Starting An Ecommerce Side Hustle: How You Can Sell To International Customers Without Experience


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Jun 27, 2023

Starting An Ecommerce Side Hustle: How You Can Sell To International Customers Without Experience

The best time to start a business is today! by This article was written in

The best time to start a business is today!


This article was written in collaboration with Amazon Global Selling Singapore. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. and Amazon Singapore are not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view's full editorial policy here.

Saving money alone may not help you cope with the rising cost of living, especially in this highly inflationary environment. Apart from earning more from your current job, you can also build more income streams with a side hustle. As an added benefit, it doesn't just increase your overall income but also diversifies your income sources, acting as a safety net against potential job loss.

Living in Singapore, you can start various side hustles. Some common ones include driving for ride-hailing platforms and delivering packages. But these side hustles lack the scalability and market size to replace your main income one day. Even side hustles that you can easily start from your home, like baking and creating crafts, are not easily scalable without moving to a commercial premise and investing in machinery.

Alternatively, you can start an e-commerce business. You don't need to be born with any special talent AND you can learn on the go. You could even scale your side hustle into a full-time career once you start achieving good sales figures. This is what the Singapore-based founders of Naoki Matcha, who turned their side hustle business into a full-time business, did. Today, they sell matcha to people all around the world, generating six-figures in monthly sales just on

The best products in the world usually solve a customer's problem or need. Optimally, you should find a niche problem that you want to solve when starting a business.

For example, the Naoki Matcha founders, who share a love for matcha – a type of Japanese tea – developed their brand concept when they saw the trend for matcha as a new healthy superfood catching on in the United States in 2016. Today, Naoki Matcha curates high-quality matcha sourced from various tea regions in Japan.

Source: Amazon Global Selling – Naoki Matcha

Finding a winning product to sell can be difficult and requires in-depth research. You can use various third-party product research tools or attend ecommerce events like the Amazon Southeast Asia Seller Summit 2022 to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and industry leaders to identify new and fast-growing trends.

The phrase, "the world is your oyster," has never been truer with the increasing internet penetration rate globally and improving 3rd-party online and offline solutions. With Amazon Global Selling, operating over 20 Global Stores, from the popular to stores in the United Kingdom, Italy, and (even Egypt!), you can market your products to a wide international audience without having any physical presence in that country.

In fact, despite founding their business in Singapore, Samuel and Sing Chuen, co-founders of Naoki Matcha, started their e-commerce business by first selling their products in the United States via in late 2016. They only expanded to other countries like the UK and Singapore four years later after establishing their business.

Like them, you do not have to be restricted to your locality when you start, and instead can choose between the different Amazon Stores and reach over 300 million customers in over 200 countries and territories when you start your business with Amazon Global Selling. Regardless of your company's size and expertise, it's easy to scale up and expand to other countries from Day 1.

Source: Amazon Global Selling – Naoki Matcha founders Samuel (left) and Sing Chuen (right)

Starting a business is usually considered a capital-intensive venture. With an e-commerce business, you do not need a lot of capital to start compared to a physical store. Moreover, overseas business ventures, which may typically cost established businesses anywhere between six figures and more, factoring in the cost of finding local distributors, opening new outlets, paying local staff, and running marketing campaigns, are available to you at a low cost.

If you choose to sell on, aside from the referral fee per sale and fulfillment fees, you only need to fork out US$0.99 per item sold on individual accounts, or US$39.99 per month for professional accounts with no limitations on the quantity of products you sell (even if you sell in 10 Amazon Stores globally, this fee will be capped at US$39.99 per month). You could also open a local Amazon Singapore account, with the corresponding fees for the two types of accounts costing between S$1 per item and S$29.95 per month (currently waived for new sellers). Additionally, you may want to set aside some budget for advertising and promotion to improve your brand's visibility.

In the case of Naoki Matcha, the founders bootstrapped their side hustle with a little starting capital and began with only 10 kg of matcha for their first shipment. They have since grown to rake in six figures in sales each month, selling a few tonnes of matcha each year across three continents.

Amazon Global Selling lowers the barrier for anyone looking to start their ecommerce side hustle with a low start-up cost, without any physical or IT infrastructure required, while giving them the ability to scale to different countries and regions easily.

