E-Commerce in Japan: An Island of Opportunity for Canadian Exporters

Japan is a high-tech country, and e-commerce is on the rise. The island country has the second-largest e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific and the fourth-largest market in the world. For Canadian exporters, opportunities abound.

The primary drivers behind the growth in the Japanese e-commerce market are increased Internet penetration with strong infrastructure networks and customer preferences, such as convenience and increased product diversity available online. And, of course, e-commerce has gained market share from the general shift from bricks-and-mortar stores to online marketplaces.

E-commerce retailers enjoy many benefits in Japan, including tech-savvy consumers, urban density, and a single language used by consumers. The small size of the country and its highly developed distribution networks and logistics systems make shipping and delivery convenient, which adds to the attractiveness of Japan's e-commerce market.

When operating an e-commerce business in Japan, it is important for foreign retailers to understand the market and local culture. Canadian companies looking to enter this market must consider a number of different factors, including leveraging existing platforms; payment methods and systems; the availability of logistics and shipping; language barriers; customer service and loyalty options; and advertising in a way that reaches the local audience.

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The following case studies illustrate real-life examples of firms considering entry to the Japanese market with an e-commerce platform as the major component of their strategy.

Interested in e-commerce opportunities in China? See our Succeeding in China's $9.4-trillion E-Commerce Market report, the first in this three-part series on e-commerce markets in the Asia Pacific.

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