Sleeping Baby Japan – Building a Japanese E-commerce Strategy

Client Details

Industry Premium baby clothing.
Product High-quality sleepsuits and swaddles for newborns and babies up to 3-4 years old.
Target market Japanese parents looking for baby sleepsuits and swaddle transition solutions.
Objective Driving e-commerce sales on Amazon and Rakuten in Japan.

What We Achieved

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce success metrics

Project Details

Sleeping Baby is a premium American brand behind the innovative sleepsuit and swaddle for newborns up to 3-4 years old which was featured on Shark Tank. Their premium product is designed to help babies transition out of traditional swaddles, prevent startling, reduce crying at night, and help millions of babies and parents worldwide sleep better each night.

Humble Bunny helped Sleeping Baby grow two main sales channels in the Japanese e-commerce market which were Amazon and Rakuten. We optimized all the listings with custom photography, featured images, design elements, and SEO-optimized content. Additionally, we launched and fine-tuned advertisements and promotions on both platforms.

Through our monthly reports specific to each sales channel, we analyzed insights, identified any anomalies, and drew valuable learnings to continually improve product listings and ads.

Furthermore, Humble Bunny implemented various supporting strategies such as digital press releases, social media ads, and a dedicated website for the Japanese market. These efforts significantly boosted Sleeping Baby’s brand awareness in Japan and translated into skyrocketing sales on Amazon and Rakuten.

Read Sleeping Baby Brand Development Case Study

The Challenges Sleeping Baby Faced When Selling on Japanese E-commerce Sites

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce Amazon product page
Through our audit, we quickly identified some challenges that Sleeping Baby was having with selling online in Japan:

  • Lack of a strong brand identity: At the time, Sleeping Baby did not own strong brand assets including product logos, icons, and product images that were localized for the Japanese market. This had a negative impact on brand recognition and trust as Japanese consumers have a strong preference for established brands with appealing aesthetics.
  • Suboptimal product listings: On Amazon Japan and other e-commerce sites, even if you have a good brand and products, you will still not get much sales unless your product listings are optimized for search results and keywords. That was the case for Sleeping Baby before Humble Bunny took over the Amazon account.
  • Low product visibility: The competition on Amazon made it difficult for foreign brands to stand out organically. This is where sponsored ads come in handy. At the time, Sleeping Baby’s on-site advertising strategy was not well-structured and set up for maximizing the return on ad spend.
  • Untapped potential on Rakuten: As Japan’s second-largest e-commerce platform, Rakuten represents a significant opportunity for online sellers. Its comprehensive and integrated ecosystem of products and services as well as a variety of customer rewards make it an appealing option for Japanese consumers. It would have been a missed opportunity for Sleeping Baby not to sell on Rakuten Japan.

Based on this analysis, we put together an E-commerce strategy that would help Sleeping Baby leverage their position in the Japanese e-commerce market and drive online sales growth:

On Amazon

On Rakuten

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Maximizing Sales on Amazon Japan

Optimizing Product Listings

Product images play a crucial role in selling on e-commerce platforms in Japan as attention to detail and aesthetics are highly valued by local consumers. The quality and presentation of product images can significantly impact purchasing decisions and translate directly to higher sales volumes.

For Sleeping Baby, upon taking over the Amazon account, we revamped the entire approach to product imagery: starting from redefining the unique selling points of the products, capturing them during product photoshoots, editing the images, designing icons and custom graphic elements, and finally annotating the product photography with all the visual elements and unique selling points, backed with consumer psychology and value-driven copywriting.

Not only did the new images improve the conversion rate on Amazon, but they were also used by the client for other online sales channels.

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce custom product design

Our initiatives didn’t stop at product images. We also optimized all of the product names, bullet points, and descriptions as well as applied enhanced brand content (A+ Content) to all of the key product listings.

From what we’ve seen, A+ Content can boost conversion rates and product ratings (by providing more information before the purchase) as well as positively impact organic ranks (thus contributing to better traffic). It gives us a chance to tell a great story about what we offer and what our brand is all about.

For Sleeping Baby, the story presented how its swaddle design helps babies sleep better, which in turn also helps parents feel more relaxed. We explained all the benefits of our products by showing product features through annotated visuals and descriptive texts.

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce Amazon A+ content

*Section title (EN): When babies sleep well, moms can also rest well.

Ongoing Tests To Boost Sales Performance

On top of that, we constantly tested the impact of these factors on the conversion rate:

  • Product images
  • Product names, bullet points, and descriptions (copy)
  • Enhanced brand content (A+ Content)

To make the test as unbiased as possible, we have focused on 3 separate products and launched the optimizations in stages:

Period Product 1 Product 2 Product 3
Month 1 New product images applied. New product copy applied. Unchanged (control group).
Month 2 New product copy applied. Unchanged (control group). New product copy applied.

A+ content applied.

In the first month after we changed the copy for the specific product listing, the conversion rate increased from 3.62% to 5.28%. This summed up to a 45.9% increase in conversion rate in one month.

