The Secrets Behind the Success of Chinese Amazon Sellers, as Revealed by Insiders – Updated 2020

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Omar

Well put!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks Omar!

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Darren

Great article and thank you for taking the time to write it!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thank you Darren!

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Anonymous

Davide – Great article – we’ve been talking about this a lot in our office. However, Sunvalley absolutely participates in blackhat – as does Maxboost – those guys are the worst. Great insight into the Psyche of the Chinese seller and what US sellers are up against!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thank you for the comment! I can’t say for Sunvalley but definitely a lot of other sellers are making use of black hat.

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Alex

Davide great article and full of insight. Your article confirms what I have been telling myself in the past year, might be time to bow out of some of the categories we once ruled since the number of competitors has increased dramatically (profit also declined) and if what you say is true about the Chinese sellers pretty much having unlimited funds, I think it is much smarter to look at selling products in less competitive categories for as long as possible and keep open to making changes more quickly instead of losing $$ to prove a point to your stubborn self..

All in all great read and I wish you all the best in the future and look forward to more great articles.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thank you very much Alex! Your comment is very appreciated, I’ll keep writing more posts like this one.

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Isaac Gross

Great article and thank you for taking the time to write it!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks Isaac!

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Roberto

Davide, thanks for the in depth article on Chinese culture and business ethics. This definitely explains a lot in regards to what is happening recently on Amazon. Definitely Chinese sellers have got a competitive advantage on the Amazon marketplace, that you describe well in your post, and it’s difficult to beat them on the same battle field… prices, access to manufacturers, hard working culture, etc. But what about speaking of the great growth hacking strategies that great Western brands have used to leverage their strengths? Chinese are good in many things but not in everything. Amazon is good for fast and dirty money and many brands are short lived there… if you want to build a real brand you need to think outside of Amazon. Build something on your own land, control your customer experience, your prices and build communities of raving fans on social media. A lot of work and definitely not for the short lived Amazon brands. That’s what makes sustainable and defensible your brand… but not for everybody. Again great article but I’d appreciate some new posts in the future on how great Western companies have build sustainable brands leveraging growth hacking techniques that last to the Chinese price wars we see every day on Amazon. Just an example of a young Western company that has done a great job on that side BestSelf.co. Btw, I’ve no affiliation with them. 🙂 Thanks!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks Roberto, you said a lot of interesting things. Definitely Chinese (as nobody in the world) can’t be great at EVERY thing, but regarding what matters for selling a lot on Amazon, they are doing it right. For sure the approach that prevails gives benefit to the short-term and not to the long-term. We expats in China are always complaining about this. I strongly believe that the time for US/EU sellers is coming back and my team and I will be here to help

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J Gross

Thanks David for this great article. For me as a US Amazon seller this has been a eye opener. I am looking forward reading more of your articles.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks a lot J! I’ll make sure to write more articles on the topic

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JM Mariano

I can’t seem to find a way to subscribe to your newsletter/blogs.

Nice blogpost btw. 🙂

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

We don’t have one yet, working on it! Thanks for the feedback it is really appreciated!

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Dave

Thanks for the detailed article and you packed it with value throughout… I learned a lot and think back to my many trips to China years ago (with fondness, I enjoyed my time there)… The playing field has changed everywhere and it’s good to get a glimpse of what’s going on now there… I’ve bookmarked the page, and I look forward to reading more of your posts… Cheers ? Dave

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks Dave, I’m glad my article is useful to many! Check the blog home page for more articles like this

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Baptiste

Thank you so much for that content ?!!
I almost forgot how competitive they can be.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Never underestimate the power of your competitor!

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Jleze

This is like a research paper at university. Good information. The West needs to study this culture because it will be important going forward. Do you speak chinese or believe it will be good for a westerner to learn the language and use persons who know china and the language to help find manufacturers to source products?

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Hi, thanks for the feedback, I don’t speak Chinese to the level of making business with Chinese people using their language, I use English for most of my communication when it comes to talk about work. I speak basic Chinese for daily life/needs when I am in China Mainland. Having a branch in China or Hong Kong would definitely help step up your business, whether you source from China or not. Just getting used to this culture is a big advantage itself.

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Dave Collins

Good info, just make sure to go back and spell “Excel” correctly in section #1.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

ooops! you got it, thanks!

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Benjamin

Great article, thanks for putting all this together Davide.

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cristina

really good article. thank you!!!

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Anon

Hi Davide,

I really enjoyed reading this thorough article. Well written and informative.

Keep up the good work!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks a lot!

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manuel

Great article, very informative and clear, thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge, I will follow this blog! I am a small spanish seller on Amazon and this article and general conclusions leads me to see my difficult position in this table board, I am demoralized thanks, hahaha 😉 How do I compete with them? Difficult response!

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

I’m going to write a follow up article that will answer exactly this question!

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Murray Popik

You sure know what you’re talking about. Everyone is going to soon be visiting your site.

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Rick

Some are true, some are simply not.

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Nico Jannasch

Hi Davide,

As a small USA-based seller, tied mainly to Amazon FBA, I’m of course a bit worried that my business may be wiped out, hijacked, black-hatted, or copy-catted out of existence.

Do I understand this right? “You cannot remain a ‘small’ Amazon seller.”

You either need to get capital (or reinvest profits) and scale to $10M/year+ in sales, so your company is also big and fast, or you’ll get wiped out by well-capitalized, marketing-savvy, government-backed, highly motivated Chinese competitors.

Is that right?

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Hi Nico,

thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it. Of course if you want to scale your business and compete face-to-face against big Chinese sellers you should aim to become a large seller yourself and embrace the full list of elements that will give you speed, efficiency, low cost, constant product flooding etc.

