Japan has the 4th largest ecommerce market in the world1 behind China, the U.S., and…
Are you planning on selling your consumer product online in Japan? Do you know exactly what is necessary for a successful B2C ecommerce strategy in the Japanese market? Although there are some hurdles that overseas retailers need to overcome in order to trade in Japan, the obstacles are greatly diminished when selling online or on Japanese ecommerce marketplaces. Here we will introduce the easiest and fastest ways for you to start selling in Japan.
Top 3 easiest ways to sell your product in Japan
D2C via your ecommerce website
This is probably the easiest way to start selling in Japan without having to set anything up in Japan physically. If you are already selling online via your website, you can easily create a localised version in Japanese. We do, however, recommend that you properly localise your entire website into native Japanese as English literacy is below 10% in Japan. Without a Japanese website, it will be difficult to win the trust of Japanese online shoppers and, as a result, your conversions will be low. In addition, as a newcomer to the Japanese marketplace, you will need to run brand awareness campaigns and promotions across all digital channels, utilising search engine marketing and social media. Selling direct to customers on your own website will require some investment into online advertising, but you won’t have to open an office in Japan or hire anyone locally.
B2C via ecommerce marketplaces
If you’re an unknown brand in Japan, then utilising one of Japan’s popular marketplaces would be a great way to get your foot in the door. The top marketplaces (or “EC Malls”) include Amazon Japan, Rakuten and Yahoo! Shopping, and what is great about these platforms is that millions of Japanese online shoppers are already using them. Japan’s most popular marketplace, Rakuten Ichiba offers support to overseas sellers in English. You can also leverage your visibility with marketplace PPC advertising. Furthermore, should you choose to sell on Amazon Japan, they offer Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) in Japan, which means logistics is taken care of by Amazon. Moreover, if you use their Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) service, they can fulfil orders that come from other channels – like Rakuten.
For further information on Japanese ecommerce platforms, visit this article on Japan’s top ecommerce marketplaces.
Distributor partnerships and third-party agencies
Traditionally, it has only been possible to successfully enter the Japanese market via multiple layers of intermediaries. Although the landscape has changed dramatically with ecommerce as mentioned above, distributor channels can prove successful depending on your desired distribution channels. Local distributors and agencies will have market expertise and existing relationships you need to start selling in Japan. Organisations such as the Department for International Trade and Export to Japan can help you with such partnerships. As for selling on Japan-exclusive marketplaces such as PayPay Mall, we at DFMA have a new solution for overseas sellers interested in selling on the platform. Contact us to learn more.
Are you ready to start selling your products in Japan or do you require further guidance? Here is a checklist for successful Japanese market entry plus how to conduct market research in Japan. Do keep in mind that regardless of your distribution channel, you will need to promote your products and build brand awareness using digital marketing. Our experienced Japanese bilingual digital marketers are ready to support you on your Japanese market entry journey. Do get in touch if you need assistance with online advertising or social media marketing in Japan.