Since the Internet is saturated in each market, cross border delivery must be the upcoming trend; that enables you to deliver your products without geo gaps. Even if it’s technologically feasible, we still have local differences over borders. You need to integrate seamlessly into local infrastructure to properly promote your strategy.
Here are 4 tips would fill the fundamental gaps between western style:
1. Advertise to the Japanese Market in local style
For western markets, affiliate advertising has been well developed, which means that western companies tend to prefer this option for market research. One notable point that you need to understand is that when it comes to quoting for a network or affiliate, we have our own original philosophy. Companies integrate into the Japanese advertising system, and Japanese regulation in terms of its use is strict. Foreign styles of advertisement are typically prohibited from using our advertising channels that privilege Japanese businesses.
Even when the advertisement is appropriate, it can be difficult to get used to how to reach Japanese consumers. When you want to say something on the banners, do it indirectly or concisely, and includes details of products, discount, other sales information. Japanese users are used to having a lot of information clustered in order to make their decision.
We tend to like it better to see a lot of information, to explore for the shopping, or save a site as a bookmark. Push sales have good effects through email or mobile bots to stimulate users to visit your website or shopping cart again.
2. Be Prepared for the High Competition
Recently, Chinese e-commerce giants have already started to jump into the Japanese market, coincidently with the new Japanese Customer-to-Customer (C2C) mobile platform, Mercari, which has broken previous records recently. C2C is an upcoming trend among us, to browse smaller, cheaper lower products, or do “window” shopping. As you could imagine, housewives find products in their closets that they don’t use, and sell them quickly via Mercari.
Auction businesses are experiencing disruption from their stable positions, according to the increasing shift towards mobile. One of the biggest online giants, Rakuten, has suspended their own auction platform.
3. Use Consecutive processes for Japanese customers
In terms of the business, B2B2C, or your own e-commerce website should integrate certain things into your customer UI in order to best reach local users. Here are significant UI points:
Optimization for smartphone function
Mobile is visually different from PC or tablets, but people consume too much time on their mobile phones. You can use the larger images and Japanese expressions on PC, but you’ll need to optimize so it’s functional on mobile.
Smooth Cart & Checkout Processes
Too often, a product is added to the cart but is never bought, or a shopper drops off during the checkout process. To prevent it, it’s recommended to experience purchasing something from a Japanese e-commerce site to examine the ordering process for local users.
Clearly illustrate your products
People will love to see all of the product or price details before of their decision. If you would like to sell the food, or any manufactured package, carefully display each detail, ingredients, where it’s manufactured, volume and size descriptions, and nutrients. A light and minimalist western style page won’t work with Japanese customers, as they need all of the information in front of them to trust the product enough to purchase.
4. Offer Various Payment Options
Fintech is the buzzword, as well as in Japan, some big banks or insurance, government also actively adopted this movement for payment or other financial technology. In 2015 research for men, and women between 20 to 60 by JCB, 84% of people holds their own credit card, but it decreasing since 2011, people would love to use for online shopping, cell phone payment, convenience store, monthly approximately 5.3 thousand dollar usage per one, 30% has utilized for their life, electric money is also held 80%, and 66% using that. Debit card is less 13%, and actively buying about 6%..
That’s predictable shift toward cashless society in the future, but at present, Japanese users prefer to pay with cash on the spot. If you’ve ever visited Japan for vacation or business, it could probably make you confused to have your credit card rejected for payment. We tend to cherish the security first, rather than any further convenience, that appears on the online checkout as well.
To sum up, basic adaptation of your e-commerce to Japan is necessary in advertising your products, which need to show all of the most important information clearly. Products that are made in Japan are believed to be highly trustworthy, and are a great incentive for visitors of your site. That being said, international luxury brands (like Prada, Chanel, Luis Vuitton, l’Occitane, Dior, Estée Lauder, etc) are coming to establish brick-and-mortar stores in Japan, and with them, their own e-commerce sites.
In my previous article, I wrote about Japanese national events and holidays, and how to boost the economic stimulation, which is a good opportunity to increase your brand awareness with Japanese customers. This year, from Halloween to Christmas, people are not purchasing necessarily gifts for others, but more for themselves, like for cosplay or events. These trends will continue into next year, and I recommend preparing for that trend.