Japan is the third largest economy in the world and its e-commerce market is the second largest in Asia Pacific and the fourth largest globally.
In 2017, 70% of Japan’s population made purchases online. In order to be competitive, foreign retailers must follow certain rules in order to beat domestic retailers, according to Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s report E-Commerce in Japan: An Island of Opportunity for Canadian Exporters.
First, the website must be in Japanese. Second, the purchasing experience must be easy and pleasant. Finally, the presentation and packaging of the product must be of high quality.
The Japanese also value loyalty, so loyalty programs must be greater than those in North America.
The Japanese also peruse online reviews and compare products exhaustively before making a purchase. While they might not write negative reviews, they will not return to a site if they feel the experience or product were unsatisfactory.
The Japanese are also more likely to buy domestic rather than foreign even though foreign products are seeing a rise in sales. This has to do with a lack of trust in foreign websites, language barriers, and long shipping times.
The Japanese expect quick deliveries. Amazon Japan offers same-day delivery to 80% of the country and one-day delivery to 92% of Japan. While e-commerce shoppers are aware that it will take longer to deliver a product they value knowing when the product will arrive.
In comparison to Japan, China’s e-market is valued at an estimated $9.4 trillion, according to Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s report, Succeeding in China’s $9.4 T E-commerce Market: Why Culture and Context Matters.
China had 700 million internet users in 2015 of which 92% used their mobile devices to surf the net. About 40% of online shoppers bought items from abroad and it’s expected that China will be the largest cross-border e-commerce market in the world by 2020. The most popular items the Chinese are buying are groceries and women’s clothing followed by electronics, computers, and sporting goods.
When shopping online, Chinese consumers are looking for quick deliveries and high-quality goods. They are also looking for rare or unique items that are too expensive or scarce in domestic brick and mortar shops.
Three online retailers own the online market either directly or through shares of ecommerce sites, online payment sites, or messaging sites: Alibaba, Tencent, and JD.com. The majority of all online shopping is done by a mobile device even when the shopper is in the physical store 70% of shoppers will still look-up the product online before buying.
Chinese consumers value news and communication from retailers and are more likely to support online and in person brands that they value. But as trends change, so does Chinese loyalty to a brand in the long run, according to the report.
Chinese consumers are also very active on social media and will use it to look up reviews and comments on brands and products as well as commenting on those brands.