How to Sell On Amazon Japan Successfully – 3 Golden Rules

Posted By Jim Kersey

One of the most important things when selling on Amazon in Japan is generating enough early-stage sales velocity—impacting how you rank in product search results among other things.

We explore this concept as part of our 3 golden rules for Amazon ecommerce, drawing from our Tokyo office’s experience helping US and European brands gain traction on this platform.

Table of Contents

  1. Prioritize sales velocity
  2. Get legitimate reviews
  3. Leverage Amazon’s advertising options

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1. Prioritize Sales Velocity

Bullet train in Japan representing sales velocity - how to sell on Amazon Japan

Amazon defines sales velocity as the number of transactions made (and revenue generated) during any given month by an individual seller. The more sales you make, the higher the Amazon algorithm will rank you, meaning you’ll appear higher in search results for terms that relate to your brand and products.

The risk of dropping down to in position can be devastating for new businesses entering the Japanese market. A few ways we’ve found to help ensure this doesn’t happen to you are:

  • Invest resources into building a good amount of initial momentum rather than spreading than simply dipping your toes in during the first few months of launching your product on Amazon Japan.
  • Stick to just one ecommerce platform in Japan. If you spread yourself too thinly across multiple channels such as Rakuten and Yahoo! Shopping simultaneously, this can reduce your potential significantly.
  • Prioritize your Amazon SEO process and adjust product descriptions and titles for certain keywords. The same overall principles apply as they do to Google in that you will be rewarded if your page is clicked by more users. If your products are optimized for the wrong keywords, the chance of this happening is much lower.

HB Pro Tip: Figuring out how to sell on Amazon Japan and any other platform such as Rakuten requires sellers to have a good understanding of what contributes to sales velocity. This means you need to have a good understanding of customer motivations and competitor activity before you actually launch your products. A slow or unsteady start can damage your chances of success in Japan, even if your brand and product has the potential to do really well here.

2. Get Legitimate Reviews

How to sell on Amazon Japan with customer reviews

The Amazon platform in Japan is increasingly militant when it comes to cracking down on illegitimate reviews, such as reviews generated by businesses paying a third-party to source fake reviews in order to improve sales.

Combine this with the fact that peer reviews, social proof and user ratings are incredibly important to Japanese shoppers, you start to see just how important it is to generate genuine and enticing reviews that will help to win over new shoppers that might be initially sceptical about shipping from a foreign brand (Japanese shoppers often avoid uncertainty and shop from domestic brands they know).

A few ways you can improve your chances of getting product reviews that will support your efforts on Amazon Japan are:

  • Showcase product images, videos and descriptions that are accurate. Presenting yourself as something you are not will only backfire in Japan, not only resulting in a lack of reviews when your customers find out that your product’s quality or functionality differs to what they expected, but also negative feelings towards your brand which they may share with others.
  • Use the Amazon Vine program which invites the most trusted top 500 reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchasing decisions. Up to 30 of your products can be submitted by your brand, which are sent for free to these customers in exchange for an honest review.
  • Join the Amazon Early Reviewer Program where customers who have purchased your product are invited to write a review of their experience in exchange for a small reward.

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3. Leverage Amazon’s Advertising Options

Amazon Japan homepage - how to sell on Amazon Japan

The cost of operating on Amazon Japan is higher than it is on Rakuten, Japan’s second largest ecommerce marketplace. However, it offers a much greater number of advertising opportunities for sellers. We believe leveraging these tools intelligently to gain initial momentum is a no brainer for brands entering the ecommerce market here.

Improving your sales velocity through your SEO efforts is important, but we’ve found that the Amazon Algorithm (A9) can sometimes be unpredictable at ranking products and brands organically in search results — taking a considerable amount of time for sellers to be rewarded.

Using Amazon’s various ads and deal initiatives is an easy and quick way to reach your audience and gain that all-important sales velocity during your first few months. Some of our most recommended advertising features are:

  • Sponsored Product Ads (PPC) – Amazon lets you target branded, non-branded and competitor-related keywords; whole product categories or specific product ASINs when delivering your ads to new audiences. You will only pay for the clicks your ads receive and you can easily measure your performance and adjust your approach within your Amazon seller account. As ads appear on related product detail pages meaning you’re essentially advertising your product on your competitors’ pages.
  • Amazon Sponsored Brands – These are similar to sponsored product ads, but instead will feature your brand logo, a custom headline, and up to three of your products in search results.
  • Amazon Points – Japanese shoppers are heavily influenced by platforms, brands and shops that offer points and rewards for their purchases. While Rakuten has an incredibly powerful points and rewards system that extends beyond the digital platform through its banking and finance services, Amazon also offers a decent points system. By offering Amazon Points on listed offers, you can tap into this network of Japanese shoppers who are notoriously invested in rewards and loyalty programs.
  • Lightning Deals – Amazon’s lightning deals function like flash sales that feature products for several hours on our popular Amazon Deals page. This is a great way to move higher volumes of stock or drive intuitive sales velocity when you first start selling in Japan.

Want to Learn More About How to Sell On Amazon Japan?

If you want to learn more about how to sell on Amazon Japan (or other ecommerce platforms here), we’ve got plenty of content on the topic. However, if you have a specific question about the market and how your brand can build an ecommerce strategy that actually works, get in touch with us.

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