The Key to Japanese eCommerce Success

For many brands ready to enter the global market eCommerce is one of the most logical places to start. However, despite the amazing potential cross-border eCommerce represents for brands of all sizes, there is one often-overlooked task which can impact your ability to succeed in a foreign market more than anything: localization.

While any market will have its shares of idiosyncrasies, Japan continues to prove a difficult market for non-Japanese companies to enter. Most brands understand that in order to reach Japanese consumers you have to speak their language. What many companies mistakenly interpret that to mean, however, is that straight-up translation of their existing eCommerce site into the Japanese language will be sufficient to do business in Japan.

Translation is only one element which needs to be undertaken when entering the Japanese market and reaching Japanese consumers. True eCommerce localization encompasses so much more than that.

The Importance of Localization

Your messaging is an important part of your brand’s identity and can serve as a major differentiating factor. When expanding into a new market with a different culture and customers who speak a totally different language extra care must be taken to ensure your messaging will resonate while still remaining true to your brand and its values.

In marketing and branding a straight one-to-one, literal translation of your marketing communications into Japanese will never be as effective as a localized version. This is because localized messaging for business requires a different skillset than simple translation. In other words, localized marketing communications not only takes into account nuance and word choice, as any good copywriting should, but also builds on a deep understanding of a country’s culture and how your business and core values are best expressed within that market.

This is where Wasabi’s 17 years of experience helping international clients enter the Japanese market is indispensable. We analyze your marketing communication starting with your website or eCommerce store and localize in a way that is catered for Japanese audiences, all while ensuring the end deliverable is aligned with your brand’s global messaging strategy and business objectives.

Our approach to eCommerce Localization

When it comes to eCommerce localization we consider a number of key elements:

  • Conventions

  • Culture

  • UI/UX

  • Customer experience (CX)

  • Customer expectations

To find out more about how we can help you succeed with your eCommerce efforts in Japan, contact us to schedule a call or in-person meeting at our Tokyo office: