Online marketplaces and storesThe Japanese mail-order market offers a variety of channels to distribute products throughout the country, with online sales replacing catalog orders and teleshopping as a flexible method for distance selling. But businesses are still shying away from building up their virtual brand stores, relying instead on the services of established online marketplaces. Rakuten Ichiba, Amazon Japan, and Yahoo! Shopping offer third-party sellers a platform to set up their virtual stores, with the three e-commerce websites reaching millions of shoppers in the country.
The domestic market is led by the Japanese e-commerce and FinTech company Rakuten, Inc., which has been successfully operating its business-to-many (B2M) platforms for several decades. With more than 50 million merchants selling over Rakuten Ichiba, the product range rivals Amazon Japan in variety.
Online retail trends in JapanSubsets of electronic commerce like live shopping and social commerce are emerging in the global market and diversifying B2C shopping channels. Japanese shoppers, however, prefer the convenience of marketplaces that offer free shipping options and discount campaigns, which are incentives driving online shopping. Official store pages enjoy consumers’ trust as the licensed point of sale, alleviating the fear of security risks and counterfeit products.
Furthermore, while the coronavirus pandemic gave the market a significant boost in 2020 and 2021, the lifting of restrictions drew consumers back outside and into physical stores. Platform operators are challenged to accommodate their customers’ needs while giving them a convincing reason to stay online. Innovative technologies like extended reality technology, big data software, and metaverse concepts will introduce new options to enhance the customer experience.