How to Sell Online in Japan:
The Best Ecommerce Platforms to Keep in Mind

How to set up an online store and start selling online in Japan? Read and discover the best Japanese ecommerce platforms!

The ecommerce market in Japan is one of the most mature and largest markets in the world, acquiring around 10% of the global online transactions. If you are wondering how can you grab a piece of that pie, you are in the right place.

If you haven’t been introduced to the Japanese market yet, one of the first things you need to do is determine the differences between selling in Japan and in your home country. We took the liberty of comparing the US and Japanese market and here are some of the key differences you should keep in mind:

  • The Average Order Amount in US is $79 while in Japan is $850
  • The Average Return Rate in US is between 17-25% while in Japan is 2-3%

In order for you to set up a store and start selling online in Japan, there are 4 things retailers need to take into consideration: ecommerce platforms, payments, shipping, and customer support.

When it comes to Japanese ecommerce platforms, there are 4 types of platforms you can use to sell your items online in Japan:

1. Ecommerce marketplaces:

In the US, the most popular ecommerce marketplaces are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. In Japan, the largest marketplace is Rakuten. Amazon Japan and Yahoo! Japan Shopping are also popular. These 3 platforms account for around 50% of the ecommerce sales which shows the popularity and power of Japanese marketplace.

2. Apparel-focused marketplaces:

There are specifically developed platforms which are designed for selling apparel products and jewelry. These ecommerce platforms come with specific features which are dedicated to selling such items. Zozotown is without a doubt one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in Japan for selling apparel online. Other platforms you may consider are Origami and iQon.

3. Hosted ecommerce solutions:

The hosted ecommerce solutions give more control and help users focus more on their store and their own business. Shopify and Volusion are without a doubt the best-hosted ecommerce solutions on the market. The sellers can set up their own online store quickly without paying any fees. In Japan, and BASE are two of the best-hosted ecommerce platforms.

4. Installable Options:

An ecommerce store that uses installable software allows control over operations and branding, however, these websites also need longer time to develop and extra resources to maintain. The US examples of this type of online store are osCommerce and Magento and as Japanese examples, we present to you Live Commerce, Commerce 21 and EC-CUBE.

Even though credit cards are the most common online payment method in Japan, the majority of online transactions use specific methods which aren’t available in the US or are similar to ecommerce developers. And since most payments are made without the use of a credit card, it is important that retailers include these payment options before start selling in Japan.

Another important thing to consider when selling up a store in Japan is whether you want to shop your items internationally. The pros of shipping internationally are the no setup is required, it is easier to manage inventory, the shipping costs are high. The cons, however, are high risks of damage, slow delivery, and can be expensive in the long term.

The Japanese customers have high expectations which is why you need to offer an impeccable customer support. You need to offer both email and phone support.

This is how you can open an ecommerce store and start selling online in Japan. Good luck!

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