How to Sell Online in Japan

Technological advancements have made the world a global village, where transactions can take place from anybody, anywhere. Business in the 21st century is becoming increasingly fascinating with the continued emergence of e-commerce platforms. An e-commerce platform being, of course, a software application designed to enable business owners to manage the sales operation and payment of their business online.

Selling your product or service online in Japan can be very easy if you have the right information and strategy to enter the market. Conversely, it can be highly competitive and difficult if you fail to carry out thoroughly enough research beforehand. The e-commerce market in Japan is among the largest and most developed in the world. Roughly one tenth of global online retail transactions come from Japan. In 2015, Japanese B2C e-commerce transactions totaled over $135 billion, and continues to increase by 10% annually.

Selling online in Japan is incredibly lucrative and, for e-commerce startups, the prospects are limitless. The way people buy in Japan is different than in Western countries, with very few return rates (around 2%) for a much bigger average order amount. However, to sell online in Japan, there are four main areas that an entrepreneur must consider carefully.


The first thing to consider when selling online in Japan is the available e-commerce platforms. There are four different types available to entrepreneurs wanting to market their products.

The platforms are:

  • E-commerce Marketplace (Rakuten, Amazon Japan)
  • Apparel Specific Marketplace (ZozoTown, iQon, Origami)
  • Hosted E-commerce Service (Base, Stores)
  • Installable Solutions (EC-cube, Commerce 21, Live Commerce).

The dominant platforms are Amazon Japan, Rakuten and Yahoo! Japan Shopping (usually forgotten since it is extremely popular in Japan but not in the West). Still, the choice is not limited to those websites and entrepreneurs need to consider each platform and ascertain which one is best designed to sell their specific products.

If you are looking for a website to sell cool and innovative gadgets, Gloture is made for you. Gloture sells upgraded everyday life objects and other innovative products which people dreamed about, representing the future in a more and more connected world. Smart skipping ropes, astro-reality, revolutionary air cleaner… If you want to launch a futuristic product, our platform is made for you.

If you want to sell more classic products like clothes, cosmetics, books, food, etc., the eBay company Qoo10 is a good choice, with its 25 million registered users (2018). An alternative can be Wowma with its 24 million visits (2020), which also offers restaurants or other services.

Another important element when choosing the platform is also the website aesthetic and if it shows the product to its best light. The three apparel specific marketplaces have nice features like size charts or the possibility to show the products under different angles.



Payment method is another important area startup entrepreneurs must consider when selling online in Japan. Obviously, credit cards are the principal means of payment in most online transactions. However, you still need to consider other payment options that people can use in Japan. Fail to properly set up these methods, and you may end up having a high rate of shopping cart abandonment.

Cash on delivery is the second most used form of payment in Japan since not everyone has a credit card. Then, consider offering the bank transfer and the payment at a convenience store options, common methods on the traditional Japanese websites.

Knowing the characteristics of the target is essential to have a good sales rate. To have an idea of how Japanese shop, become one for a moment and visit some websites, it can help!


Before you consider selling anything online in Japan, you must consider the shipping and logistics options available to you. No matter the options you ultimately go with, you should consider the cost implications, delivery time, and other possible hindrances. Generally speaking, domestic delivery offers better solutions. That being said, shipping from an international location is a viable choice.

The Japanese infrastructure offers an extremely efficient delivery system since receiving an order usually takes one day only, or two if the one-day delivery is reserved to members (like with Amazon Prime). It is pretty common to see deliverymen running in the street, at least in big cities.

You can also add something original on the package, like a sentence to thank your customers, for example. You can also add a small card inside and write whatever you would like to say to your customers (in Japanese) and end with an e-mail address for inquires.




Compared to other countries, customer expectations from online sellers in Japan is exceedingly high. This is owing to the fact that Japan has arguably the best customer service system in the world. In the stores, sellers greet each customer and help them at the maximum. A study showed that 56% of customers shop somewhere else after one bad customer service experience, which is almost twice more than in other countries.

Accordingly, you will need to select an effective channel that would allow you to easily handle customer queries complaints. E-mail, as an example, is an inexpensive option that gives plenty of time to handle customer complaints as they come. Try to answer every complaint, or you could lose customers. It is not to be taken lightly since customers are used to being treated like kings in Japan.


If you can effectively tackle these four areas, selling online in Japan can be a lot of fun. In the beginning, it might be a stressful endeavor, due to all the steps and processes required of an entrepreneur. But with the right product, along with consistency and focus, you can achieve the e-commerce success in Japan you are aiming for.

When it comes to English, the Japanese people struggle! You wouldn’t believe the panic and dismay when they want to purchase a product, but give up at the sight of the English language.

Gloture is a new class of promotion agency located in the heart of Tokyo. We specialize in helping overseas startups to launch products in the Japanese market.

As the top choice in our field, we will handle each step from start to finish. 

Get in touch today and let Gloture help your brand standout with huge success in Japan!