Amazon Japan is one of the biggest Amazon marketplaces worldwide attracting sellers from all over the world.
No wonder, Japanese customers love eCommerce! 71 % out of 128 million Japanese people shop online (which is roughly 91 million Japanese eCommerce customers)! So it is nearly impossible to ignore this opportunity.
If you are already selling on one of Amazon’s other marketplaces and looking for a new way to grow your business and your reach, expanding to Japan is ideal. Especially when you want to tackle the first Asian marketplace, Japan is the perfect marketplace for you.
But what is important to consider before getting started? Learn everything you need to know in this ultimate guide on Amazon FBA Japan.
Do I Need to Speak Japanese?
The most important question first: no, you don’t necessarily need to speak Japanese to be able to sell on Amazon Japan! While it can be helpful, it’s definitely not mandatory.
Let’s have a closer look on this topic:
- Seller Central – On amazon.jp there is an option to toggle between an English and a Japanese dashboard. It looks almost identical to the U.S. and EU versions of Seller Central.
- Seller Support – You can contact the Seller Support both in English or Japanese – and both works fine. On more complicated matters you might get more accurate responses to Japanese cases though. If needed, just hire a local virtual assistant who can support you.
- Product Listings – Be aware that your product listings need to be translated to Japanese. But don’t worry about that – You can use a listing translation service. We have put together a Guide on how to find the best Amazon listing translation Service, we highly recommend you go check it out!
- Customer service – Customer service needs to be offered in Japanese as well. When choosing Amazon FBA, Amazon will take care of most of it for you. But it makes sense to hire an Account Manager who will take care of the customer service for you.
What are the Benefits of Selling on Amazon Japan & Why should you sell there too?
Amazon Japan is starting to become a popular choice for eCommerce entrepreneurs looking to scale up their business.
Amazon Japan is a big and steadily growing marketplace with a huge audience. So by expanding to Japan you have the opportunity to increase your sales. Japanese customers are used to fast and convenient delivery and with using Amazon FBA you can meet those expectations.
Japan is the world’s third-largest economy. While 71% of the Japanese population make purchases online Amazon FBA is a agreat opportunity.
If you are new to the Asian market, Amazon Japan is definitely the right starting point. Despite the language barrier the consumer culture isn’t too different from other countries like the U.S. or the EU, so you can mostly apply the exact same strategies there. And that is great!
By selling on other marketplaces you can diversify your revenue stream, which will make your Amazon business a lot stronger overall. Not depending on just one marketplace can take some pressure off of your shoulders.
Besides, Japanese customers are willing to pay more for high quality products. So you have a high chance of selling with good margins – if you can offer the right products. With high quality products, you will find the right target audience here!
Also compared to other markets like Amazon U.S., on Amazon Japan there is a lot less competition and also less hijacking of private label listings. That means you have more time to focus on the important things.
How to Sell on Amazon Japan – How to Get Started?
I think it’s pretty clear that selling on Amazon Japan can be a great opportunity. Getting started might be a bit challenging due to the bureaucracy, local laws, and additional guidelines.
That being said, you can’t just get started right away. You will have to do some research beforehand or rely on the expertise of an Amazon consultant.
But don’t worry, we got your back! Here are some aspects that you need to consider:
Analysis of your current situation and goals
Every expansion requires an individual solution. Therefore you need to analyze your current situation and goals before you get started.
So where are you right now and where do you want to be? Make sure you can give the answers to this question before reading on.
Can I already afford to expand?
Another very important question to ask yourself at the very beginning is: can I even afford to expand my business?
Selling internationally comes with lots of challenges and might even require the help of others to succeed. So to be able to really benefit from the expansion, your business will have to be in the right state. If that’s not the case, you will only hurt your business.
If you’re only starting out as an Amazon seller, we don’t recommend to expand right away. Take your time getting to know the whole business model with all its ups and downs and think about this topic another time. Also it might be a better idea to start out with English-speaking regions, before tackling other foreign markets.
But if you are already selling successfully on other marketplaces, it’s been going well for quite some time now and your looking for a new adventure, go for it!
Legal and Tax Obligations – Know the Rules and Act Accordingly to Avoid Problems
Make sure the product you are trying to sell complies with Japan’s safety and compliance regulations.
Be aware that some products might be restricted and may not be listed on Amazon.jp at all, others might require prior approval from Amazon. You can find an Overview of allowed Categories on Amazon.