One of the main challenges of running a small online business is taking care of the logistics, such as fulfilling orders, communicating with customers and returns handling. It can be both daunting and time-consuming for business owners, especially if they are a small team (or one-man operation), given the varying requirements for different countries and time zones.

That's where Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) can be of an advantage to small business owners with an Amazon Seller account. Renowned for its speed and efficient delivery (i.e., its 2-day delivery service to most US States and territories for its Prime members), Amazon FBA allows businesses to scale and reach more customers easily. With the FBA service, businesses can send their products to Amazon's 400+ Fulfillment Centers around the world and let Amazon deal with the storing, packing, and shipping of orders as well as handling returns and exchanges.

For example, Naoki Matcha's co-founders credit their success and scale in the United States to Amazon FBA. "It helped us to grow fast and relatively painlessly. For a Singapore-based business, Amazon FBA is really quite revolutionary. You have access to millions of customers all the way from Singapore. I don't think selling internationally has ever been this easy or cost-efficient," said Samuel.

As a business owner, Fulfillment By Amazon saves you time to focus on addressing your customers’ needs and improving your product offering and quality.

Once you find a product to sell and have chosen how to fulfill and ship your product to your target country, the next step would be to track and manage your business. After all, "what gets measured, gets managed."

To that extent, Amazon offers its sellers on-the-go tools to manage their day-to-day business in one place via the 24/7 Amazon Seller Central dashboard and Amazon Seller mobile app.

You will gain access to a dashboard that displays several types of useful information that will help you as a seller. This includes your daily sales figures, messages from buyers, the number of times you secured the featured offer, your inventory management index (IPI), and your global promotional sales. You can also get a further breakdown of these metrics by the different regions that you sell to. The Seller Central app also displays important alerts, news and posts on Seller forums.

Additionally, you could also use the Product Opportunity Explorer on the Seller Central to generate new products or offer ideas in a particular niche. The data provided is based on Amazon customers’ search and purchase behaviour, which you can then use to identify untapped market demand and opportunities for new products.

Source: Amazon Global Selling – Product Opportunity Explorer

Whether it's for finding new product ideas or deep diving into your own sales figures, the helpful tools on Seller Central let you manage and grow your online business conveniently and efficiently.

Despite the easy setup process to open an Amazon Seller account and start selling to an international audience, you may still have some doubts or be unsure about some parts of the selling process.

For example, you may have challenges when sourcing new products as you may need to communicate with suppliers in countries where you may not be familiar with their language or local customs of how they conduct business. There is also the issue of ensuring the authenticity of the wholesale suppliers and carrying out quality control inspections of the products.

New sellers who need more guidance with selling on Amazon can access the Seller University on Amazon Seller Central and learn from the many articles and videos. Also, special events like the Amazon SEA Seller Summit 2022, happening from 26 to 27 October 2022, can be a great platform for new and existing entrepreneurs to learn about the advantages of selling on Amazon.

Source: Amazon Global Selling – Seller University

During the free two-day event, which will be held in a hybrid mode – at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre and virtually – you will get to hear from over 20 Amazon key members, Seller Ambassadors like the Naoki Matcha founders, and e-commerce service providers.

The content-packed event will be full of information about how to help new e-commerce start-ups build a global brand, how to use the best strategies for product listings, what to look out for when sourcing products from China and India, understanding the legal structures and cross-border taxes, how to supercharge online sales with Amazon Advertising, and much more.

You can also explore the event booths or attend the seller café consultations with Amazonians at the Amazon consultation booth to learn more tips and tricks to start and grow your ecommerce business.

This event is a great opportunity for new sellers to expand their horizons by selling beyond just our local shores. Like what Samuel, co-founder of Naoki Matcha, mentions, "Being able to tap a global audience with Amazon from the beginning really laid the foundations for our business. It gave us a great head start and allowed us to think bigger as a Singaporean company operating globally."

Register for the Amazon SEA Seller Summit 2022 and learn how you can launch your own e-commerce business today.

This article was written in collaboration with Amazon Global Selling Singapore. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. and Amazon Singapore are not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view's full editorial policy here. Find Your Niche, And Products To Sell Choose Your Marketplace Minimal Starting Capital Needed To Start Let Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) Handle Your Logistics Leverage On Amazon's Suite Of Online Tools For Sellers No Knowledge How To Start? – No Problem happening from 26 to 27 October 2022