Crowdfunding has changed the way entrepreneurs bring their new products to their customers. However, is it a smart strategy to use the same approach for the Japanese market as a foreign brand? If you’re already operating in Japan, could you do more to expand eCommerce growth?
Of course, the answer depends on the type of business, your goals, and the level of experience you already gained in Japan’s complex but rewarding commercial space. Here, we will explore the important aspect of this topic so that you’re able to make a welled informed decision.
Table of Content
Why Crowdfund in Japan?
Running a crowdfunding campaign allows you to:
- Test new concepts
- Raise funds
- Build an audience
- Find new customers and drive sales
These are benefits to any brand trying to gain traction in Japan. While streamlining is a process that can take years for some companies, this allows your brand, product, or concept to the people you’re trying to sell one day and see if they’re on board.
Finding success will give you convince to push forward as well as gain a stronger customer base who can help with everything. This includes first sales and sending your message to new groups and audiences.
While entering Japan can be an adventure, it doesn’t hurt to have some financial support with you without needing to apply for a bank loan or credit. If this is part of your growth plan, having this support will give you a better chance to secure investments from other valuable backers now and in the future.
TEST WHETHER JAPANESE CUSTOMERS WILL LIKE YOUR PRODUCTS!
Many outside businesses have attracted revenue in Japan’s eCommerce market. It is expected to have a growth rate of 6.5% between 2020 and 2025; however, this doesn’t apply if Japanese customers don’t like your product.
When you launch a campaign and reach out to targeted networks, you can see what people really think about your products before you invest in the market. As a result, crowdfunding in Japan is an excellent lesson.
Pledgers will give you more of an honest opinion and their support can be an indicator of how the wider market will respond to you. Also consider:
- Are there any products on the market that people prefer?
- As a foreign brand, will your never before seen product overcome Japanese hesitancy?
- Cultural differences for customers to be less likely to consider your product?
These questions should be addressed through your crowdfunding campaign.
Popular Crowdfunding Platforms in Japan
Each Japanese crowdfunding platform has its fee structure as well as terms of services. Some are more suited for business-orientate, so check the types of campaigns they have previously supported. Always check if it’s possible to receive funds diction from the platform to your international bank account when the campaign is over. Or else, a local Japanese account will be needed to collect the money on your behalf.
Always check the platform’s past campaigns of your product’s category. This can be a sign if the platform can support what you are trying to go and if their audience is looking for some similar.
6.3 Million (Monthly Visitors)
17% (service fee 12%, 3rd party transaction fee 5%)
Founded in 2011 by Kazuma Leiri, Campfire is known as the largest crowdfunding platform in Japan. They have a strong reputation for supporting start-ups and foreign entrepreneurs. Their commission fee for this platform is currently 17%.
Many western companies have become successful on this platform. An example is a Swiss company called United City Bikes which sells super lightweight bicycles whose campaign page has informative video, high-quality graphics, and detail-rich descriptions. Their campaign raised 71,787,052 JPY with a total of 655 backers.
Surprisingly, their videos, models, and scenes from their home market. This is not always the best move since you’re trying to convince new Japanese customers your products are aimed at them. However, Switzerland’s reputation for creating well-engineered products holds strong in Japan, so they strategically used their “foreign appeal” here.
Getting the Most from Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Proactivity is required for any crowdfunding campaign. You must seek Japanese consumers and investors and convince them before getting them on board with your campaign. In order to do so, you need to use your channels and tools.
It’s recommended to have a network of supporters that will help to create some initial interest and momentum before launching your campaign.
These supporters, also known as your audience or social networks, should be the first people you should build organically or with a paid budget (PPC or pay-per-click marketing) to get the ball moving.
Use specific platforms such as LinkedIn, a more business-orient platform, for breaking down your product and future plans. While general platforms like Facebook or Instagram can be used for innovative concept art or for interacting with the public.
Having a place for your new and current audience is important to drive traffic and retain the interest you have developed when crowdfunding in Japan. The most obvious choice is your campaign page when choosing your crowdfunding platform.
This space allows a new audience to see your brand’s first impression. So give plenty of details to get them interested in who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.
Having compelling descriptions, what motivates you, high-quality images of your product/prototypes, and a short introductory video are essential to be successful in most campaigns.
Your project might be featured on the homepage of your chosen crowdfunding platform if you are lucky. Don’t underestimate the importance of key visuals and the overall details of your product. Use past success projects’ pages as a guide.
Have a defined and realistic timeline for your campaign. Make people think “this is happening now” and the window to the board is closing soon. For example, a 30-day campaign might seem daunting, but that sense of urgency it creates can help you attract more support.
A common problem is for people to think they can come back later after thinking about it to only then forget about your product. So having an estimated time of delivery of rewards and giving regular updates to your supporters allows them to know how you are progressing.
So, What Happens Next?
Once your crowdfunding campaign is over, there is still much to be done. Use the data you’ve collected to keep your supporters engaged, update them with any news, and personalize the experience and rewards.
While gaining new followers, the group of supporters who’s been with you from the start could be your most loyal and repeated customers and brand advocates. Look after this core group of people because it will make everything from social media marketing to promoting offers/discounts much easier.