As a seller, it’s also your responsibility to take care of the tax requirements. Japan’s Tariff and Duty Rates System states that any goods imported into Japan are subject to the Import Consumption Tax. Some goods might also be subject to custom duties. Depending on your location you might need to handle the Japanese consumption tax as well.
We highly recommend you seek professional help to avoid problems on this matter.
Amazon FBA Japan and Other Fulfillment Requirements for Your Success
To be able to see your products on Amazon Japan, you will need to get your products to Japan. Shipping your products is quite different to what you might be used to from other countries and it requires some preparation. The most important things you need to know about fulfillment in Japan are the following:
- Importer of record (IOR) – You need an IOR. An IOR is a person who is responsible for filing legally required documents and paying import duties and taxes. Also, the Japanese government can go to the IOR for audits. Be aware that Amazon won’t take care of this for you.
- Delivery duty paid (DDP) – Also, you are required to use delivery duty paid. That’s a delivery agreement where the seller assumes all responsibility of transporting the goods until they reach an agreed-upon destination, making sure that he takes care of all the costs.
As you can see, you will need help to manage the fulfillment from a local agency that needs to be trustworthy and reliable.
Once you are through with that, you have to decide how your products are brought to your end customers.
On Amazon Japan, you can choose between two different fulfillment solutions (just like on most other marketplaces)
- Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) – When choosing this option, you are responsible for the customer experience from shipping to returns.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – With Amazon FBA, you send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers and Amazon will take care of the rest. Find out more about Amazon Japan’s FBA fees here.
As a foreign seller we highly recommend choosing FBA, as Amazon will handle customer service in the language of the store for you so you can focus on other important tasks – which you have many more of.
Product Research – Japanese Customers are Different than What You are Used to
Even though Amazon generally works the same way in Japan as it does in the U.S. for example, you have to keep in mind that Japanese customers are different than what you are used to. Therefore, to be successful product research is crucial before diving in the Japanese market.
Why? Because products that are already selling quite well on other markets might have low to no chance in Japan.
Japanese Amazon customers are looking for other things than U.S. customer for example. They are worried about trust more than about brand. Also, they care a lot for good quality products.
Keep that in mind when deciding weither a product is good for the Japanese market.
You might only be able to sell a different set of products there than what you are selling on another marketplace.
Simply assuming what works on another market works in Japan too is very risky and might lead to failure. Definitely do a new product research before you get started.
After you’ve done your product research and have found a product you want to sell in Japan, we highly recommend to get a Japanese expert to verify that for you. This can lower the risk of failing in the end.
How to Register Your Account to Sell in Japan
When selling in Europe, Seller Central allows you to manage all EU marketplaces you want to sell on from one single dashboard.
If you already have a Professional Seller account, you can simply link your existing marketplace account to your Japan account. You will then be able to see your global sales on one page and even sync your listings making it more convenient to sell on multiple marketplaces.
When registering for your Japanese account, you can choose between two selling plans
- Amazon Basic plan – When choosing the Amazon Basic Plan, you will only have to pay a fee when selling something. It’s only available for small sellers, who sell less than 35 products per month.
- Amazon Professional plan – Everybody else needs the Amazon Professional plan, where you pay a fixed monthly fee.
All you need to provide to register an account on Amazon Japan is
- a Japanese translations for your product listings
- your business details (name, address, contact information)
- an email address
- your bank account information
After registration, you will have to go through the Seller Identity Verification process. So before you can start selling on Amazon Japan, Amazon will ask you to provide certain documents (e.g. your passport and bank account statements) to make sure you are trustworthy to sell on Amazon. Keep in mind that this process might take some time.
Conclusion: How an Expansion Consultant Can Help You Grow
Selling on Amazon Japan can be an amazing boost for Amazon business. By reaching a huge new audience you have the opportunity to increase your revenue significantly.
On the other hand selling internationally isn’t always easy and with Global Expansion you will be faced with lots of new challenges. This is why we recommend to always consult an expansion expert and seek individual advice beforehand. This way, you are best prepared for everything and can make the best out of every opportunity.
Sermondo’s Expansion Consultants know exactly what you need to successfully enter the European marketplaces. Simply use the free matching service and Sermondo will find the right consultant for you based on your individual needs. Or you can also find the best Amazon Business Global Expansion & International Marketplace Experts here.
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