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Introducing a low-risk, streamlined approach to launching and strengthening your brand in Japan

We frequently get contacted by brands that are interested in launching in Japan. Particularly newer brands interested in reaching the world’s third biggest economy are often concerned about the perceived hurdles and complications. Launching in Japan however is not as difficult as many brands think and there are a number of services that can massively reduce the difficulty and risk.

SOPHOLA is introducing a new Japan market entry support solution and I will be detailing different aspects of this solution over the coming weeks. Whether you are interested in selling on Amazon Japan, Rakuten or your own Japanese shopify store, our solution simplifies set-up, streamlines inventory & order management and order fulfillment, handles customer service and manages your digital advertising across all channels. Most importantly, you won’t have to sign away any control with our solution. Control your own branding. You own all your storefronts and have complete transparency, SOPHOLA acts as your local full-service agency implementing your decisions.

Taking back control and reducing Amazon dependency

While this solution works for any brand, it is particularly streamlined for brands that:

• Sell on any Amazon marketplace with FBA
• Sell on their own Shopify store

A common concern we hear from brands is that they are worried about being overly dependent on Amazon, especially as competition and costs keep increasing. They want to strengthen their brand and see their own ecommerce site as key to this strategy. Japanese customers however are averse to shopping from overseas ecommerce sites and gravitate towards the two dominant marketplaces: Amazon and Rakuten.

With our solution you can, in addition to Amazon and Rakuten, be up and running with your own localised Shopify store which engenders trust from Japanese consumers in a matter of weeks. Avoid expensive marketplace commissions, accept the most common Japanese payment methods and fulfil orders within 24 hours using Amazon FBA or Rakuten Super Logistics.

For brands already selling on Amazon with FBA this has a number of benefits. Synced inventory & orders across all storefronts:

• Simplifies inventory management
• Increases sell through of FBA inventory avoiding long-term storage fees
• Leverages competitive FBA fulfilment fees
• Lowers risk as there is a lower initial investment to get started
• Removes learning curve, keep your current processes

How it works

If you are already selling on Amazon Japan, the process is incredibly simple. We will help you set up your localised Shopify store on a Japanese domain with a Japanese payment gateway. After that we will connect your Shopify store to Amazon FBA with our inventory automation solution and you are ready to begin receiving orders and strengthening your brand in Japan.

If you are selling on another Amazon marketplace, we will help you get started with Amazon Japan and then follow the steps above.

If you are not currently selling on Amazon and are not interested in using Amazon FBA then we can introduce Rakuten and look at using Rakuten Super Logistics as an alternative.

The next step – strengthening your brand

Once your Shopify store is up and running we can get started on your digital marketing. By outsourcing fulfillment to a scalable solution like Amazon FBA, you can focus on increasing sales without worrying about the increased resources needed for fulfilment. As your sales via Shopify are not subject to the same commissions as on Amazon, you can commit more marketing budget to each conversion and still get a better ROI. You also get control of your own customer lists and reduce your dependency on marketplaces.

In the next blog post, I will detail how we use the ad automation platform AdScale, our exclusive partner in Japan, to optimise your bidding and budgeting across all your marketing channels. Set a single marketing budget and reach customers on Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Instagram.

Sebastian Benedikz
Global Sales Executive