Mastering Japan Business, Book, Philippe Huysveld
Tag Archives: B2C sales in Japan
GBMC is honoured and delighted to present you the following Japan business seminar:
“ How to Export to and Market your Products in Japan”
More details (on Linked In) from:
or from our website:
“Japanese retail giant Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. said Friday its Ito-Yokado Co. supermarket chain will shut down 40 unprofitable stores, or about 20 percent of its stores, over the next few years.
It is expected to close several stores within its current business year ending in February 2016.
The plan comes after the operating profit for the retail group’s supermarket division in the year to last February plunged 34.8 percent from a year earlier amid a consumer tendency to prefer specialty stores such as the Uniqlo casual clothing chain over general supermarkets.” (The Japan Times)
Today’s Japanese consumers seem to prefer “specialty stores” over general supermarkets. This is one of the changes to the traditional Japanese Consumer Mindset. Which one do you prefer and why?
Read more from:
- Retail in Japan : “specialty stores” vs general supermarkets?
- one of our previous posts: The Japanese Consumer Mindset
“A growing number of convenience stores are offering a service that allows online shoppers to pick up their purchases at the stores at their convenience.
The service allows customers to conveniently shop online whenever they like without having to wonder when they will be at home to take delivery of the item, which appeals to those who are frequently away from home, as well as those who prefer to not be bothered with accepting deliveries in person.
By offering the service, major convenience store chains have successfully attracted people who tend to frequently be away from home, such as those who live alone or married couples who both work, according to the three biggest convenience store chains in Japan: Seven-Eleven Japan Co., FamilyMart Co. and Lawson Inc. They add that the service appeals to women who are uncomfortable speaking with deliverymen at their front door …..
The benefits of in-store pickup services are not limited to the customers who use them — both convenience stores and couriers also benefit. For instance, by expanding their in-store pickup services, convenience stores can expect to see an increase in their customer base.
And couriers and transporters can increase distribution efficiency if they curtail their redeliveries by focusing on delivering to convenience store locations.
Redelivery due to absent recipients was necessary in 20 percent of about 4.1 million items surveyed in 2014 by Yamato Transport Co., Sagawa Express, and Japan Post Network Co.” (The Yomiuri Shimbun)
Read more from:
Interesting feedback about organic food in Japan from EUROBIZ Japan.
There will definitely be business opportunities in the long-term!
Read more from: http://eurobiz.jp/2015/05/slow-growth/
First of all, you must understand the traditional “Japanese Consumer Mindset”!
Anyone shopping or retailing in Japan will quickly spot Japanese specificities (compared to Western standards) impacting the Japanese consumer behaviour, lifestyle, purchasing habits, preferences of merchandise, design taste, response to marketing campaigns and service expectations.
Some of these differences originate in the Japanese culture and society:
- Japan is a country with strong cultural context: the Japanese retain a wealth of information on people and maintain, through an extensive network of friends, colleagues, customers, suppliers, close personal relationships. “Relational maintenance” includes the purchase of gifts.
- The ideal communication is indirect (subtle hint), non-verbal (if not, suspicion) and emotional (often used in commercials). A present might sometimes tell more than words.
- Key concepts in traditional Japanese culture might influence the extent of the “Relational maintenance”: 1) collectivism & group spirit; 2) a strong hierarchy, often based on seniority, synonymous with experience and wisdom; 3) a strong division of gender roles: although the situation changes; 4) a monochronic culture, where individuals generally do one thing at a time.
- Population in Japan is aging much faster than in most other developed countries, due to one of the longest life expectancy and one of the lowest birth rate. Consequences for retailers are a clear switch to the “silver market”.
- The “bubble crisis” of the nineties and the following “lost decade” have impacted the way younger generations consume. Another consequence of the crisis is a wider gap between regular workers and non-regular workers (bi-polarized society), source of differences in spending power.
- The Life cycle is another important factor to consider:
- Two positive phases in consuming are the [22, 26/29 years old] segment (from graduation till wedding) and the [50, 60 years old] segment (kids have graduated , 2 incomes are available)
- Two negative phases in consuming are the [29, 50 years old] segment (single income and raising kids) and the retirement segment.
All those specificities draw a specific Japanese mindset and impose specific service and marketing implications for any company willing to retail in Japan.
Read more from us on Linked In from:
In 2012, the EU-Japan Centre carried out a Survey of EU SMEs on their Internationalisation towards Japan (Source: In Search for Growth: Towards a New Role for SMEs in EU-Japan Relations, EU-JAPAN CENTRE FOR INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION 2013). The obstacles most often mentioned by respondents (126 European SMEs) were:
- Language barriers (55%),
- Difficulty to grasp business practices,
- Difficulty in understanding the local laws or regulations,
- Conforming to Japanese standards.
So, you have a “Homework” to do when approaching one of the most dynamic and challenging market in the world. Of course, you should and you could start reading a couple of books/papers about Japan (you will find some resources on the “Publications” Page of our website http://www.gbmc.biz), as well as taking part in various cross-cultural training seminars (which we also offer at GBMC) or executive training programs.
However, there is a quicker way to kick off your “Japan Project”. If you are a business executive of a company:
- approaching the Japanese Market,
- reviewing its options in terms of Japan Entry Strategy,
- already exporting to Japan (Indirect Sales) or,
- already established and doing business in Japan (Direct Sales).
MY ADVICE TO YOU WOULD BE THESE 3 WORDS: ” BUY MY BOOK ”
(after a quote from “Wall Street”, Oliver Stone’s movie)
It will save you a lot of time, research and money, as the base of what you need to know is summarised in one single place:
“The Ultimate Survival Guide for Business in Japan”
In this book, I show::
- That the Japanese Market is a great market to approach and that, provided the right methodology and marketing mix, there are great opportunities to seize in the long-term for foreign (EU) companies.
- That it is necessary to get familiar with cross-cultural differences and to understand better your Japanese clients, their country, their culture and their business system.
- How to market your products or services in Japan (B2C and B2B Marketing Guidelines).
- Which Entry Strategies are available to foreign companies to choose from and guidelines for selection.
So feel free to check the book details.
The eBook is available right now for sale on various e-commerce sites (KOBO/AMAZON/LULU/YOUSCRIBE/FNAC/RAKUTEN/IBOOK).
The useful links are provided on our website at the “eBooks” page:
WISHING YOU A PRODUCTIVE READING !!
Following GBMC’s successful WEBINAR performance on the same subject, webinar that took place on April 15th (Part 1) and April 23rd (Part 2) ( webinar recording and Powerpoint Presentation are available from:
the EU-JAPAN CENTRE FOR INDUSTRIAL COOPERATION has released our 60-pages Report on GET TO KNOW YOUR CLIENT AND ADAPT,
which can be downloaded (after registration) from the following link:
If interested or if you have further questions or comments, please contact us at GBMC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Article published by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation:
1) in EU-JAPAN NEWS, in the March 2014 edition of the Centre’s Newsletter.
Article to be found page 13 of the Newsletter:
2) permanently online, on the “EU Business in Japan” website: