Top Considerations When Using International ASINs on Amazon

Top considerations when using international ASINs on Amazon

When launching a product in a new international Amazon marketplace, it’s worthwhile to consider two options: Whether to use the same ASIN that you are already selling in your home marketplace, or to start a new listing with a fresh ASIN. Amazon allows you to sell a product using the same ASIN in both your home country and across international marketplaces. An “international ASIN” is when a product is sold internationally under (with) the same ASIN.

There are a number of pros and cons to international ASINs that should be taken into account when deciding what is best for your business.

Advantages

  • Logistics can be easier — you don’t need to get new barcodes/GTINs/UPC codes and can use the same packaging to send anywhere in the world.
  • Listings on a new marketplace pull in reviews from your home market, making it easier to gain traction and, potentially, sales ranking.

Disadvantages 

  • You can’t use localised images and text annotations in your new market. If you use text on your images, it will be in English (or whatever your home market is).
  • If people in your new market don’t like your product, you could decrease the rating in your home market, as well.

Key considerations for images and reviews

If your product is simple to explain and does not require localised images, then it’s better to use the same ASIN (one international ASIN) across all the different markets where you sell.

But if you have a complex product that needs explanation in your images, then it may be worth starting with a new ASIN in the new market. But this very much depends on how many reviews you have.

Rising Sun Commerce helps brands launch on Amazon Japan, so this is an issue that we run into all the time. I’ll run you through some examples of how I would decide whether to use an international ASIN or a country-specific ASIN if we were to sell these same products on Amazon Japan. The same principle applies to any non-English speaking market, be that Amazon in Germany, France, Mexico, Italy, or Spain.

Example products

Let’s look at three examples (Note: The included products are purely examples, with no connection to either Rising Sun Commerce or eCommerce Nurse.)

Example A

Wooden coasters: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GCHOVRM/

acacia wood cork coasters amazon listing

This product has:

  • Simple, clear images with not much text.
  • 840+ reviews.
  • A 4-star rating. 

The review score could be a bit better, but it’s going to take a while to get 840 reviews in Japan. Because of the number of reviews and the decent rating, this product would immediately stand out and give customers the confidence to buy it. The conversion rate would be high compared to a product with zero reviews. No special photography is required to help make this product sell in Japan. Showing the product in a “Japanese” setting would only give marginal gains, as it’s such a simple product and works the same way in any country. So, for this example, it would be best to use the same ASIN that was used in the US to launch this into Japan (or any other Amazon market)

Example B

Soup Maker appliance: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3K9FM8/

Philips stainless steel soup maker Amazon listing

This brand used their images to highlight some of the key benefits. But they’ve expanded to Mexico or Spain and added Spanish to some images, too, and the images start to look a bit messy. They have excellent reviews and a good number of them, with 302+ onsite. It would be tempting to use an international ASIN to sell this item in Japan as well. However, I worry the mixture of English and Spanish on the images will confuse people in all markets. If we added Japanese text to any image, on top of this, then it would look even messier and possibly cause more confusion.  Reusing this content is not a viable option.

If I were to launch this product onto another marketplace, I would encourage the brand to re-visit their images completely. Remove all text and instead use some infographic-type icons to show off the key points that aren’t language specific.

Example C

Organic snack bars: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00663GWTI/

Organic food bar Amazon listing

This brand has lots of text on their main images and they are selling in good quantities in the USA at the moment. This item has 63+ reviews,  so not high, but significant to launch in a new market with. But there is so much English writing and information on the images, it would put Japanese and non-English speaking customers off. They would feel that the product wasn’t for them, and in such a competitive category as snack bars, these customers have plenty of other choices from competitors.

In this case, we’d need to explain the ingredients in the local language and look at the long game to build up trust and work on reviews.

The higher conversion rate of a health product listing the ingredients in the local language will outweigh the short-term impact of carrying 63 reviews across. I would start with a new ASIN in this case.

Can I really not use different images in different markets?

As of May 2020, Amazon doesn’t allow products with the same ASIN to have different images in different marketplaces.

Until spring 2019 there was a workaround, by asking seller support to update a particular image on a case by case basis. Sometimes they would. But since mid-2019, it’s been harder to do, and now impossible. We spoke to an Amazon representative about it, and they confirmed that they don’t allow different images on the same ASIN.

Our opinion on best practice is to make your images easy to understand, whatever location you sell your product in. Perhaps use icons to highlight the features on product pictures, instead of text.

But always keep up to date with Amazon’s policies. They may change things and allow brands to have different images in different countries one day. After all, it would improve the customer experience and that’s what Amazon cares about most.

Conclusion

Are you thinking of selling in another locale? Are you interested in selling on Amazon.jp? Rising Sun Commerce can help with set-up and launch, account management, customer support, and even translation services. For more tips on this topic, listen to John on the eCommerce Nurse Podcast, or visit Rising Sun Commerce.

John Cant

John Cant

John Cant is an e-commerce specialist in the Japanese market and co-founder of Rising Sun Commerce, an Amazon-focused agency in the UK and Japan. John spent 5 years living in Japan and has worked in e-commerce since 2012. He set up Rising Sun Commerce in 2016 with his business partner Neil Curtis.

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