Japan is the 4th largest eCommerce market in the world after China, the US, and the UK. So, it makes sense to get a piece of the pie out of this booming Japanese eCommerce market by starting up your own eCommerce website.
While expanding your business in the Japanese market, you’ll have to compete with a lot of industry players. Because there are already Japanese marketplaces & eCommerce websites giving tough competition to new industry players. One choice you’ll have to make is whether to sell on those marketplaces or build your own eCommerce store or maybe do both.
Starting your own website gives you full control over your business operation and generates higher profit margins as well. On the other hand, selling on the existing Japanese marketplaces would allow you to reach a wider audience. However, if you want to build your own brand in the Japanese market and have long-term goals, you should go with starting your own eCommerce website.
Ecommerce Website Success Checklist for Japan
The Japanese market has great chances of being successful, and the following checklist for eCommerce website success in Japan helps you enter the Japanese eCommerce market.
1. Research the Market
Before entering any new market, it’s a vital & mandatory part to do market research. While entering a new market is like entering unknown territory, so it would be best to know what the market is like in Japan, what’s most trending, how & where to promote your brand for optimum results. It is always a good idea to know the general state of the market but you should also delve deep into your industry to get a better perspective.
Divide your market research into two parts: industry trends and competitor analysis. Consumers in Japan behave differently than in most parts of the world. So, here’re some key statistics to keep in mind:
- Japan has globally recognized customer service. So, you must incorporate such a level of service & offer support in their native language.
- Consumers there do diligent research before they decide to purchase anything. So, ensure that your brand offers abundant materials & information for research.
- Japanese people value quality above all including price. So, you must offer good quality products, customer service & product packaging.
2. Get to Know Your Target Audience
Your target audience is those who’ll buy products or services you have to offer in the Japanese market. To start getting to know who your target audience is, you’ll first have to find your competitors and get to know who buys their products or services. The demographics or characteristics of your target audience in Japan may differ greatly from your target audience in other markets.
Knowing your target audience is absolutely essential as your marketing strategies would be based on your potential customers. Best way to know your potential customers is by creating buyer personas with whatever details you have about them. Buyer personas help you create highly targeted marketing campaigns & strategies for the Japanese market.
Once you have launched your eCommerce store in Japan, you can refine your marketing strategies by collecting customer information and optimize your buyer personas further.
3. Select Your Marketing Channels
Most popular marketing channels and media platforms in Japan may differ greatly from other regions. So, it would be a good practice if you start to familiarize yourself with social platforms Japanese people use specifically those your target audience frequently interacts with.
Yahoo Japan is the most effective platform to reach the PC userbase & also display ads for B2B & B2C. You can also use Google to run ads alongside Yahoo. The line is the most popular social platform in Japan using which you could reach up to 90% of the mobile users and 64% of the population.
Other common platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are great for running ad campaigns & influencer marketing as well. Some social platforms perform better for B2B and others for B2C business models, so A/B tests your ad campaigns to find what works best for your business type.
4. Form Effective Marketing Strategies
Based on the research & finding from the above three steps, you are now well equipped to form effective marketing strategies for your target Japanese market. It would be best if you run your marketing campaigns around the holidays. Here’s a guide on holiday top-selling days to boost your website orders in Japan.
Your marketing should include detailed plans for your strategies, budget, and marketing calendar. Allocate enough budget and time for your eCommerce business to succeed in Japan. Initially, it may be tough to break into this market but once you do, it will reward you in the long run if you are able to turn potential customers into loyal ones.
5. Localize Your Website & Content on It
In a Rakuten survey, only 8.7% of the respondents said that they are good or very good at English. So, it becomes absolutely necessary for you to localize your website and the content on your website too. You don’t want to rely on Google translate because the content should purely be native Japanese.
Along with content localization, you should also localize your marketing content too. Doing so ensures that there are no hurdles in your way to becoming a successful eCommerce business in Japan. If need be, hire a native localization service that helps you with content transcreation.
6. Hire Experts for Website Development
The next thing you want to do is hire an expert team of developers to build an eCommerce store for the Japanese market. They have all the market-specific knowledge & necessary expertise to help you become a successful brand in Japan. You can hire a Japanese consultant agency if you have ways to overcome the language barriers.
Hiring a team of experts who will help you & support you with anything from designing to developing and deploying your website. Also, they can help you with running successful marketing campaigns, website content localization, and others. M-Connect Media is one such team of experts you want to hire for starting a successful eCommerce business in Japan.
7. Integrate Japanese Payment Methods
Another important aspect to consider is the payment methods Japanese consumers use for making online purchases. In Japan, online payments are majorly governed by Credit & Debit cards and account for 66% of the market. However, Cash-on-Delivery and paying in convenience stores are also common payment practices of Japanese consumers who don’t have access to credit/debit cards or banks.
Offering such ways is important if your target audience includes teenagers or consumers not from urban areas. Not providing such traditional ways to make payment, could result in abandoned carts and loss in conversion rate.
8. Prioritize the Customer Support
As mentioned earlier, Japanese brands offer an exceptionally high standard of customer service. So, ensure that your brand also matches up to that level of customer service if not more. Also, it would be best if you are able to resolve customer queries in their native language.
Make it easy for your Japanese customers to reach you via phone or email to gain and build their trust in your brand. This will significantly aid in the success of your eCommerce business in the Japanese market. Moreover, you can launch loyalty programs & offer points on repeat purchases. Japanese consumers love such kinds of rewards and it’s a good way to incentivize the loyalty of your customers and keep them engaged with your brand.
Japanese consumers are keen on the quality & service brands have to offer. Not only the product here is expected to be of high quality but the level of service & experience should also be great. While it may be tough to start off quickly in the Japanese market but can pay off well in the long run. And this eCommerce website success checklist for Japan helps you pay attention to important aspects of running an eCommerce business in the Japanese market.
Want to develop a successful eCommerce website? M-Connect Media is a one-stop solution offering flamboyant eCommerce development services. The immaculate solution our apt development team offers will help enhance the experience of your visitors and easily turn them into your customers. Contact us now to discuss things further and kickstart your project with us.