You can be confident in your market potential in Japan.
However, the fact remains that you need to do your research to find the best method of penetrating the market. We’re going to cover some general points you’ll need to consider when breaking into the market in Japan.
1. Know the Language, Know the Culture
According to a study in the CIA Factbook, 99% of the 125 million people living in Japan speak Japanese exclusively. So you need to have a translator on your team. Someone who has a deep, working knowledge of both cultural and consumer trends.
You will also need to employ customer service staff that speaks Japanese to offer a service beyond your competitors!
2. Showcase the Most Popular Items
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, the four most popular product categories sold on Rakuten, Japan’s largest online marketplace are beauty care, medicine, food and beverages, and electronics.
Shoppers in Japan also prefer to spend their money on lower-priced items. A ComScore study revealed that more than half of all shoppers bought goods and services costing less than ¥20,000 (approx. $195).
3. Local Warehousing
Ship your products quickly using a local warehouse. Japan’s entire landmass is smaller than the state of California. With such a small nation, it only takes 1-2 days for local sellers to ship their products to their customers.
In 2013, Accenture found that typical buyers in Japan expect same-day delivery. Using local warehouses can allow you to keep up with the pace.
4. Create a Diverse Support Channels to Foster Future Business
Customers tend to leave positive reviews and become returnees when they can find support quickly – both online and offline. A study by Worldpay in 2015 found that 70% of Japanese shoppers searched online regarding payment-related queries, and over a third of these use customer support via telephone and email.
So, you might want to create a space for support or to send inquiries for customers to go to.
So, you might want to create a space for support or to send inquiries for customers to go to!
5. Have Mobile-Friendly Content to Boost Conversion
How important is it to have mobile-friendly access to your content? Extremely. Why? Because there are more active mobile phones than there are people in Japan.
84% of the population shops through their mobile phones, and, in 2015, half of all e-commerce sales in Japan were made through a mobile device. So having a mobile version of your content allows more accessibility.