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Shopify in Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting Your Online Store

Are you looking to start your own online store in Japan? Look no further than Shopify! Shopify is a powerful e-commerce platform that has revolutionized the way businesses sell online. With its user-friendly interface and powerful features, Shopify has become the go-to platform for entrepreneurs looking to start an online store. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about starting your own Shopify store in Japan. From setting up your store and choosing the right theme to marketing your products and optimizing for search engines, we’ve got you covered. With our expert tips and guidance, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful online business in Japan. So, let’s get started!

Why start an online store in Japan?

Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, with a population of over 125 million people. It is a highly developed country with a high per capita income and a strong purchasing power. The e-commerce market in Japan is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% from 2020 to 2025, with the market size reaching US$ 219.7 billion by 2025. These numbers clearly indicate that there is a huge potential for e-commerce businesses in Japan.

Moreover, Japan has a highly tech-savvy population with a high internet penetration rate. According to Statista, the number of internet users in Japan is expected to reach 96.6 million in 2021. Japanese consumers are also known for their willingness to shop online, with a preference for high-quality products and excellent customer service. Therefore, starting an online store in Japan can be a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to expand their business.

Market analysis: E-commerce trends in Japan

Before starting your online business in Japan, it is essential to conduct a market analysis to understand the e-commerce trends in the country. One of the most significant trends in the Japanese e-commerce market is the rise of mobile shopping. According to a report by Rakuten Insight, 87.6% of Japanese consumers use their smartphones to shop online. This trend is expected to continue, with mobile e-commerce projected to account for 64.8% of all e-commerce sales in Japan by 2023.

Another trend that has emerged in the Japanese e-commerce market is the growing demand for cross-border e-commerce. Japanese consumers are increasingly looking for unique and high-quality products from international brands. This trend has led to the growth of cross-border e-commerce platforms such as Amazon Global, Rakuten Global Market, and ZozoTown. As an online business owner, you can leverage this trend by offering unique and high-quality products from your country.

Researching your niche and competition

Before starting your online store in Japan, it is essential to research your niche and competition thoroughly. You need to identify a profitable niche that has a high demand in the Japanese market. A good way to do this is by conducting keyword research using tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. These tools can help you identify the most searched keywords in your niche and the level of competition for those keywords.

You also need to research your competition to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Analyze their product offerings, pricing, customer service, and marketing strategies. This information can help you identify gaps in the market that you can fill with your unique value proposition.

Setting up your Shopify store in Japan

Once you have identified your niche and competition, the next step is to set up your Shopify store in Japan. Shopify is a user-friendly e-commerce platform that allows you to create a professional-looking online store in a few simple steps. Here’s how you can set up your Shopify store in Japan:

1. Sign up for a Shopify account:

Go to the Shopify website and sign up for an account. You will need to provide your basic information, such as your name, email address, and password.

2. Choose your plan:

Shopify offers different pricing plans depending on your business needs. Choose a plan that suits your budget and requirements.

3. Set up your store:

Once you have signed up for a plan, you can start setting up your store. Choose a theme, customize your store design, and add your products.

4. Set up payment and shipping options:

Shopify offers various payment and shipping options that you can set up according to your business needs.

Payment and shipping options for Japanese customers

When it comes to payment and shipping options for Japanese customers, it is essential to offer a variety of options to cater to their preferences. For payment options, you can offer credit card payments, cash on delivery, and bank transfers. Cash on delivery is a popular payment option in Japan, with many customers preferring to pay in cash upon delivery.

For shipping options, you can offer Japan Post, Yamato Transport, and Sagawa Express. These are the most popular shipping companies in Japan, with a wide coverage area and reliable service. You can also offer international shipping options for customers who want to purchase products from your store from other countries.

Marketing your Shopify store in Japan

Marketing is an essential aspect of any e-commerce business, and it is no different for Shopify stores in Japan. There are several marketing strategies that you can use to promote your store and reach your target audience.

One of the most effective marketing strategies for e-commerce businesses is search engine optimization (SEO). You can optimize your Shopify store for search engines by using relevant keywords, optimizing your product descriptions and titles, and building high-quality backlinks.

Another effective marketing strategy is social media marketing. Japanese consumers are active on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and LINE. You can use these platforms to promote your products, engage with your customers, and build a strong brand image.

Legal considerations for e-commerce in Japan

When starting an e-commerce business in Japan, there are several legal considerations that you need to keep in mind. One of the most important is the Consumer Contract Act, which outlines the rules and regulations for consumer contracts in Japan. You also need to comply with the Personal Information Protection Law, which governs the collection and use of personal information in Japan.

Another important consideration is the Customs Law, which governs the import and export of goods in Japan. You need to ensure that your products comply with the relevant regulations and standards to avoid any legal issues.

Localizing your Shopify store for the Japanese market

Localizing your Shopify store for the Japanese market is essential to attract and retain customers. Localization involves adapting your store to the local culture and preferences of Japanese consumers. One of the most important aspects of localization is language. You need to ensure that your store is available in Japanese, with accurate translations of your product descriptions and titles.

You also need to consider the design and layout of your store, as well as the images and graphics used. Japanese consumers have a preference for clean and minimalist designs, with a focus on high-quality visuals. Therefore, you need to ensure that your store design is appealing and easy to navigate for Japanese customers.

Customer service and support in Japan

Customer service and support are crucial for the success of any e-commerce business. Japanese consumers expect excellent customer service and support, with a focus on fast response times and personalized service. You need to ensure that you have a dedicated customer service team that can handle customer queries and complaints promptly.

You can also offer additional services such as free returns and exchanges, which can help build customer loyalty and trust. Offering customer service and support in Japanese is also essential, as it helps to build rapport with your customers and makes them feel valued.

Scaling your Shopify store in Japan

Scaling your Shopify store in Japan involves expanding your business and increasing your market share. There are several strategies that you can use to scale your store, such as:

1. Offering new products:

You can expand your product offerings to cater to a wider audience and increase your revenue streams.

2. Partnering with influencers:

Influencer marketing is a popular strategy in Japan, with many influencers having a significant influence on consumer behavior. You can partner with influencers to promote your products and reach a wider audience.

3. Expanding your marketing channels:

You can expand your marketing channels to reach a wider audience. For example, you can use email marketing, affiliate marketing, and content marketing to promote your store.

Conclusion: The future of e-commerce in Japan

In conclusion, starting an online store in Japan can be a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to expand their business. With the right strategies and tools, you can create a successful e-commerce business in Japan. Shopify is a powerful e-commerce platform that can help you build a professional-looking store and reach your target audience. By localizing your store, offering excellent customer service, and scaling your business, you can take advantage of the growing e-commerce market in Japan and achieve success.