Likewise, we saw a 14.1% conversion rate increase in the second month after we applied new imagery for another product listing. We also saw a 51.7% increase in conversion rate in the following month after we applied the new copy to the same product listing.

We also took into consideration the additional factors that could have biased the test: stock levels, the popularity of particular patterns, as well as ongoing promotions and ads.

The results allowed us to discover which optimizations perform best in the Japanese market and gave us a direction for future conversion optimizations as well as valuable insights for the client for growing in the Japanese market.

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Promoting Products via Amazon Sponsored Ads

For advertising on Amazon, we aim to increase the number of conversions while optimizing the ad spend (thus boosting ROAS).

In our Sponsored Product ads (promoting specific individual products), we focused on the keywords that generate the most traffic and conversions to target specific products or categories. We also quickly identified keywords with significant ad spend but no sales to pause.

For Sponsored brand ads, we tested various headlines to identify the most effective one for improving CTR.

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce Amazon sponsored brand ad

*Headline (EN): Wearing these so that your babies will stop crying at night. Swaddle pajamas that are easy to change and wash.

We also tested 3 different targeting approaches for our Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands campaigns:

  • Manual targeting (based on keywords)
  • Product targeting (based on baby product categories)
  • Competition targeting (based on keywords related to our competitors)

Based on these tests, we were able to switch the focus and budget to better-performing targeting and eliminate the underperforming keywords. This allowed us to keep driving the ROAS (return on ad spend) and the CTR (click-through rate) up.

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Launching Amazon Deals, Coupons, Points, and Other Promotions

Using these promotions, we were able to attract the attention of bargain-hunting shoppers and encouraged them to explore and engage with Sleeping Baby products that were offered at a competitive price.

Deals and coupons offer instant savings, therefore effectively converting hesitant customers. Products featured in deals or highlighted with coupons also receive increased exposure through dedicated sections on the Amazon website and app, attracting new customers to the brand.

On the other hand, Amazon Points reward customer loyalty, incentivizing repeat purchases and fostering long-term relationships with shoppers.

These promotions, combined with special events on Amazon like Amazon Prime Days or Double Point Weekends, significantly boosted Sleeping Baby’s sales.

Capturing the Large Consumer Base on Rakuten Japan

Designing Rakuten Storefront and Product Pages

One of the biggest challenges when selling on Rakuten in Japan is developing the virtual storefront. While it offers the potential to impress potential customers with the power of branding truly, it takes considerable commitment to customize themes, layouts, and marketing content to be fully optimized for conversions.

We started by creating wireframes for the layout of our storefront and item pages, focusing on our core products: Sleeping Star, Okurumin, Musasabi, and three product categories: Fleece, Lightweight, and All Year Round.

Each item page featured custom-designed top images highlighting the key product values, followed by a series of banners showcasing essential product details. We continuously updated these images and banners to incorporate season-specific keywords.

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce Rakuten top image
For example, one of the Sleeping Star’s unique value propositions is its ultimate comfort and unique design which prevents kids from waking up crying during the night. So, in the top image on our Rakuten page for Sleeping Star (a swaddle transition sack), we wrote 「夜泣き対策」, meaning “countermeasures against crying at night”. Below the main image, we also displayed all color variations, which can help the customers make a decision easier.

Skyrocketing Rakuten Ads

We started with Rakuten CPA (cost per acquisition) – the setup was simplified as we only needed to select products for advertising without the need to develop a targeting strategy. Moreover, the fixed cost, set at 20% of the sales figure, ensured there was no risk of overspending.

Then we started leveraging the RPP (Rakuten promotion platform) ads. RPP ads are search-linked advertisements displayed in response to user-searched keywords within the Rakuten Market search window. Operating on a PPC (pay per click) model, RPP advertising incurs costs only when shoppers click the ads.

By strategically bidding on relevant keywords, our products could secure prime placement on the search results page, which led to conversion opportunities. Some of our initial RPP ad campaigns yielded remarkable results, achieving ROAS (return on ad spend) rates ranging from 300% to 500%!

Over time, we started gathering keyword performance data from Rakuten and effectively used them to refine our product listings to increase keyword matching and relevance with user’s search intent.

Read our 3 insider tips on selling on Rakuten

Leveraging Super Sale & Shopping Marathon Events

We took full advantage of Rakuten Super Sale, held quarterly in March, June, September, and December to drive sales. These events allowed us to highlight our products on special “discounted” pages with increased visitors. To make the most of this sales event, we usually started preparing a month beforehand including the following activities:

  • Ensuring stock sufficiency
  • Adjusting CPC (cost per click) bids to remain competitive
  • Optimizing product listings for advertising products
  • Designing banners for the Super Sales event

Humble Bunny case study for Sleeping Baby Japan e-commerce Rakuten Supersale coupon design
Additionally, we actively participated in Rakuten Shopping Marathon events, which took place periodically throughout the year. By offering competitive prices and attractive promotions during the events, we gained a competitive advantage over other merchants on the platform and attracted more customers. As a result, traffic and sales increased significantly during the event period.

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