Otherwise, if you want to stay small my advise is: differentiate as much as you can from your competitors and do things that they can’t do but that will surely make your users appreciate your service and products (small example: hand-written thank you cards, good community management, great customer service, small gifts in the package, etc).
I’m actually collecting info in order to write the follow up article on how to beat the unfair competition on Amazon, and trust me, it’s not an easy job to provide relevant advises to the small sellers, simply because the whole system where Amazon puts itself today, is in favor of big sellers and of big budget spenders. I believe though that things will change.

The other solution: be still on Amazon but keep it as a promotional secondary channel, you could focus your main sales in a less competitive marketplace or on your own e-commerce (Shopify, etc).

Hope this solves the question. Cheers!

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Colin

From your experience, What categories and niches are the most competitive ? You gave a lot of examples from the electronics niche, but I would also be interested in learning more about other categories in terms of the presence of Chinese competition.

Great article, thanks !
Please add a subscription option 🙂

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Hi Colin,
well to be honest every category is getting hot on Amazon. Two years ago it was time for electronic maggagers, a few months ago it was yoga mats, now it’s time for sport equipment and a lot of furniture is coming up… The marketplace is just too big to keep track of all the new hot categories, so good luck! Thanks for the feedback I really appreciate it, and we will add a subscription soon!

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Tammy

So, let’s reverse this. If an American company is partnered with a Chinese company, and looking for entrepreneurs who want to build a competitive business quickly in China, how does one go about connecting with the individuals? I have such an opportunity running right now. We are in week one, and need quick connections.

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Thomas

Hello Davide,

Thanks for this great article.
Eye opener on so many levels.
That’s terrifying and very stimulating at the same time.

To all US and EU sellers, Brace yourselves, and Get ready to bring your A++ game to compete with these people.

Again, thanks for this must read.

Thomas

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thank you very much Thomas! The feedback by all of you is well appreciated and is what keeps me researching and writing more and more

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Ryan

Great article! Thanks for taking the time to write and post it. I’m almost certain that my Chinese competitor sabotages my listing every chance they get and is definitely using black hat tactics.

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Paul

THank you so much for this article. It was very well written and insightful. Keep it up.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks for your feedback Paul! Appreciate your comment

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Austin Stadnik

Great read. Thanks for the insight. Currently living in HongKong working with suppliers in China, learning lots from both sides. Find it interesting as well because obviously some Chinese aren’t as accustomed with western Social media. And social media does help leverage quite a bit, gathering emails from campaigns etc. Would like to hear your take on this.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks for the comment Austin, my suggestion on the follow up article here https://wearegrowthhack.com/2018/11/21/war-is-on-how-to-fight-unfair-competition-on-amazon/ on how to make a better use of Social Media is actually also for Western sellers, the focus of the article is on Branding and if you take a deep look at the top Chinese Brands, they are starting to do it correctly as well.

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bull

Eye opener. I got here by researching my Chinese clients. You see, I sell domain names and noticed that most of the domains names offers and sales I have had, that have to do with branding an item comes from Chinese buyers. They are ruthless bargainers but respectuful and quick in closing transactions that sometimes I have no time to think. The more this particular client buys, the more he comes back, he even asks me stuff like “If you had to brand this particular product, what would you call it?” just like that…Its rare a western company would do that. This time he wanted http://www.powerbankx.com. I am sure he wants it for branding some power banks or electronic products within that angle and I cant have him have it quick as there is an obvious value to such a brand name. Turns out he is one of those 3 guys you mentioned! Thanks for your post.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Thanks for the comment Bull, your feedback is really appreciated!

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Console_Harmony

Fast forward to September 2020, does your heavy praise of Chinese sellers on Amazon still stand? Do you still view the unbelievable amount of fake reviews derived from unethical and illegal business practices that you obsequiously refer to as “black hat” as acceptable and “smart” as you stated? The Chinese have been committing full-scale industrial, and as a result, economic espionage and sabotage, do you even know the insurmountable number of American businesses and/or individuals that have become the financial casualties of this sabotage? How about the overwhelming number of dissatisfied American consumers? What happens when one person buys something and it’s junk and they just wasted their money because they either don’t return it or are unable to get a refund? Even if they do, they’ve still wasted part of their day at the least as well as lowered their view on the integrity and reliability of Amazon, this may not seem like much but then it happens three, four, five or maybe 10 times to the same person or group of individuals living in the same household, then multiply that by millions and millions over the years and now it becomes economic sabotage because at this point, most Americans have experienced something like this and when you add all of that energy wasted, all of those days spent, all of the money spent….that puts the entire country behind in all of those areas not to mention all of the wasted time, money and resources that Amazon has spent to combat this fraud and if they’re not combating the fraud then they’re part of it too, which would be even worse. This article, as insightful as it may be, is teetering on the edge of being nothing more than low-key Chinese communist propaganda with the way that you sympathize and praise Chinese sellers engaging in unfair and illegal business practices on Amazon, admire their banning of American e-commerce and social media and play the victim card for them. The fake Amazon review problem has branched out of Amazon, I assume long ago, and is apparent in many other forms such as this article. Chinese sellers have destroyed Amazon’s reputation, that is something that everyone knows and only a fool or a communist agent would deny.

Davide Nicolucci
Davide Nicolucci

Hi, thanks for your comment. I think you’ve misinterpreted the sense of this whole article, that is obviously not to praise Chinese sellers or others who makes use of illicit tactics to hurt Amazon sellers, entrepreneurs and ecommerce businesses. Our objective is to denounce these issues and to open the eyes of every seller out there, especially the new ones. I do encourage you to take a look at the follow up article of this one about Unfair Competition on Amazon https://wearegrowthhack.com/2018/11/21/war-is-on-how-to-fight-unfair-competition-on-amazon/ and to read also all of our other blog posts. We are on your side, don’t worry.

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