How to Build Global Products by Amazon Product Manager

Hand holding a small globe

Founders and CEOs of product companies believe that their products can, or have the potential to solve a global problem. In the beginning, the product is, however, local. It’s only when it succeeds to an extent do the founders think of scaling it worldwide. Hence, the focus is to scale, rather than build products globally. 

In this talk, Piyush Kaushal, Sr. Product Manager, provides an understanding of the global markets, how to think years in advance with a global view for your product and how to prioritize your product locally while also expanding across the world.

Piyush Kaushal—From Amazon to The World

Piyush is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon Prime Video, leading the global pricing and promotions products, and scaling their product across 200+ states and territories. Highly skilled in Product Management in the consumer internet sector, Piyush has launched and marketed products on a worldwide scale on account of over 10 years of professional experience.

Amazon products

Scaling Your Product Globally

Piyush begins by taking the example of already established companies which solve a global problem, have achieved product-market fit in one or few markets, their tier 1 and tier 2 entry markets are already prioritized and have a team structure already in place for global success, such as Uber, Netflix, and Spotify. 

There are two aspects when it comes to product scaling. The first is localization, and the second is internationalization. The key factors towards the success of a product on a local scale are the local language, currency, pricing, payments, content, support, and distribution. Internationalization is nothing but changing your core product in a way that it becomes more flexible to adapt to your growing international needs.

To help a product establish from a global standpoint, every product manager needs three key skills

1. An understanding that the product should fit in the local market it’s expanding to next

This is the first and most important skill. Piyush explains this with the example of Spotify. The company was present in the US and UK markets for over 10 years, but it never had a lyrics facility, as those countries were predominantly English-speaking. But, when it next expanded to Japan, it was discovered that the country was primarily lyrics-focused. Hence it launched its lyrics feature in the Japan market in 2016, a feature which still doesn’t exist in the English markets.

Another example is that of Uber in India. Unlike the Uber app in western countries, the app in India is different. Most of the population of India has feature phones, which come between the basic phones and smartphones. The internet connection is patchy and the storage space is also limited. Uber introduced an updated version of the app to India in 2018 to cater to these needs. LinkedIn and Facebook are other examples of this approach.

2. The ability to design for global and prioritize for local

This means that you should think years ahead and develop a forward-looking global view for your product. For example, Uber launched Uber Boats in Croatia and Uber Eats in India, according to the local requirements, the potential of which was guessed years prior by their product manager.

Binoculars looking forward over the ocean

Balancing Product Trade-Offs in a Global Context

For example, a feature may have a higher impact on the established market but a lower impact on the market. However, if that feature is critical, it has to be kept active irrespective of the effect on the ROI. The other key factors to consider are trade-offs between short term gain vs long term strategy and local success vs global success

Piyush hence, emphasizes that a Product Manager should always look beyond the ROI and years ahead, and make a call based on the conditions and geography of the target market, and if necessary, convince the higher leadership of this as well in order to retain the critical features of a product.

rocks balancing on the beach

If you enjoyed this article, you can find more talks like Piyushs’ on our YouTube channel.

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