Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Japanese Customer - Export to Japan

Export to Japan? About the Japanese Customer.

1. T2 - Topic and Target
2. Get to the point.

3. What’s in it for you?

1. T2 - Topic and Target

Having lived here for 13 years and often marveled at the uniqueness of Japan, I often wondered why there was a lack of so many brands that were common in Canada and the USA. Did they not have the budget or wherewithal to enter and compete in Japan?

For sure the bureaucracy, tariffs and restrictions play a part, however there are quite a few brands that have made it into Japan and have succeeded quite well.

apple, Nike, Starbucks

2. Get to the point.

For us the defining reason for brand success in Japan is to:

1) have a product that has high quality
2) understand Japanese expectations

The two are obviously mutually inclusive.

Having a product with high quality speaks to the Japanese. There is a strong emphasis within the Japanese educational system and within the working environment that when you present something, it must be as close to perfection as possible. This is absolutely expected and anything short of this is quickly dismissed. Even special events at Elementary schools are rehearsed and planned extensively. In business, with manufactured goods all you need to hear is the brand names Toyota or Honda. There is absolute dedication to preparing and delivering the best.

This attitude to success lead them to incredible growth in the post WWII era. Sure Japan has its weaknesses but quality manufacturing and thoughtfulness are not two of them.

3. What’s in it for you?

Our partner, Mr. Yoshiro Kawabe says when asked about what international producers should think about:

‘Japanese require a lot of information, Japanese people are wary of international people and they need a lot of information, why now? why do you want to come to Japan? Japanese are very sophisticated customer, it is kind of Japanese culture, Japanese like products with long history but if you have new product or service that is new and unique you could become very successful, that is if you have have to test marketing and maybe be ready to change your product’

So if you are considering entering the Japanese market, you need to have a quality product or service which fits the Japanese consumer expectations. You need to do your homework.

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