. But how you enter a new market is a strong predictor of your success. Tax codes, cultural nuances, compliance laws, and global logistics are just a few of the barriers that make launching products abroad a tricky, and potentially risky, business.
June Zheng knows what you’re facing. Zheng is charged with expanding Thrasio’s product portfolio globally. It’s a big job. Today, 86% of Thrasio’s 200-plus brands sell internationally. “Thrasio wants to be the leading player in ecommerce, and you can’t be a leading player unless you’re global,” Zheng says. Her advice for sellers looking to cross borders? For starters, take the time to get market smart.
Your team creates exhaustive product launch plans that translate strategy into operational execution. What advice can you share with FBA sellers?
Launching your Amazon product in a new market isn’t something you can just dive into and see what happens. You need to develop a hyper-focused, organized game plan. Lay out your goals, milestones, and strategies to meet those goals. What does success look like for you in this market? What will be your timeframe for reevaluating and reconfiguring your strategies?
There are a lot of nuances in consumer preferences in different countries. Japan, for example, has beautiful brick-and-mortar stores. How does ecommerce entice Japanese customers?
Japanese customers value customer service and quality over everything, and that extends to the online experience. You need a beautiful listing where shoppers can experience the product virtually, get a feel for its quality, and purchase it seamlessly. Otherwise, they’re not going to shop online, no matter the cost savings or delivery promise.
Any tips on getting ahead right after you launch a product?
Your product debut gives you a unique opportunity to drive rank and take your competitors by surprise. In the first couple weeks after you’ve launched, promote the hell out of it. Run promotions, a coupon, whatever you can to push your product. You want to quickly establish yourself in the category.
Thrasio is actively buying brands in the UK, Germany, China, and Japan. What are some of the things we look for?
For Thrasio, a healthy international brand is similar to what we look for in a brand that sells in the U.S. We always like to see high global reviews. But what a category or market leader means can be completely different for each marketplace. That threshold could be 20,000 reviews in the UK, but 100,000 reviews in the U.S. So again, it really depends on the category and market.
How do you determine which countries to move into?
We thoughtfully consider if and when we’re going to expand in any market. We’re going to launch successfully, not go in and fall on our face. We look at where the Amazon marketplace is already operating of course. We also take into consideration the difficulties of entering a marketplace, such as language complexity, logistics, or geography.
Our brands are very global. As of today, we’re selling on Amazon in Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK, Japan, and Australia. And there are many more to come.
June Zheng is Vice President of International at Thrasio, the largest acquirer and operator of ecommerce brands worldwide. At Thrasio, Zheng leads a team that focuses on expanding Thrasio’s product portfolio globally.