Meeting Customers’ Needs When Shipping in Japan

The B2C e-commerce market represents a growing part of the total annual sales in Japan

The two biggest platforms, Rakuten and Amazon, have total annual sales estimated respectively at JPY 3.43 trillion and JPY 2.75 trillion in 2019 (USD 31.7 billion and USD 25.42 billion respectively).

They offer amazing services. As a result consumers in Japan have high expectations concerning shipping or customer support. After we saw what the best methods of payment were in Japan, let’s focus on what you can do to improve your shipping service.

What Customers Expect

Customers expect a fast delivery service, especially in Japan. When they order on Amazon Rakuten, they usually receive their package the day of or a couple of days after. Of course, you cannot deliver as fast as Japanese companies do. Informing your customers that their product comes from overseas and will not be delivered in one or two days is a good way to maintain customer and company relationships.

You should check out our other articles about methods of payment and Japanese customer service to meet the customer’s wants, needs, and expectations. Remember that perfection is in the details. This even to shipping, payment, and customer service.

The Main Parcel Delivery Companies

Home delivery market share in Japan. Source: FlagShipBlog, Medium (2017).

Items You Cannot Ship Without a Special License

Here is a list of restricted items, according to Japan FedEx:

    • “Alcohol
  • Certain textiles
    • Chemical substances (including Fertilizers)
    • Chemicals
    • Compressed gases and their containers
    • Cosmetics and other products that are used on the human body (hair tonics, bath preparations, etc.)
    • Cutlery, cookware, containers, dishes, etc. used for food, beverages, or for food preparation
    • Dairy Products
    • Drugs and medicines and other products such as eye drops, toothpaste, vitamins, etc. that have an effect on humans or animals
    • Explosives
    • Fertilizer
    • Food, Food additives
    • Goods that may interface with the Japan’s [sic] public infrastructure (roads, radio frequencies, telephone or power lines, etc.) can clear customs without special documents or prior approval but the end-user or reseller must obtain approval from the responsible government agency before the goods can be used in Japan. Examples of these goods include motor vehicles, electric & telecommunication equipment, radios, telephones, and modems.
    • High pressure Gas
    • Meat and meat products
    • Medical Equipment
    • Medicine
    • Plants and plant products
    • Radioactive Isotopes
    • Rice, wheat and their products
    • Sugar
  • Textiles
  • Toys for babies
  • Tuna, Whale, Seaweed”

For these items, you need a license to ship them. Note that some products can be restricted depending on the platform you sell your product on, for example, or that the list can change over the years. Contact your partner/distributor in Japan for more information. 

Certifications You Need to Have

You should check that your product is conforming to the Japanese legislation if you want to enter the market. 

To sell your product on Gloture’s e-commerce website, you need a certification for the following items:

For further information, check out JQA’s list about the Testing and Certification of Electrical Equipment, Components, and Medical Devices.

Besides, Gloture cannot sell medical equipment or other medical items since we do not have the required permit.